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How a flipped classroom flipped a student’s perspective

A flipped classroom changed one student’s outlook.

The idea of graduating high school is supposed to be exciting: the beginning of a brand new life filled with experience and opportunity. But, when I thought about graduating from high school, I wasn’t excited; I was terrified. While my friends were talking about what colleges they wanted to apply to and their plans for life after high school, I sat in silence, wondering what I would do.

You see, I wasn’t a great student. I struggled through my first two years, scoring a 13 on my first ACT test. I didn’t think I’d get into any college, let alone the college of my dreams; I was convinced I’d spend the rest of my life working for minimum wage. I wanted so much more for myself, but it seemed like that was my only option…until everything changed.

On the first day of classes in my junior year, the principal explained to us that school would no longer be as it once was: our teachers would “flip” the way that they taught.  Instead of sitting in class delivering a lecture, our teachers recorded those lectures and asked us to view them for homework. Then during class, we instead worked on what used to be our homework before the videos–the math problems, the group projects, the labs, etc.

(Next page: How the new format worked in practice)

Under this new format, I was able to ask questions as soon as I got stuck. And I didn’t have to just ask my teacher- I could now ask someone else in the class, too. Suddenly, everything started to make sense. Rather than getting stuck on a problem at home and giving up when it became too difficult, someone in class was able to show me what I was doing wrong, so I could figure out the answer and master the topic.

This flipped teaching model allowed me to learn at my own pace and made a huge impact on my education. While watching my teacher’s lectures, if I didn’t understand something or needed to review for a test, I could simply rewind the video and watch it again. Almost overnight, my grades went from B’s and B-‘s- to all A’s. I began to understand complex problems that I never before grasped.

When I took the ACTs a second time after my junior year, I ended up scoring a 22 on the test! I was thrilled, and couldn’t believe how much I improved. With my new grades and ACT score, I realized that there were a lot of options for me beyond high school, and I would no longer have a limited future. I began looking at colleges and learning about academic scholarships.

I truly believe that the flipped classroom has changed my life, and opened many doors. This year has been a really exciting one for me: I have enjoyed thinking of what my education will bring in the next few years. I now have the potential to be anything I want to be, which, right now, involves accounting, business management, or health management.

Kylie McAuley is a 12th grade student at Clintondale High School, in Clinton Township, Mich.

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