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This lesson demonstrates the concept of a flipped method of instruction; instead of

having a lecture-style class and then solving problems as homework, students first watch a

recording of the theoretical aspects of the lesson then spend the class time solving problems.

An area in which this model of instruction has potential to be superior to a traditional

classroom is in the introduction of new vocabulary. The teacher mentioned that he uses the

recordings to introduce new mathematical terms, so that the students can pause and re-watch

if they dont fully understand the meaning initially. This essentially allows for unlimited

take-up time; a component that is vital to the process of questioning ("Asking effective

questions: Provoking student thinking/ deepening conceptual understanding in the

mathematics classroom.", 2016). There are also potential downsides to this approach, as

students are not able to ask the teacher for further elaboration if the recordings definition is

not adequate for them. There is also little opportunity for the teacher to get feedback from the

students when solving problems; open-ended questions, a highly important type of

questioning ("Asking effective questions: Provoking student thinking/ deepening conceptual

understanding in the mathematics classroom.", 2016), in particular would be difficult to pose

in this format of instruction.

It was good to see the teacher providing some explanations for the results obtained by

the null-factor law, as well as anticipating mistakes the students will make on the multiple

choice question and providing explanations as to why the students may arrive at these

incorrect answers. This demonstrates a level of Anticipatory Thinking; a key component of

PCK for mathematics (Hauk, Toney, Jackson, Nair & Tsay, 2014). An important part of the

teacher-student communication process that was absent from this video was the teacher

asking students who failed to obtain the correct answer to explain their reasoning. Doing so

would have allowed the teacher to gain insights into the students thinking, and would have

demonstrated a Knowledge of Discourse (Hauk et al., 2014).

Providing a visual aid for the learning goals and the intended outcomes was a good

thing to see, as the students would be able to refer to this throughout the duration of the

lesson, helping them determine whether or not they were making sufficient progress, and also

demonstrates knowledge of the content and curriculum (Hurrell, 2013). An area in which the

teachers verbal communication could have been improved was when he talked to the

whiteboard; this is an easily-fixed mistake, but it is important to make every effort to allow

communication to be clear. Other than the few areas for potential improvement, the teachers

communication methods appeared to be adequate, as there was little to suggest that the

students were not clear on any of the subject matter.

The main area in which this lesson differs from a traditional lesson is the flipped

nature. The decision to flip the classroom is in itself potentially a method of increasing

engagement; Clark (2015) found, in a study of a US high school, that students generally

considered learning mathematics in a flipped classroom to be more interesting than traditional

approach. The level of engagement the students have in this particular class is somewhat

difficult to determine, due the editing of the video, but the post-class interviews with the

students appear to have a desirable impact on engagement.

Other than the flipped nature of the classroom, the most prominent feature of student

engagement was the use of the USB remote voting system. Perhaps the most comparable

alternative is using a show of hands. The use of the technology may be superior for a few

reasons. With a show of hands, students may often base their decision on that of their peers,

whereas the remote voting system is more likely to produce a true reflection on the answers

the students arrived at. Additionally, the instant production of a graph of solutions is an

example of technology helping to explore authentic data; something recommended by Goos,

Stillman, & Vale (2007) as a component of teaching mathematics with technology. Finally,

there is the simple matter that the students appeared to be more interested in the lesson when

the remote voting system was used.

The main area in which engagement was lacking is similar to the area in which

communication could be improved (although this, again, could be due to the editing of the

video not giving a complete picture of the lesson as a whole). It would have been nice to see

more interaction with the students throughout the lesson, as the snapshots of the teacher

providing one-on-one instruction appear to simply involve the teacher telling the student how

to solve a problem, rather than getting input and giving feedback.

Based on the reactions of the students in the post-lesson interview, this lesson appears

to have been successful in engaging the class, something that was at least partially attributed

to the flipped model of instruction. As this agrees with Clarks (2015) findings on the

subject of engagement, it would be interesting to see how this model of teaching affects

student engagement across a wider range of schools.

It is difficult to judge the quality of the content in this video, as there is little of the

actual problems shown. The few problems that were worked through as a group appeared to

be those that only a lower order of understanding is needed to solve in terms of Blooms

Taxonomy (Anderson & Sosniak, 1994). An area for potential improvement would be if a

higher-order problem be solved with the group, so that the students can make links between

the various mathematical concepts, as doing so can help to improve mathematical

understanding (Goos, Stillman &Vale, 2007).

