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Why Teachers Matter More in a Flipped Classroom

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Teaching is fundamentally about human interactions, and technology can’t replace that.

I was once asked by a group of education policy makers if the flipped classroom would allow them to hire fewer teachers. They surmised that if teachers leveraged video in their classes, they could handle more students. When I heard this question, I came unglued. They had missed the point of the flipped classroom. They had the misguided notion that teaching is the pouring out of information from one person (the teacher) into another (the student). Knowledge transfer is not the primary point of education. paramount.

Fortunately, I was able to explain how teachers are in fact more valuable when they teach using a flipped approach. I believe students need more opportunities to interact with their teachers, and larger classes are not the answer. We, humans, are hardwired for connections. We are relational beings. Teaching is a social interaction between teacher and students and students and students. Our students need us more than they need a video made by someone they don’t know teaching them something they may or may not want to learn. Teaching is fundamentally about human interactions and that can’t be replaced by technology.

The reason Flipped Learning makes teachers more valuable is that it changes the dynamic of the classroom. No longer is content delivery the focus of the class, nor is the teacher’s main responsibility the dissemination of knowledge. Instead, teachers take on the role of a facilitator of learning. They can work with students in small groups and have more one-on-one interactions. The simple act of removing the direct instruction (lecture) from the whole group changes the dynamic of the room and allows the teacher more time to personalize and individualize the learning for each student. Each student gets his/her own education tailored to their individual needs. Instead of a one size fits all education, each student gets just what they need when they need it.

So if you are flipping your class, know that your role is more valuable than just a stream of knowledge.

You…Connect, Listen, Push, Go Deeper, Laugh, Interact, Inspire, Play, Provoke, Encourage, and Motivate. You are a teacher!