It was an odd juxtaposition. There on my twitter feed, side by side, a link to an article arguing against homework, and a link to an argument favoring the flipped classroom.
The arguments against homework are many-- as many as there are different types of homework. Students don't really benefit from it. Students don't really do it. And those are just educator arguments-- my students will also argue that after they leave the school building, that time is their time, for work, for family, for whatever pursuits they choose to pursue. That's the point of view that leads commenters to say that homework is bad for the whole child.
And yet what is a flipped classroom except a classroom that runs on huge amounts of homework.
I have no strong feelings about the flipped classroom-- I've been doing it my whole career, only instead of saying "Go home and watch this video," I've been saying "Go home and read this book." I don't do a lot of traditional homework beyond some occasionally "Go forth and practice this skill on your own." But my honors students in particular are expected to do the readings and write the papers primarily on their own time.
I read teachers who have success flipping, and I have encountered the following conversation among students many times as well:
Chris: Did you watch that video last night?
Pat: Nah. He's just going to have to explain it all in class anyway.
I have found technology useful for extending the classroom. Back when my school district still used Moodle, I could run entire units as on-line segments, which made a nice way to compensate for the class time that I was losing. This year I have a class of students who are required to blog, sometimes on prompts related to classwork, sometimes to other prompts, and always on other topics of their own choosing. And I've found on-line elements can be a good way to do units that involve "Go figure out what this is and then explain it to me in your own words with either created or found examples" (e.g. logical fallacies). Those then become part of the tool box that I expect them to be able to use in class work.
So am I good teacher because I'm using technology to extend the learning experience beyond the temporal and physical boundaries of my classroom, or am I terrible teacher because I still give homework?
Fortunately for my professional peace of mind, I follow this rule: I neither accept or reject tools and techniques as a matter of policy, but use my best professional judgment to use activities and techniques that advance student learning and growth, and to avoid activities and techniques that do not. This, it should be noted, has to be decided on a case by case, class by class basis.
It's a perfect example of exactly why the solution to educational issues is not for the state or federal government decide for me how I should do my job and then mandate either the use or avoidance of particular pedagogy. I do not need a government regulation telling me I must always or never assign homework. At most, I may be well-served by a knowledgeable administrator who sits me down to say, "Here's where it looks like you're not hitting the mark right now."
But in the meantime, while I will continue to keep myself informed about the issues and viewpoints involved, I have no interest in the Great Homework Debate or the Great Flipping Push, and even less interest in having policymakers decide either discussion. I'd like to just do my job, thanks, and that includes using my informed professional judgment to make the best instructional decisions for my students. Just let me teach.