Summary of article reporting the project "flipped classroom"

Marianne Maugesten and Monica Nordbakke, Department of Teacher Education, Østfold University College.

(This research was supported by a MatRIC Small Research Grant, project number 140603)

Background

Students following teacher education programmes in preparation for working in compulsory grades (1 – 10) often begin their studies with middle ranking marks from upper secondary school and many have an instrumental approach to the subject. They have a rather fixed idea about how they learn mathematics, that is, with a teacher who provides good explanations and many calculations for practice. This does not accord with our own understanding of how to learn mathematics, which we have gained over many years of experience in teacher education.

It is evident that students' experience as pupils in school transfers across to their own practice with future pupils (Hiebert et.al, 2007; Grevholm, 2013).

We address the following research question:

Which factors do compulsory school teacher education students claim to affect their own mathematics learning after they have participated in a flipped classroom approach?

A flipped classroom approach is taken as a means to provide students with a different experience of learning.

We use Strayer's definition of flipped classroom approach: "a specific type of blended learning design that uses technology to move lectures outside the classroom and uses learning activities to move practice with concepts inside the classroom" (Strayer, 2012).

A theoretical framework is established in two parts – one concerning mathematics teaching (Hiebert et.al, 1997; Kilpatrick, Swafford, Findell, 2001; NCTM, 2014), the other about flipped classroom approaches.

Method

Qualitative approaches are used. Individual interviews with five students on the grades 5 – 10 teacher education course after they had participated in a flipped classroom approach for the topic 'fractions and algebra'. To form a representative picture of the class and to choose appropriate students for interview the whole class (28 students) answered three questions about their views of mathematics learning and the flipped classroom approach.

Results

  • Students are of the opinion that they learned and developed good understanding after the flipped classroom lessons. The factors that affected their mathematics learning in the lessons were:
  • Preparation, which is exemplified by students' preparation for lessons and content to be covered;
  • Variation, which is exemplified by different types of tasks, teaching resources with films and articles, and different approaches using games and play;
  • Student responsibility, there is a greater need to prepare students than in 'traditional' teaching;
  • Metacognition, in which students reveal reflection and insight into their own learning;
  • Connection with their future work in which the students see that the approach can be used in their own practice, and see the usefulness of the approach;
  • A learning community, which is exemplified by the students learning from each other, but it is a disadvantage when some have not prepared themselves in advance of classes.

A provisional finding from this project is that preparation for classes is the decisive factor that affects learning and this factor will be explored in more depth in the analysis and discussion. The other factors appear to be dependent on preparation.

References

Grevholm, B. (red). (2013). Matematikkundervisning 1 – 7. Cappelen Damm Akademisk.

Hiebert, J., Carpenter, T., Fennema, E., Fuson, K., Wearne, D., Murray, H., Olivier, A., Human, P. (1997): Making sense. Teaching and learning mathematics with understanding. University of Wisconsin Foundation.

Hiebert, J., Morris, A.K., Berk, D., Jansen, A. (2007). Preparing teachers to learn from teaching in Journal of Teacher Education. 58:1: 47 – 61.

Kilpatrick, J., Swafford, J., Findell, B. (2001). Adding it up. Helping children learn mathematics. National Research Council.

NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) (2014). Principles to actions. Insuring mathematical success for all.

Strayer, J. (2012). How learning in an inverted classroom influences cooperation, innovation and task orientation. Learning Environment Research 15:171–193