Live from the Math Department! : Flipped Learning at Saints

A virtual calculator tool Mr. Klassen uses to enhance his videos

Over the past school year, a new trend has been sweeping the Mathematics Department at St. George’s School. No, this trend is not a fancy new Texas Instruments calculator, nor is it a newfound formula; this trend is Flipped Learning, also known as Flipped Classroom.

In a Flipped Classroom, as described by early-adopter Mr. Klassen, “[We] take the traditional model of lecturing and notes in class time, and problems and questions after school as homework, and it flips that model around. What I do is I take my lecture and my examples, and I make a short video out of that. It’s usually a 10 to 15 minute video, and it becomes the homework portion. The students watch that video and take notes, and then come to class and do what would traditionally be the homework.”

Since September, four math teachers at Saints have taken on the Flipped approach in some shape or form: Mr. Jones, Mr. Forsyth, Ms. Chen, and Mr. Klassen. However, it was Mr. Klassen who first brought the idea of flipped learning to the school. “About 2 or 3 years ago, I was at a point at the end of the year where I was frustrated with trying to find time to make tutorials for students who had missed class because they were away with athletics, or MUN, or all the things that guys are absent for. I was trying to fit my schedule with their schedule, and I just thought, “I wish I could’ve made a video of my lesson””. Fortunately for Mr. Klassen, he found that some other teachers were already multiple years ahead of him on this concept. After attending a Flipped Conference, and learning more about the philosophy of this teaching approach, Mr. Klassen obtained materials for producing his “flip”, and was ready to dive into a whole new way of teaching.

After this first year, all parties involved have had time to reflect on the experience, and for most, it has all been incredibly positive and beneficial. For Mr. Klassen, the biggest benefit from Flipped Learning can be seen at home. “I find that students who are trying to do homework questions at home often get stuck, and the only people they have to ask for help are their parents. Especially at the Senior Math level, unless their parents are Engineers or Math Instructors or something at a Post Secondary level, most parents [say] “Oh my god, I don’t know how to do this, I hated this in High School”, and they don’t have an answer for their son.” However, with the Flipped approach to learning “It turns it all around”, as Mr. Klassen states. “Now [in the Flipped Classroom], you’re doing work at school, so when you get stuck on a question, your automatic instinct is to turn around to the kid sitting next to you, or the guy near you, who you think is a really good student. Or, even better, you call you teacher over, and get him or her to help you.”

Check out one of Mr. Klassen’s videos here!

Recently, Mr. Klassen conducted a survey of his Flipped Classroom students, and found statistical evidence that students are truly benefiting from this new teaching method. From a survey group of 75 students, the survey found students strongly agreed that the Flipped Class model was both useful and enjoyable. Students also stated that they found the Flipped method to be better than a traditional method of teaching, with only 20/74 students disagreeing with this statement. Every single student surveyed also claimed that Mr. Klassen’s videos were clearer, more relevant, and better presented than other mathematics support videos online, such as Khan Academy. Kaiz Bhatia, a member of Mr. Klassen’s 11P* class, stated “In the fast paced learning that you get in a classroom, it’s definitely easy to miss a few pointers. I find [Mr. Klassen’s] videos very helpful and informative. He’ll take you through a question step by step, show you how to use the formula to solve the equation”. Alongside Kaiz, fellow classmate Cole Attisha said, “It’s a lot different than actually having the lesson in class because everyone’s paying attention at the same time, and if you have something you need that is specific to you, you don’t want to disrupt the whole class. But if the lesson is in a video, you can always pause it, rewind it, and go over it whenever you want. And if you do have any questions about it, you can just go ask whomever your teacher is”.

In the future, Mr. Klassen plans to take the Flipped model to his AB Calculus class, and says he will most definitely continue producing videos for his students.

Check out Mr. Klassen’s Youtube Channel here!