Don’t flip out!

Well, not yet at least. Everyone’s flipping the classroom, but is it really worth it? Yes and no, as NCTM president Linda Gojak explains in her column this week. I don’t always highlight her column, but I especially appreciated the nuanced way in which she approached this trendy subject. There’s something more fundamental that we need to aim for: engaging our students in mathematics and problem solving. Whether we flip or not may be immaterial, as Linda points out.

Here are a few excerpts from her article, which you should check out in full here.

To Flip or Not to Flip: That Is NOT the Question!

By NCTM President Linda M. Gojak NCTM Summing Up, October 3, 2012

A recent strategy receiving much attention is the “flipped classroom.” Innovative use of technology to enhance student learning makes flipping possible and motivating for students and teachers.

I believe that we need to go further. As we consider effective instruction that leads to student learning, we must remind ourselves of the characteristics of mathematically proficient students.

Rich mathematical tasks provide students with opportunities to engage deeply in mathematics as opposed to a lesson in which the teacher demonstrates and explains a procedure and the student attempts make sense of the teacher’s thinking. Communication includes good questions from both teacher and students and discussions that develop in students a deep understanding by wrestling with the mathematical ideas.

Although the flipped classroom may be promising, the question is not whether to flip, but rather how to apply the elements of effective instruction to teach students both deep conceptual understanding and procedural fluency.


All that being said, I still DO want to try flipping my classroom on a small scale, one-lesson at a time basis. I promise I’ll try it someday.

2 thoughts on “Don’t flip out!

  1. Pingback: Ten Questions about Flipping a Mathematics Classroom | Random Walks

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