Teacher Chris Whyte Embraces Innovative Approach

In a traditional classroom, a teacher may spend 45 minutes lecturing, then answer a few questions from a couple students. Kids then spend 45 minutes in the evening doing homework. But not in Chris Whyte’s 8th grade science class. Instead, it has “flipped”—students watch Mr. Whyte’s lecture at home on their computers and use classroom time for problem solving, project based learning, review and reinforcement activities.

Mr. Whyte leverages the latest technologies to produce a 10-minute multimedia presentation that combines his lecture with key concepts, examples from the internet, and other interactive teaching techniques. Students’ “homework” assignment is to watch the lecture at home where they are able to absorb the material at their own pace. Those who may be struggling to understand the material can replay the presentation as needed, while students who grasp the lesson quickly may need to only play it once.

“By listening to the lecture prior to class, the kids are coming to class prepared to learn,” says Mr. Whyte. “Realistically, you don’t need any help listening to a lecture, but you do with homework. Now students can bring their questions to the classroom and we all work together to find answers.”

Students are responding positively to “flipping the classroom.” Not only are they buzzing with excitement and discussing interesting science concepts, but test scores are up across the board. “I even made my tests more difficult, but students seem to have a better understanding of the subject matter and score higher,” Mr. Whyte happily states.

“It’s wonderful to watch videos for homework. Mr. Whyte makes them so entertaining it’s like you’re not even learning, but you are!” — Grace Olson, SFC 8th Grade Student