Chapter 1 Introduction
Background of the study
It is a known dilemma that educational level of American students in secondary mathematics is not desirable. There is empirical evidence suggesting the low performance of students in the secondary mathematics. America stands way behind in comparison to the rest of the world. The study will illustrate the problems with the ways of educating secondary mathematics in high schools of America. American authorities have been bringing reforms for the past few decades to alleviate the causes for mediocre performance of students in secondary mathematics. Apparently, the rate of change has gone worse than improvement. The level of mathematics has gone mediocre to worse which is becoming a greater concern for the authorities regarding educational development. The performance of American students on math assessment ranges from, “merely mediocre to the iworse, depending on the type of test and grade level” (Schmidt, 2012, p.133).
There are many factors which are affecting the educational understating of mathematics in secondary level. Political and societal factors are the core ones in addressing this problem. The focus of education has always been on the theoretical level. The scientists in the technical fields are decreasing day by day. The above factors contributed significantly to reducing the learning and progression in technical areas of science. Recent events have made it abundantly clear that nations excelling in the area of technology are the rising nations (Suter, 2006).
America has fallen behind because of the preference of focus on education and the related fields of science. China is one of the examples of growing economies via technical education. They have the right focus on the type of education which would lead their country ahead in the world. American political stances for education did not come out as productive as planned. The rising concern for limited knowledge of students in secondary mathematics has been discussed in an entire America.
The educational community is seriously considering alternate methods of teaching mathematics in secondary classes. They are determined to get rid of the typical ways of teaching. The classical school of thought has been undermined for its infective outcomes in high school level students. The logical explanation for this problem is validated by the performance of students for the past two decades in many surveys. It has become evident that how American schools are struggling in producing students with exceptional knowledge of mathematics (National Center for Education Statistics, 2012).
A report given by the U.S Department of Education entailed that America has been experiencing a downfall in the level of their education. The competition is getting worse for them as the time progresses. It is a fact that many countries have crossed the line and gone ahead in schools from the USA. American education authorities are concerned by this dangerous situation. The authorities have come up with many new plans to improve the level of teaching specifically secondary mathematics, but nothing is supported by the positive results. The standard of pressure on authorities is higher than before (State Educational Technology Directors Association, 2011).
American is one of the developed countries with the most accomplished scientists throughout the history. The fall in educational level can be taken as the downfall of the American growth on academic achievements. The federal government has always been talking about the standards of education, but consequently, is decreasing day by day for the past few decades. The knowledge of the problem is rotating around the way of communicating mathematics in classrooms of high schools in U.S.`
National assessment of educational programs (NAEP) has conducted a survey highlighting the poor performance of students in secondary level mathematics. A study elaborated the initiatives and programs that have been introduced by the government to improve the quality of education (Wheatley and Frieze, 2007). The programs could not produce the desired outcomes. It has been an alarming circumstance for the authorities and the general public of America, how the secondary level students are poor at mathematics as compare to the rest of world. The survey pinpointed the standard of comprehension of math in the rest of the developed countries. It is imperative to understand the failure of American education policies and implementations especially in the area of mathematics in high schools (Akey, 2006).
The survey compared the statistics of the outcomes of US in secondary to the other developed countries, and the difference of level of understanding is substantially high. The authorities have been uncertain about the problem. Despite the change in policies and practices, training teachers, compensating them, etc. could not result in enhanced performance of students over the past two decades. Tucker, (2012) stated about using the inductive approach, where the classroom become the place to, “work through problems, advance concepts, and engage in collaborative learning” (p.82).
According to the Weiss and Pasley (2004), the issue of education can be attributed to the passive learning of students in the classrooms. A classroom is a place where learning occurs if the environment is not learning friendly, it’s impossible to make the difference in the understanding level of students in secondary mathematics. The relationship between the learning environment and the performance of students has to be rather significant. One of the surveys indicated that after conducting interviews with some students and teachers of high schools in America, interactive environment in classrooms is directly correlated to the learning of the content taught to the students. The survey postulated the fact that classroom’s environment is the key towards effective learning.
National Council Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) revealed to the teachers to focus on the final output from the classroom learning of the students. The teachers were instigated to establish such a setting which in interactive and outcome based. Flipped classroom model of instruction was introduced by the NCTM. The flipped classroom model is a newer approach towards imparting learning based knowledge to the students of secondary mathematics. The design includes interactive sessions outside the classrooms. An entirely new way of communicating is introduced with the students on their level (NCTM, 2009). The conclusion of the council stated that “students to interact purposefully with the content and included various strategies to involved students and build on their previous knowledge” (p.25).
Engaging students in discussions and small competitions in the classroom to improve learning of secondary mathematics. The model is an example of a study environment where traditional ways are ignored (McDougall, 1997). The model does not only speak to the students the way they to be spoken to, but it also originates the idea of comprehending content on its merit. It would be a lot convenient for students to learn a thing based on something he enjoys such as an activity like a quiz competition, group activities, etc. (Bergmann & Sams, 2012; Young, 2011).
