Traditional teaching methods get a modern flip at some Ontario schools

WATCH ABOVE: The start of a new school year is a just a week away, and while it can be exciting at first, classes can start to get boring with the same old teaching methods. Ashley Carter explores one new way teachers are flipping their classrooms and tells us why many students prefer the new approach.

TORONTO – The start of a new school year is just a week away, and while it can be exciting at first, classes can start to get boring with the same old teaching methods.

“You get sick of looking sometimes at the dazed looks of the students and you’re wondering, ‘Are they paying attention, are they interested?’ So we were really looking for something that would revitalize not only them, but us as well,” said Donna Green, flipped classroom math teacher.

“We decided we wanted to try it to do something to stimulate math.”

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After teaching math traditionally for 18 years, Green and her colleague, Amanda Belanger decided to flip their grade 10 math classes last year at Sir William Mulock Secondary School in Newmarket, Ont.

“What happens is students watch the lesson at home on a video, it’s about a 10 or 15 minute video, and they get a few practice questions,” said Green.

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Students then come to class the next day and use what they learned in Green’s video lesson to do their homework during class time.

“It’s a lot easier because you have more access to help in the classroom, and especially also at home it’s not as difficult because you go through the lesson on your own at your own pace,” said flipped classroom student Kaylee Goldman.

Green says this innovative teaching method helps to cut down classroom distractions, allows teachers to help stumped students with their homework, and students are also seeing a change in their grades.

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“At first I was like, ‘I don’t know about this, this is really different,’ but after a week or so I really like it and I think it did improve my marks,” said Lauren Kensit, another flipped classroom student.

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“It allows you to pause the video, [because] during the lesson you can’t tell your teacher to stop talking, and you can go at your own pace and there’s no distractions.”

Parents are also welcoming the flipped classroom teaching method because now the teachers are available to answer any complicated homework questions, instead of the parents.

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“A ton of parents struggle nowadays and sometimes when you try to explain to your own child you can have meltdowns or get frustrated or impatient, so this is a godsend for parents to have this,” said Bonnie Kirsh, a flipped classroom parent.

Besides math, other subjects that have been taught in a flipped classroom include science and English.

School boards across Ontario, including Peel and York, have been experimenting with this teaching method, but it is ultimately up to the individual teacher to flip their classroom.