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Central teachers replace lectures with labs

By Ryan Cornell

WOODSTOCK -- Two Chemistry 1 teachers at Central High School are turning their classroom upside down.

OK, maybe not literally.

But as a duo who have implemented phase one of the Flipped Classroom model this past semester, Barbara Derflinger and Meredith Bauserman just might have turned the traditional way of teaching on its head.

Derflinger said that before "flipping their classroom," they would give a lecture in class and the students would then practice what they learned. If students ran out of time practicing, she said, they would be assigned the rest for homework.

Instead of using valuable class time for lectures, she said students now are instructed to gon online at http://tinyurl.com/mr9qm37 to watch "vodcasts" at home and take notes. When they come to class ready to use the information, they get more time to work on independent labs and activities.

According to Melissa Hensley, principal at Central High School, students remember 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they read and hear, 30 percent of what they see, 50 percent of what they hear and see, 70 percent of what they say and 90 percent of what they say and do.

"So they have to be interactive," she said. "They have to be able to participate in the things they're being asked to do."

Derflinger said the new model helps students learn and process information at their own pace, whether its gifted kids in the higher tier or underperformers in the lower tier.

"In a traditional classroom, we teach to the middle tier," she said. "Those that are higher tier are bored out of their minds. The lower tier, they get pushed aside, and that's unfortunate."

She said they allow students in the higher tier to work on additional labs and test early when they finish the in-class lessons, while the slower learners have especially benefited.

"They're not with the rest of the class," she said. "They're a little slower to get the information, and that's fine, but they're showing that they understand it."

The style of learning takes a lot of time and energy spent planning, recording and editing the vodcasts, but it's been worth it in the end, Bauserman said

"This has been a really good model for letting the students take ownership of their learning," she said. "They need to have the initiative, need to have the 'I want to learn this.'"

Hensley said the model is a refreshing departure from the "drill and kill" textbook-driven instruction given by teachers when she was in school.

"If the child can't learn the way we're teaching them, then maybe we need to change the way we're teaching in our classrooms today," she said. "And we've been able to do that at Central."

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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