The flipped classroom

Our entire educational system is in need of a paradigm shift. I happen to prefer the "Flipped Classroom" approach. I believe knowledge is abundant and students should be gleaning it from sources other than the classroom, and that the role of school is twofold:

  • teach students how to learn
  • teach students how to search

If a student can find answers to their questions and adaptively grow as new information, approaches, systems, and data becomes available, they can accomplish just about anything they want. If they can't, they can't.

The flipped classroom embraces this by making the teacher a mentor and coach rather than a source of knowledge. Teachers help you build your skill set to do homework or complete projects.

The knowledge comes from online sources, which is better for a variety of reasons. Most simply, the best teacher for any particular topic is rarely the person in front of you. Imagine learning each lesson from someone who is an expert in that field and also a skilled presenter! MIT could put out a series on programming (oh, wait, they already have!), another university could put out a series on psychology, another on philosophy, another on biology, another on mathematics...

Many schools have already started doing this, so teachers have a plethora of resources to teach the knowledge. Now the teacher can focus on the individual students as he or she notices that they are getting stuck on a particular facet of the lecture or one kind of problem.

I sincerely hope that we start seeing this kind of change soon.

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