The Flipped Classroom: A Genre of Teaching

@MrBrettClark 4 Comments

I am always surprised by the variety of reactions I hear when I tell people I'm a believe in the flipped classroom.

"I want to try that with my students."

"I've been doing something similar for years."

"I'm not a fan."

"I don't like lectures and homework. Isn't that what flipped classrooms are all about?"

It's this last one that tends to stick with me the most.  I'm ok with you not being a fan.  The flipped classroom isn't for everyone and everybody knows there are no silver bullets in education.  What bothers me is when people make assumptions about what the flipped classroom is and what it's not.  It also bothers me when people lump all flipped classrooms together.

I have been wondering lately if the way mainstream media has portrayed the flipped classroom incorrectly and the negative connotation that some associate with the flipped classroom should cause us to move away from the term all together.

However, let me explain why I don't think that is necessary.  The flipped classroom is simply a genre of teaching.  Think of your favorite genre of movies.  You can certainly think of good and bad movies that you've seen but that doesn't stop you from watching that genre of movies.  From a personal example, I love comic book movies.  Batman & Robin was terrible, but it's not going to stop me from watching The Dark Knight Rises or discredit comic book movies all together.

The same should be said for the flipped classroom, or any teaching style for that matter.  The flipped classroom is a genre of teaching, and just because there are bad examples out there, doesn't mean you should throw out the genre all together.

For every Brett Ratner (bad) there are J.J. Abrams, Zach Snyder, and Peter Jackson (great).  The thing is, if you look around the internet and follow #flipclass on twitter, you are going to find there are some amazing teachers doing amazing things with the flipped classroom.  Check out the flipped classroom section of this website for more and I certainly haven't captured them all.

This genre is constantly evolving.  Check out Brian Bennett's post about "Redesigning Learning in the Flipped Classroom" for more information about the evolution of the flipped classroom.  All I'm asking is please don't instantly discredit what we are doing simply based on perception.


  1. I totally agree that flipping your class is just a "genre", but what an incredible genre it is! I flipped my 6th grade math class this year and love it! This option which leverages technology and capitalizes on the research surrounding productive group work and math talk, has transformed my teaching and given me the time to allow my students to immerse themselves in the learning while being scaffolded by me during class time. But then I am speaking to choir. By the way, check out a post I wrote a few weeks ago concerning the Gradual Release of Responsiblity model and how this genre really speaks to the GRR structure.

    1. Steve,

      Thanks for your comment and the post you shared! I enjoyed it!

  2. This was a very informative post. I wrote a post myself today about the flipped classroom and ran across the link to yours via Twitter.

    You made an excellent point: This genre is constantly evolving. All I'm asking is please don't instantly discredit what we are doing simply based on perception.

    I couldn’t agree more. As I wrote today: Videos are not used as a replacement for instruction, they are meant to be part of an interactive instructional strategy. The purpose of flipping or changing the classroom structure is to focus on improving the students’ learning experience and increasing their level of engagement in the learning process.

    Dr. J

  3. Brett, we are lucky to have educators like you to formalize thoughts and reflect on our #flipclass journey. This is a tough topic! So many critics will speak negatively about the #flipclass ideology because they don't even thing we should be "going to the movies". They are right in SO many ways. I just hope that people understand that the #flipclass hype is a chance to SHIFT our ideas about teaching and learning. YES #flipclass may be a transitional pedagogy but THANK GOODNESS we are moving towards something different. The most important thing is that we continue to reflect on our teaching and take advantages of the opportunities that we have with digital content. Conversation is good. Disruptive change is better!