Thursday, January 27, 2022
Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings; Google Scholar), How the Pandemic Flipped My Perspective on Flipping the Tax Law Classroom, 19 U. Pitt. Tax Rev. __ (2022):
Flipping the classroom—where the traditional in-class activities (lecture) and pre-class homework activities (problems) are reversed—is a pedagogical technique that has grown more popular in higher education over the past decade. To me, pre-class video lectures always seemed like spoon-feeding material to students, and I was reluctant to do that when teaching tax because I believe grappling with the Code and other primary sources is a critical part of learning tax. However, during the pandemic, I wanted to make my tax courses easier for students given the health, family, and financial challenges many students faced. Thus, I reluctantly created video lecturettes for my tax courses and instructed students to watch them as part of class preparation, and I planned to spend more class time discussing problems. Surprisingly, I quickly became a convert to the flipped classroom approach to teaching tax because of its numerous and unexpected benefits, and I continue to use this technique for portions of my tax classes even after returning to in-person instruction.
This essay describes how I implemented the flipped classroom approach in my corporate, partnership, and basic tax classes; discusses the many benefits I observed; and explains why my earlier objections no longer seem compelling to me. Along the way, this essay discusses strategies and tips I learned (occasionally through missteps) that might help others who are considering flipping some of their tax teaching.