If you have read the most recent thoughts and opinions about the flipped classroom you might think that this is the best thing since sliced bread. I would argue, however, that teachers need to be careful in how they apply this method of teaching; it would also behoove school principals and grade level team leaders to closely monitor the use of this instructional technique.
Without doubt flipped classrooms have merit and they certainly have a place in some classrooms. For instance, they can make teaching more efficient, thereby allowing teachers to cover more information; they can also help prevent boredom on the part of students who understand the material but need to wait on those who do not; and last, they allow teachers to incorporate new and unique methods of differentiating their instruction . On the other hand, they can also be inappropriately used by teachers who want to reduce their workload. For instance, flipped classrooms may not require detailed, step-by-step syllabi.
Teachers who are considering using this mode of instruction must first know their students. Are they intrinsically motivated to learn? Can they be trusted to view the videos and come to class prepared? Will they make an effort to fully understand the information so that classroom time can be effectively used for group projects, enhanced learning opportunities, and remediation? In essence, if students do not cooperate the teacher will either be working twice as hard as she or he needs to, or the student will simply not master the learning objectives.
It also needs to be pointed out that in classes where a large number of students are one or more grade level behind, the flipped classroom will only succeed if the teacher has the buy-in of everyone in the class. In theory this is the perfect situation in which to use this form of instruction; in practice, however, the students may not have the required maturity or motivation level to make it work. Again, every classroom will be different and it is not enough to have a few students who will benefit from this kind of instruction. Again, flipped classrooms will only work if a large majority of the class supports the effort. It is up to the individual teacher to determine if the class is ready or not.