Hopefully I am wrong - but I don't think I am.
|Image courtesy of images.google.com 'flipped classroom'|
Which leads me to why I am even speaking up right now.
I read this article today, Demystifying Math Could Ease Anxiety regarding a recent Stanford study on math anxiety. I will let you read the article, but basically the gist of it is that if we could teach math in such a way where it wasn't a mystery, but something real and reasonable, then we would eliminate much of the anxiety. Some key lines from the article resonated with me:
"...the way math has been taught for years probably doesn't help, say scientists and teachers alike. Children are often instructed to remember processes and equations without a firm understanding of why those equations work"
Image courtesy of images.google.com
"Sometimes when we over-standardize how to do math and take the reasoning out of it, it becomes confusing."
"You're forced to do something over and over again and you know nothing about it - wouldn't you be anxious too?"
Hopefully now you can see why I felt the urge to speak up about the flipped classroom. In my opinion, it is simply going to increase math anxiety. Watching lectures of how to do math is simply perpetuating the idea that math is a bunch of rules and steps needed to get to an answer. And whether you watch those lectures at home on a computer or listen to a teacher lecture in a classroom, it's still a lecture - a how-to, a standardization of something they probably won't understand because there is no context attached. No - I am a believer in real-world math (see my post at http://blog.keypress.com called What do you wonder? Real-world math problems are everywhere) and the use of technology that is dynamic and exploratory (i.e. Sketchpad, TinkerPlots, Fathom) versus rote and confining.
I hope I am wrong about the flipped classroom, since it seems it has become the golden child of education these days. I will admit, I have read some articles and blogs that describe flipped classrooms that seem to have potential. For now though, I will keep promoting what I think is good math instruction - a teacher and students using dynamic technology, engaging, collaborative inquiry learning that is hands-on, real-world and connected rather than a bunch of mystery numbers and formulaic steps to memorize.
For another commentary related to math anxiety, read Ian Rosenfield's blog post The Big Bad Math