This post is a continuation on my series of the Four Biggest Hurdles to Flipping Your Class. I began the series with a discussion about the biggest hurdle: Flipping the thinking of the educator. Before a teacher flips, they must be convinced that there must be a better way than the didactic method of lecture, notes, test. You can read more about this hurdle here. The second hurdle is the technology hurdle. Teachers must have the knowledge, training, and expertise to navigate the technology hurdle. You can read about that here.
The third hurdle to flipping your class is TIME.
I get it, teachers are overworked and do not have enough time to do the things assigned to them now. When they first encounter the flipped classroom model, many feel that it will require too much. It seems like one more thing to do. They have to not only grade papers, create engaging lessons, call parents, meet with students, and attend meetings, but now they're supposed to create and/or curate all of these flipped learning objects (usually videos) too. Argh!
To this, all I can say is yes, it does take extra time. I realize that I am encouraging teachers to work harder and longer. But the rewards will be great. Students' learning will increase and they will become more engaged. You will get to know your students better both cognitively and affectively.
That said, and this is where I see administrators can jump in help. There are ways for a school to give teachers time. I have seen too many schools with too many initiatives. Some call it Initiative Fatigue. If a school were to really embrace flipped learning, the built in staff PD time could be focused on implementing flipped learning. If a school has Professional Learning Teams, this would be a great use of that time. See my post about Flipping the PLT time. Another way administrators can give back time to those teachers who want to flip is to hire substitute teachers for a day. What if your principal hired two substitute teachers and you and a colleague spent the day creating flipped video content? There are also other ways to “give” teachers time. Do you need two teachers in every room when you are doing state testing? Could teachers be released to work on flipped learning projects? If there are two teachers who are implementing flipped learning, could they be given common planning time to work and prepare the content?
Aaron Sams and I once worked with a district which won a grant whereby teachers were paid extra money if they worked for the grant. The grant was to implement mastery learning (especially the flipped-mastery model). They realized that time was the critical variable. So each teacher who was in the program clocked their hours making flipped content and they were paid some extra money for their work.
Ultimately, the issue of time comes down to priorities. What a school emphasizes is what gets done. So, for those administrators reading this, I encourage you to make flipped learning a priority and then you will find ways to give teachers the time necessary to implement this with excellence. And for those teachers who don’t have that luxury, all I can say is that if you invest the time, you will reap great benefits.
For those of you who have flipped your class, how have you overcome the time hurdle? Answer in the comment section below.