“Flipped Classroom” Approach in NJ School Sees Success

Having students do their homework in class and then watch lectures at home seems to be helping, teachers say

A New Jersey school's "flipped classroom" approach in which students do homework in class during the day and watch lectures online at night appears to be having success, teachers say.

"They can develop a working knowledge at home so if they have questions while working on an assignment, you're there to help them and they don't get frustrated," said teacher Kanchan Chellani.

Students at the school use their smartphones to answer poll questions in class, and they work in groups on laptops to solve problems.

"Our generation is more tech-savvy and more likely to remember stuff off the technology, so now for our generation, it's a better way to learn," said Jesse Smith, a junior who's gone from getting Cs to As in math.

Watching lectures online gives students greater flexibility: they can watch on their way to sports or music practice, and can watch multiple times to master the concepts.

"You can save the lesson so when you have a midterm in a few weeks, you'll have that lesson there for you," said Melissa Wilson.

Parents seem to like the flipped classroom, too. They say their teenagers are more likely to do their homework when they're watching an online lecture on a smartphone instead of opening up a textbook.

"It's less stress for everyone," said parent Carole Smith. "I don't have to bother him to do his homework, and now we have more family time." 

Students are seeing their grades go up now that they can ask their teacher questions about the problem sets instead of struggling through the problems alone at home.

"It's makes math so much easier to understand," said Wilson.

The flipped classroom is already getting results: Chellani is teaching the same subject to the same grade level in a flipped classroom as she did in a traditional classroom two years ago. She said the students now are scoring on average five points higher -- the difference between a B+ and an A.

--Jen Maxfield contributed to this report. 

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