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Flipping the classroom

February 13, 2016 5 comments

So flipped classes are something I’ve read a lot about over the last few years, I’ve seen many people who do it claim fantastic results but I’ve always been a tad sceptical about the process. The reasons for this scepticism have been that often in advanced mathematics the topics are really hard, and that I work in a school where I often have to chase homework which could potentially derail the whole flipped class process.

During the half term just gone a colleague and I were discussing the merits and worries of flipped classes and decided to try it on the small KS5 classes we share. We provided them material to prepare for lessons. For Y13 the topic was Integration and for the Further maths class the topics covered were Traveling Salesman, Transportation problems and the hungarian algorithm.

The set up of the lesson was such, the class would arrive and complete a check in question based in the previous lesson, then we would discuss the preparatory material to draw out the understanding the class had manged to gain from it,  answer as a group any questions that any had drawn put of it (with me or my colleague only inputting if no one could help) and then looking to apply these skills in an exam context.

My fears about the classes not doing the work have been unfounded, they all completed each bot of prep. Although these groups are small and all are very committed to doing well in maths, so I still have these concerns regarding this.

My fears about the difficulty were also unfounded. It’s true that, for the most part, the students would not have been able to go straight into answering questions on the skills the preparatory material covered, but they had gained enough of an understanding to discuss the topic and they had identified the areas they didn’t understand, allowing the lesson to focus on this, rather than cover everything. The only lesson that was met with entirely blank faces was the lesson on volumes of revolution,  but through their misinterpreted ideas of it I was able to focus in on misconceptions that had arisen from prior knowledge and correct that as well as teaching them about solids of revolution.

At the end of the half term we checked the student voice and they were all positive about the process and wanted to continue in this manner for the rest of the year, we will be looking again at student voice at the end of the year and the results to determine whether we want to roll this out across the key stage, but so far the results look extremely positive.

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