Last year I started using the Flipped Classroom. I managed it for pretty much the whole year with my year 10 set 2 class studying the first year of the IGCSE course. Overall, it went well, and we covered the course significantly more quickly than other classes, and the results in the end of year exams were as expected (not significantly better than previous years, but definitely not worse). However, the real benefit has been in the attitude of the class. Over the year the majority of them had become much more independent, asking each other for help and answering each others questions. I was also able to focus more on working with the ones who were stuggling with particular topics, and felt that my time in class was much more productive.
One of the things that I realised very early on was that in order for the approach to be successful in our school, there had to be some accountability for the sudents, and I decided to use Google Forms (something I have dabbled with before) to set a couple of questions on the video which students had to answer before the lesson as well. This allowed them to check their understanding, for me to get a sense of their understanding BEFORE the class, and also a way for me to ensure they were watching the videos.
Towards the end of our school year (southern hemisphere means we finish at Christmas), I asked for feedback from the students, and overall it was very positive. They identified that they felt more independent, and that they were able to work at their own pace. There were some who had some negative comments, and these were largely about not getting a set of notes (as they hadn't realised they could take notes from the video) and that they couldn't ask questions during the video.
At the end of the year, a colleague and I who had been working together in this collaborative project (we all have to be involved in one of these over each year) were asked to present to Senior Management. We put together this powerpoint which summarises the whole process, and gives our main findings. In the preparation week before the students returned to school after the summer holidays, we were once again asked to present our project, this time to the whole teaching staff of the secondary school. There were lots of questions and interest in the method, and since then we have both had several other teachers asking us about the details.
This year we are continuing with the same collaborative project (it is a two year course after all), but expanding it. I am now using the method with three of my four classes this year (Year 10 set 1 doing IGCSE and Additional Maths over two years, Year 11 set 2 continuing the method from last year, and Year 12 IB Standard Level Maths). My colleague is trying it with her Year 10 bottom set as well, and other colleagues in the department are trialling it in limited ways with some of there classes (at all ability levels and ages).
There are several things I am going to do differently this year. Firstly, in the first lesson of the year, I explained the system very clearly, and gave them all a reminder of the expectations of this teaching methodology for them. This included a printed out reminder for them to stick in the front of their books. This details the 3 thing they must do for any set homework: watch the video (and take notes); answer the set questions; prepare a question for the next lesson.
The final point is designed to either get them to write down any questions they have during the video or to come up with their own example based on the material. At the beginning of the next lesson, they will get 5 minutes to discuss their questions with each other, and hopefully other students will be able to answer these questions.
I have also written a letter to the parents of the students in my class to explain the methodology, what is expected of their child and how they can help if they wish.
We are only a week into the year, so we shall see how it progresses this year. I have also discovered Mathster, and my school has signed up for the service, which I am using to implement the method (I will be writing a review blog post on Mathster shortly).
Overall, I am excited by this method of teaching. It is certainly a lot of work (especially as I am trying to make some of my own videos as well), but the outcomes for the students seem to be very good. They are developing skills that will be useful later in life (independence, taking good individual notes), and getting the opportunity to practice significantly more than in the tradionaly method.
Do you use the flipped classroom? Is it something you are interested in trying? Comment below.
I am a maths teacher looking to share good ideas for use in the classroom, with a particular interest in using technology as much as possible.
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