When middle school math teacher Jackie Yeaney turned her class into a flipped classroom, she started noticing an improvement in academic scores of students from the first year of the program to the next. She also noticed more student engagement.
The new teaching method, she said, is a mutually beneficial way to help better educate her students by providing them with time to focus on math curriculum, while also giving her time to work more interactively with students.
A flipped classroom is instruction that reverses the traditional classroom setting of a teacher lecturing to students. Instead, it allows students to learn from outside work that is then brought into a class where students can work with each other on critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, while the teacher facilitates the lesson.
For Yeaney, that means assigning her students to watch a five to 10-minute video lesson at home. She then starts the next day’s class with group discussion and team huddles about the video and then allows students to work in groups on math problems.
“The whole point of the flipped classroom is to take away from teacher time of me talking in front of the class for 42 minutes and lecturing, to a more engaged way for them to work in teams to figure out and discuss a problem,” she said.
They can then go through the problem together to make any corrections that may be needed and make sure the students understand the concept. The lessons usually start off easy and increases in difficulty.
“I’m constantly monitoring their work and making sure they understand the task,” she added.
Yeaney started this three years ago with her honors Algebra 1 class. This is the first school year she also started the program in her other seventh-grade math classes.
While documenting student scores from PSSA and Keystone exams, class tests, homework and more, Yeaney said she noticed scores have increased – namely because she thinks students have more time to focus on content, which enhances skill and understanding of the subject.
As a teacher, Yeaney says the teaching style helps her identify students who may be struggling with daily curriculum. Instead of waiting to see the skill level of the student based on homework assignments, she is instead able to monitor kids in class participating in problem solving, and identify who may or may not be struggling and can work with them individually.
“I love teaching, and as much as I like standing up in front of the room, I love being able to be more hands-on and making sure they really understand it,” she said.