While the flipped classroom approach has been shown to improve engagement

levels, Clark (2015) found no significant change in student learning when using the

alternative method of teaching. Such an approach could certainly be successful, although it

may take some time for the students to adapt to such a teaching approach. The lack of change

in student learning found by Clark (2015) may be due to this reason, and with greater time to

adapt to the new method of instruction the students might have improved.

The differentiation of the content was good to see. As the teacher pointed out himself,

the idea of presenting the same material in the same way for all students is a poor idea. It is

difficult to further analyse the quality of the differentiated tasks, but the idea of curriculum

differentiation is strongly supported by research (Arzhanik, M., Chernikova, E., Karas, S., &

Lemeshko, E., 2014; Evans, 2015).

Simulating exam conditions has both good and bad points. The main benefit of such

an environment is that students are better prepared for the actual exam conditions, which is

likely to reduce stress experienced. On the negative side however, is that short, pure

problems have been shown to be less effective than rich mathematical tasks (i.e.

mathematics problems that require multiple mathematical processes to solve) in increasing

mathematical understanding (Goos, Stillman & Vale, 2007; Widyatiningtyas, Kusumah,

Sumarmo, Sabandar, 2015). Given that the teacher stated that there was roughly six months

until the final exam, it was perhaps too early to be teaching to exam conditions, as the

students may have benefitted more from conceptual questions than from multiple choice

questions.

The activity used for students who were advancing rapidly (the find someone who

task) appeared to involve students working collaboratively in order to solve problems, which

is a good thing to see. Working collaboratively allows students to learn from each other,

essentially diagnosing and treating the areas of mathematical weakness, and also generally

results in a greater level of engagement with the subject matter (Killen, 2013). For the

students who were struggling with the material, it is even more difficult to analyse the quality

of their content, as very little was shown other than them using Khan Academy. With

appropriate instruction, this method of learning can certainly be successful, but it is

impossible to judge the quality of the instruction based solely on the video.

Finally, it was good to see the teacher provide a whole-class summary of how the

lesson went, as this provided feedback for the students as to whether or not they were on the

right track with their learning.

Overall, this lesson appeared to be successful, and the flipped model of instruction

appears to have been successful in this instance. Such a method of instruction could

potentially be more widely utilised, but, as stated previously, it may take some time for the

students to adjust to an alternative means of learning.

References

Anderson, L., & Sosniak, L. (1994). Blooms taxonomy: A forty-year retrospective. Chicago,

IL: National Society for the Study of Education.

Arzhanik, M., Chernikova, E., Karas, S., & Lemeshko, E. (2014). Differentiated approach to

learning in higher education. Procedia, Social and Behavioural Sciences, 166, 287291.

Asking effective questions: Provoking student thinking/ deepening conceptual understanding

in the mathematics classroom.. (2016). Ontario Ministry of Education. Retrieved 8

August 2016. Retrieved from

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/inspire/research/CBS_AskingEffectiv

eQuestions.pdf

Clark, K. (2015). The effects of the flipped model of instruction on student engagement and

performance in the secondary mathematics classroom. Journal of Educators Online,

12(1), 91-115.

Evans, D. (2015). Curriculum adaptations. In A. Ashman (Ed.), Education for inclusion and

diversity (5th ed., pp. 102-129). Melbourne: Pearson Australia.

Goos, M., Stillman, G., & Vale, C. (2007). Teaching secondary school mathematics:

Research and practice for the 21st century. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Hauk, S., Toney, A., Jackson, B., Nair, R., & Tsay, J. (2014). Developing a model of

pedagogical content knowledge for secondary and post-secondary mathematics

instruction. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal, 2, 16-36. doi:

10.5195/dpj.2014.40

Hurrell, D. (2013). What teachers need to know to teach mathematics: An argument for a

reconceptualised model. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(11), 54-62.

Killen, R. (2013). Effective teaching strategies: Lessons from research and practice (4th ed.).

South Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia.

Widyatiningtyas, R., Kusumah, Y., Sumarmo, U., & Sabandar, J. (2015). The impact of

problem-based learning approach to senior high school students mathematics critical

thinking ability. Indonesian Mathematical Society Journal on Mathematics

Education, 6(2), 30-38.

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