The main idea of introducing such blended and the student-oriented system is to flip the traditional ways of teaching. The model deviates from any classical/traditional way of approaching students while teaching. It is important for the teachers to understand the implications of this model. It is inclined towards student’s learning rather than facilitating the teachers. Utilizing this approach would help the students engage themselves in learning based activities which are result oriented (Brunsell & Horejsi, 2011).
The attitude of a student can be withdrawn to the learning by engaging him in an individual activity. Students can no longer wait for a class to be over rather they would be indulged in an activity without realizing the time (Mueller et al., 2011). The model illustrates the outcomes which can be gained by implementing this way of teaching in every high school in America. The model was in effect after consideration of numerous surveys highlighting the same problem again and again (Baker, 2000).
The flipping classroom model provides an opportunity for students to take it outside the classrooms and involve themselves in learning based activities. The most important aspect of this model is to identify the key activities that could result in better learning. The teachers are to facilitate the students in the best way possible (Talley & Scherer, 2013). Activities such as videos, use of art and competition can contribute towards strong knowledge. The environment of learning and teaching would completely be changed into something called creative forum for students. The outside activities will grasp the interest of students in the subject (mathematics). The teachers will feel facilitated too by less focus on boards and more focus on recreational learning based tasks (Vaughan, 2014).
There are many advantages associated to the implication of flipped model classroom. Student engagement, enhancing teamwork, freedom to teachers and standardized curriculum goes simultaneously, focused class discussions and personalized student guidance (Davies et al., 2013). The student engagement is attained by undertaking these activities. Students would be willing to participate in activities and learn directly from them (Fredricks, 2011). The concept of boredom in studying mathematics will be eliminated from outside activities. Students will learn how to work in teams. Along with academic learning, their interpersonal skills will be developed as well. Teamwork is going to be the core skill (Talley & Scherer, 2013). The more they work in groups, the more teamwork abilities can become the part of their personalities.
Teachers would not be bound to any one particular method or way of teaching. The medium would fall under the new model, but cannot be specified. The teacher would be free to engage students in any activities they deem fit (Davies et al., 2013). The curriculum for mathematics would be standardized. The teaching methodology would be changed and put in an effect. Every discussion originated would be focused by utilizing a different task. Students will learn and seek guidance at the same time. The personalized student guidance is the core aspect of learning. Each student would be benefited regarding learning via different activities.
There are particular challenges to it along with the benefits of applying this model to schools of America. The lack of adaptation of change in the environment which is student centered would be the biggest challenge for authorities. They need to understand the rate of adaptability of the students (Fredricks, 2011). If they are reluctant to with new ways, the model might not be successful. An activity or style of teaching that is going to be adopted by teachers may not be aligned with the style of learning for every student. The teacher cannot come up with a new activity for every student. It is going to be challenged to look for a task that is accepted by the whole class (Johnson & Renner, 2012).
Teachers might feel insecure about their roles and responsibilities in the setting. The whole idea of taking everything outside could create an illusion of their job description. The outside activities may not be monitored or evaluated that accurately. Students might skip or do not complete the tasks correctly (Creswell, 2008). The assessment of learning from those activities might not be that simple. The students may be graded improperly on their work. The group tasks eliminate the individual factor efforts put into the task. The identification of work contributed could be a tough duty to perform.
The cost of conducting outside activities comes as a challenge as well. The time is another factor in the implication of this model for study. The government will have to bear a lot of extra cost for the implementation of flipped classroom environment. It is manageable, but time is a constraint too. Outside activities can be time-consuming; it could affect the overall school schedule for the students. It is not going to be an easy change for changing the schedule for an entire high school system (Marzano, 2013).
The research would focus on the problem with the current issues with the educational system. America is getting behind in secondary mathematics as compared to the rest of the world. The study has suggested Flipped model to overcome the problem. The implications of flipped model of the classroom are not simple. This study will highlight the challenges and effectiveness this change can bring into the secondary mathematics. This paper will study the implication of the flipped model of classrooms. How American secondary education mathematics can be improved by it. The study will establish the framework of literature to support the idea and illustrate all the challenges associated with it. The paper will identify the options and the impact it leaves on improving the secondary mathematics of high schools in America.
Significance of the study
The study carries weight to demonstrate the lagging behind of American education in the world. It is crucial to understand and realize the position of American high school in the world. If the changes have not been introduced, U.S may suffer immensely in future. The last two decades have been very challenging for American education. There has been a constant decrease in the quality of teaching, especially in the secondary level mathematics. The study would contribute to the effectiveness of the flipped model of the classroom. It might support the initiative of the authorities to implement this model in schools.
- Will there be a positive impact of flipped model of the classroom on the secondary mathematics?
- Does the model come with a change America has been anxiously waiting for?
- How challenging would it be to implement the flipped model of the classroom in the high schools of America?
- Will the students support this change? Will it be convenient for students to adopt and learn from a change of system in teaching?
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