I don't think I get the flipping thing. Or maybe I get it in the sense of imagining how it would work in the sorts of science lectures I had at times as an undergrad?
Here's what I understand.
According to the flip folks, the traditional learning structure works like this:
In class: teachers introduce and lecture on content.
Out of class: students work on homework sets.
Let's imagine math: the teacher introduces and talks about some math topic, and then the students go home and work on math problems.
And according to the flip folks, a flipped classroom structure works like this:
Out of class: students listen to or watch lectures via computers.
In class: students work on homework sets with teachers there to help them.
So, I can sort of see that in a math class. But here are some questions I have:
1. Reading. In neither model is the student putting in time reading. Yet a lot of what I did as a science undergrad was read text books. And as a lit student, I spent a lot of time reading lit.
Where is the reading in the imagination of the flip folks? Is there none?
In my experience, I spent time reading at home, mostly. I'm a fairly fast reader (I was ALWAYS in trouble in grammar school for reading ahead during reading group and then not knowing where I was supposed to start when it was my turn to read aloud. Always. Misery.). But people read at different speeds for a lot of reasons. So asking students to read at home where they take whatever time they need makes sense. (And here, teachers need to assign reading with a sense of their readers, of course. Nothing new there.) If you flip the reading part so that students are reading in class, that seems unhelpful except when students need help just getting through vocabulary and such.
I find that I learn differently when I read vs when I listen, and that I'm pretty good at getting a lot out of a combination. I know I'm not everyone, but I am someone who's tried to teach myself through reading, and found that a combination is often more effective, especially for new stuff.
2. Class Size. This seems only viable for classes up to say, 30 or so. The 400 person classes I took in college (which are now MUCH bigger) couldn't work that way. Instead, they were usually structured so that there was a discussion period with a TA to ask questions, work through problems, and discuss stuff. One could, I suppose, move to a structure where everything was run in small classes, but the economics are at odds with reality at my school and at, I'm guessing, most bigger/public schools.
In high school science classes, we'd read, get lectures, and also do lab stuff. In many of my college science classes, we'd read, get lectures, have discussion and lab sections in small groups. (I did have college science classes with no labs or discussion groups, too.)
3. High School. So here's my memory of high school structure. My school started at 8am, and went (with a lunch break) until 3:30. And then I went home and was supposed to do homework, but I wasn't the best student. So here's my question: I usually had some math homework, and chem homework, and reading for English or social science, practiced my instrument (not as often or as much as I should have), and foreign language homework, but not all on a given afternoon. I imagine not counting band, most kids don't do more than an hour or so of homework a night.
Now let's imagine they have five classes: English, math, science, social science, and foreign language. And each has a half hour video. So that's two and a half hours of watching videos. That doesn't include reading, so let's switch the English from video to reading, but still figure half an hour?
Is the idea that having students do something school related for two and a half hours is better than having them do an hour? I can imagine that could work, eh? I know if I worked out for two and a half hours every day, I'd be in better shape than if I did way less. So is this a way to get students to do something for "homework" that's slightly more than minimal?
[I have the barest idea of how much time high school students spend on homework, mostly from what they tell me as college students. I'm pretty sure this isn't entirely reliable across any board at all.]
I guess from my point of view, the flip folks are over-simplifying traditional structures, or maybe the structures I experienced as a science undergrad aren't traditional? It seems like they've set up a straw man traditional system where there's a person droning on at the front of a classroom.
And yet in my many years of college, all at public schools, two big R1s, one big regional, and one small community college, I don't remember much droning. (Again, that may be me as a learner being more or less interested?)
I do lecture in lit classes, but not much, and not in really structured ways. Maybe I should think about it more?
Anyway, here's what I typically ask of students in day to day work:
Out of class: they read the text. They may also write short assignments asking them to think about a short passage or a word, or for critical stuff, finding the thesis and such.
In class: I may give a little background, but usually I start by working closely with one or several passages.
I may set up, say, three passages, all of approximately the same length, and ask students to work on one of the three in groups. Or I may have someone read a passage aloud, and then ask students to work on it in the whole class.
When I say "work" on it, I may ask them to stop and draw the imagery, or I may ask them to write about an image, or to discuss something in the passage. I may ask leading questions. (In an ideal world, students ask good questions which lead us where I want to go or, occasionally, somewhere even better.)
I try to use a set of passages to draw out the issues in the text I think are important, which I'll then try to help the students move from "here's this cool issue we talked about in our group about this passage" to "here are some things we're seeing in different passages" to "this cool stuff we're seeing makes a theme or important issue overall in the text or culture."
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I have a pretty good idea where I want to get during a class (and there may be three concepts I want to get to), and I choose passages that have some connection to one or another of the concepts, and order them so that they go together in the student experience (even if they aren't closely connected in the chronology of the play). And most important, I try to teach students the skills to get from what they see in the passages to some interesting concept.
And that's where I lecture, usually a very short bit with some key words on the board naming concepts, bringing in theory or cultural history. If I'm lucky, the lecture comes "naturally" as an answer to a good student question. If I'm really lucky, the class feels like the students are moving it forward from the passages I've chosen and the reading they've done outside of class, and they put things together and have some wonderful moments of realizing the connections themselves.
So I don't know how I'd flip it. But I don't think I'm an unusual lit teacher given the material structures of my classes (size and student preparation, especially).