Clintondale High School and the “Flipped” Classroom Approach

Clintondale High School’s principal Greg Green has been trying some new things in his school’s classrooms (Click HERE to access the article). The former coach has been using at-home video lessons to help improve his student’s learning, performance, graduation rate, and college enrollment rate. These videos, which Green adapted from a technique he used when he was a coach to help his athletes observe and fix specific areas of their performance, have purportedly helped students to identify and solve problems they having been facing with specific subjects/assignments, as well as learn new concepts that will be covered in upcoming class period(s). This has allowed students to do their work while in the classroom, thereby allowing them more access to peers, teachers, and other classroom/school resources as they do it.

Understandably, a method like this would be more conducive to certain subjects/environments than others – For example, music would likely be an easy transition, due to the kinesthetic and audio nature of much of the subject matter. What other sorts of settings would this method be particularly conducive to? And, are there perhaps also some settings in which the applicability of such a technique is actually more limited than more commonly used methods?

Secondly, which students would benefit from this the most? In the link provided, the article mentions that Mr. Green conducted an “experiment” to determine if this method could improve his students’ performance. However, given the amount of errors involved (even just those which are immediately apparent) in both the experimental design and implementation, as well as how the findings are presented, it is obvious that it lacks scientific validity. This is unfortunate, given that the findings demonstrate vast improvement in the performance and attitudes of at-risk students. However, validity aside, could this approach provide unique opportunities for those students which have otherwise been left behind in schools? Or is its usefulness more universal among a diverse student body? Also, how does affluence or home environment play into this?

Finally, one last thing to consider ought to be the demands that this method would place on teachers. How easily can current teachers employ or transition to this method? What will be the learning curve for those teachers who are less technologically literate or adept? And, how much (and for how long) would this increase a teacher’s workload? Certainly, being able to make full use of this sort of method would require that teachers have access to, and perhaps even some experience with, certain technologies (e.g. video making/editing software). For those that don’t, however, what specific technological problems or challenges will this method present?


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