The students in Lysandra Bisal’s mathematics class at H. Frank Carey High School, in Franklin Square, have started completing their homework in school — directly in front of the teacher, in groups and even talking about it before handing it in.
The seventh-grade teacher has recently incorporated a new method of learning by creating her own educational videos based on lessons within the curriculum and assigning those videos to be watched at home. Accordingly, Bisal is using her class time to help students complete homework associated with those videos. This new method of teaching is giving students an opportunity to apply what they are learning from those videos to their studies, with Bisal there to reinforce key points and guide them through any obstacles.
The new approach is inspired by the work of renowned educator Sal Khan, of Khan Academy, and the Gates Foundation. Khan popularized the concept of the “flipped classroom,” where students do the majority of their learning of a particular concept or lesson at home through the use of a brief web-based video and then are able to practice the newly acquired skill in class the next day until they demonstrate a high level of proficiency.
Bisal said that this new approach allows her, as a teacher, to carry out the true role that teachers were meant to play — aid in students’ demonstration of an understanding of learned material.
“With the flipped classroom, I get more time to walk around helping the students who need me,” Bisal said.
Bisal’s implementation of the flipped classroom approach came about when she found difficulty in locating an appropriate web-based video about the area of triangles and trapezoids. Everything she came across was either not grade-appropriate or not as qualified in teaching her students as she would have liked — so she took matters into her own hands.
Bisal created her own instructional video and made it available to her students online. She assigned that video to be watched one night, as homework, and then in class the next day the students can demonstrate what they learned and she would be present to enhance their understanding of the material.
Students are finding the flipped classroom approach extremely helpful.
“It’s like she was teaching class, just in my house,” Frank Cannon, one of Bisal’s students, said.
“I liked the way she explained it and showed us what to do,” Katerina Giannakopulos, another one of Bisal’s students, said.
Students found that one of the best things about this approach is that if something is unclear or difficult to understand, they can simply pause the video and go back. They don’t have to worry about interrupting the lesson or raising their hands and asking a question.
Bisal found tremendous success with her first foray into the “flipped classroom.” She said it’s been reinforcement at its best.
“They really enjoyed the video,” Bisal said. “Some students were even quoting me.”