How the Pandemic Flipped My Perspective on Flipping the Tax Law Classroom

20 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2022 Last revised: 2 Sep 2022

Date Written: January 25, 2022

Abstract

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.

Keywords: tax, pedagogy, flipped classroom, teaching, flipping the classroom

JEL Classification: K34

Suggested Citation

Field, Heather M., How the Pandemic Flipped My Perspective on Flipping the Tax Law Classroom (January 25, 2022). Pittsburgh Tax Review, 2022 Forthcoming, UC Hastings Research Paper No. 412, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4017722 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4017722

Heather M. Field (Contact Author)

UC Hastings Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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