I was once asked by a group of educational state representatives if the flipped classroom would allow them to hire less teachers. They surmised that in this day and age where you can find virtually anything on the Internet, and any subject taught on YouTube, what is the value of the classroom teacher? 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).
Fortunately, I was able to explain how teachers are in fact more valuable when they teach using a flipped approach. If all teachers did was deliver content, then maybe the legislators were right. But I believe students need teachers physically there. This is because we humans are, as a whole, relational beings. And 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 about. 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 are able to 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 to personalize and individualize the learning for each student. Each student gets his/her own education which is tailored to his/her needs. Instead of a one size fits all education-each student gets just what they need when they need it.