A Flipped Classroom Provides Challenges and Extra Support

The Meadows School campus with green trees and paved sidewalks in Las Vegas, Nevada
A Flipped Classroom Provides Challenges and Extra Support

It is my privilege to discuss instruction and content delivery in the area of mathematics. The core strategy of instruction involves lectures, demonstrations, and guided practice. Course-to-course and instructor-to-instructor, the platforms utilized for delivering this content will vary. In Middle School, some of the platforms used are scripted notes, guided notes, Desmos, Khan Academy, and Shmoop. Particular attention is placed on providing evidence to support your answer along with utilizing proper math notation when providing the aforementioned evidence. In Upper School, the block schedule allows instructors to provide more class time for independent practice. In addition, various platforms utilized in the Upper School include Pear Deck, Go Formative, real-world exercises used for word problems, modified Harkness Method, and a flipped classroom. This week, we asked Mrs. Paine to educate our community on the pedagogical strategy of a flipped classroom.

A Flipped Classroom:

In a traditional math classroom, students typically sit at desks while the teacher stands at the front of the room and lectures on math concepts, demonstrating how to solve problems and answering questions from students. Although there is nothing wrong with this model, education can better adapt to the needs of our students and of the 21st-century learner. Students miss class for a number of reasons each semester, whether it be for a doctor’s appointment, sporting event, debate tournament, needing to use the restroom, getting called to the office, or just not feeling well. Nowadays it is rare for students to be in the classroom, fully engaged every class period.

Mrs. Paine, a Meadows Upper School math teacher, has decided to take an alternative approach to the traditional classroom by implementing a flipped classroom technique. A flipped classroom, when done correctly, has the ability to take a more personalized approach to education by introducing an interactive learning experience for students. In a traditional classroom, a large amount of class time is spent lecturing and completing other passive learning activities. With a flipped model, these activities are completed at home allowing for more efficient use of class time for students to actively engage in the material through one-on-one instruction, activities, discussions, group work, and projects.

Mrs. Paine’s approach to this model also promotes student responsibility by helping students develop self-direction and time management skills. Students watch videos, made by Mrs. Paine, at their own pace and review them as needed, when needed. Using these teacher-made videos benefits students who may struggle to keep up with the pace of a traditional classroom, or miss class, by allowing them to pause and rewatch as needed. This technique affords students to dive deeper into the concepts and ensure they did not miss any important content, which can help them understand difficult concepts more fully. Because students are responsible for completing work and activities prior to class, class time is then spent actively engaging with the material.

A flipped classroom gives Mrs. Paine the opportunity to assess student understanding in real-time and adjust instruction accordingly in order to meet the needs of individual students. By eliminating the in-class lecture, Mrs. Paine is able to use class time to provide extra support to students who need it, but also challenge those students who are ready.

Rod Vollan
Mathematics Department Chair