By Lynn Zimmerman
Editor, Teacher Education
Clintondale High School near Detroit, Michigan, has instituted a different model for teaching in an effort to improve grades, increase learning, and better support students. They are using what principal Greg Green calls flipped schooling (aired on Dick Gordon’s The Story, April 16, 2012).
Students at Clintondale were struggling, not passing classes and not performing well on standardized tests. Green asked students what they thought was going on, and their reply was that they had trouble doing school work at home. They could not concentrate, or they had no one to help them if they did not understand the assignment or the concepts. In turn they were getting further and further behind.
Based on this information, Green decided that instruction was not aligned with how students learn. Change was needed. He and his staff re-imagined schooling so that, rather than sitting in class, listening to a lecture, and doing homework at home, students study background information on the topic at home then work on practical problems as well as ask and answer questions about the material in class. He said they use screen captures, videos, and other technology for at-home lectures. Students can look over the materials at their own pace, as often as they need to, in order to understand the concepts or to pinpoint problem areas. The next day students come to school to ask and answer questions about the materials and to solve problems in class.
Green reported that their experiment is meeting with some success. Failure rates in the courses that are using this flipped model have been cut in half. They also found that students who were in flipped math classes had a 10% gain on state standardized math tests.
The flipped school model is a good example of how technology can be used to enhance learning. Technology in this case can
- optimize learning time
- align with students’ learning styles and needs
- provide opportunities for repetition as needed
When students are in class, they and their teachers can interact in the face-to-face context in meaningful and productive ways. This type of constructivist learning is effective as the student builds his/her own knowledge. They learn the content as they develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
In articles on the CNN Blog, Green elaborates on the benefits of flipped schooling and addresses the concerns that readers have about this model:
- My View: Flipped Classrooms Give Every Student a Chance to Succeed
- Answers to Your “Flipped School” Questions
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