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Award-winning maths teacher embraces flipped learning

Faculty Coordinator Mathematics Krista Rabulall has embraced an innovative learning model to ensure students get the most out of their time in the classroom.

‘Flipped learning’ reverses traditional classroom teaching by delivering core content at home through a pre-prepared video or a presentation. Problem-solving activities that would once have been given as homework move into the classroom to be worked on collaboratively with the teacher.

Earlier this year, Mrs Rabulall received the $10,000 Margaret and John Kalman Charitable Trust Mathematics Teaching Prize, awarded through the University of Auckland.

When did you move to Flipped Learning and why?

We were looking for ways to improve our senior results, particularly AS level. One of the issues that students identified was the lack of time during lessons to work on problems as we were so busy going over content and taking notes. Then they had to go home and practise questions by themselves with little help.

I read an article on flipped learning and it addressed perfectly the issues my students were having. I started preparing my videos and flipping my lessons for AS students. I have never looked back.

What percentage of your classes are flipped?

Currently 50 per cent of my classes are flipped and I’m in the process of flipping the rest.

How has flipped learning affected outcomes?

I’ve noticed a significant increase in results since flipping my lessons. I used to have six or more students who were not achieving a grade at AS level. Since flipping my lessons the most I’ve had fail is two.

In the second year of flipping, my whole class passed AS maths! I attribute that to the flipped approach – students just get so much more time to discuss problems and really master the content in a collaborative environment.

For me the power is not in the videos, but what happens in the classroom. You get more time to interact and build relationships with students and they get the opportunity to really ask questions, explore and collaborate. They gain a deeper understanding of the material – mastery!

What student feedback have you received?

Overwhelmingly positive. My students have loved it. First and foremost, it gives them extra time during lessons to practise questions and the opportunity to collaborate with other students and with me.

They love that they can revise, pause and rewind the videos as they need – they can’t pause me in class!

I find the students are really appreciative of the effort put in to prepare the videos. It means they get more attention in the classroom rather than just the teacher at the board giving them information. They can watch the videos in the car or on the bus.

Parents have commented that watching the videos helps them help their children.

Is flipped learning common in schools?

At the flipped learning conference at Ormiston Senior College last term there were about 50 teachers there from various schools. It’s catching on!

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