Switching around the way lectures are taught gives students the opportunity to ask questions about homework, rather than the lesson
By Truman Stovall
Mr. Dewey Scott, a math teacher at DHS, teaches a little differently than most. Four years ago, he decided to try out a “flipped classroom” in his AP Calculus class. This teaching style has been made possible by the expanded access to the internet outside of school for students in recent years.
In a flipped classroom, a lesson is prerecorded and posted on the teacher’s website so that it can be viewed at home by students. They take notes on the video just like they would in class. During school, they can ask any questions they had while taking notes and are then assigned homework problems due the next day.
Giving students as much time as possible to ask questions about the homework was one of the biggest reasons Scott was incentivized to start using a flipped classroom, “Before, we would get through a lesson and have maybe five minutes in class to start working on the homework. Then they would be on their own.”
In my experience in Scott’s class, I had many more questions about the homework than the lesson itself. A lot of it had to do with being able to pause and rewind the video of the lesson to see if I missed a step or what he did exactly. That wouldn’t be possible without interrupting the whole class during a traditional lecture. Neither would being able to watch the video at 2x speed in the library right before class after a long night of homework.
It also helps kids who miss class a lot, “Kids in AP Calc usually have band or NHS recycling. It helps them stay on top of things when they miss a day. They can also watch a video again before a test to review concepts.”
A current student in AP Calculus, Ryan Flattery, said that he likes the flipped classroom “because it seems like you get less homework.”
There is no better feeling than leaving class knowing that you don’t have any homework that night, and watching the lesson for the next day of Calc seems more like a relaxing break from homework than an actual assignment when you also have to write an essay for English and do 25 textbook questions for Biology.
While the flipped classroom improves upon some aspects of the course, it also restricts how much time a teacher can personally be involved with the students. While admitting it is easier to have each lesson prerecorded, Mr. Scott said that he “[misses] the teaching part a little bit. I miss the group dynamic. I get a little bit of that when I go over problems and when I go
back and forth between table groups when they’re doing the homework, but it’s not the same as going through each section in person.”
At the end of the day, it’s the teacher’s decision to make the transition to a flipped classroom. They have to decide if that type of style is right for them and for the curriculum. For what it’s worth, Mr. Scott has been doing so for four years, in only one of his classes, and hasn’t looked back yet.
It gives students more flexibility and more opportunities to understand the concepts they need to know to be successful. For teachers who haven’t yet, it might be time to start experimenting with the flipped classroom. They might end up creating a more enjoyable class for themselves and their students.