Turning traditional education upside down

One Palmyra physics teacher is taking the traditional classroom, and turning it upside down.

One Palmyra physics teacher is taking the traditional classroom, and turning it upside down.

This is based off of a method called "flipping the classroom."

It's something you don't often see in a high school setting, but it is something that Palmyra High School teacher James Dent has wanted to set in motion for the past few years.

"I think a lot of teachers think, I'm not teaching unless I am in the classroom doing something. And we are getting that, and I think we are doing that just in a different way," Dent said.

He found the method of flipping the classroom from a book written by two popular scientists.

Dent was able to use his upper level physics class as a pilot program.

"It flip flops. We do all of our quizzes and homework here and we go home and take the lesson for like 20 minutes. Which is a huge timesaver," Palmyra High School student Easton Hotstene said.

"If we need his help we can go to him. He has videos made from each section so we can watch it and make sure how he wants us to do it first before we go bothering him because he's a busy man," Palmyra High School senior Tristan Fountain said.

The idea behind this method is as follows: You do your homework in class, and you learn your lectures at home. And in Dent's class, everyone moves at their own pace.

"In other classes I would have to wait for the ... You would be slowed down by the slowest person. And it is not like that in this class. Because you get to go at your own pace. And if you're ahead, then that's great. If you get done early, then you have some time to go at a more leisurely pace if you want to," Fountain said.

This also puts the ball on the teacher's side of the court.

Which means, Dent has to keep up with the rate students are learning at.

"That's the challenge for me is they are now putting pressure on me to have things produced for them. Because this takes a little more work than up front it takes more work," Dent said.

Dent said this program is off to the right start, but not exactly what he hoped for.

He thinks procrastination can hurt this kind of teaching.

There is still a lot to learn about flipping the classroom, but Dent feels you have to start somewhere.

Dent expects this technique will be used by more teachers around the school this upcoming semester.