Flipping Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Mathematics Anxieties

September 2017

Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 17(3), 312-335. 2017
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study aimed to examine whether different instructional practices could positively influence students’ anxieties and perceptions about mathematics.

The authors compared between three instructional practices, which conducted on the same days in the same classroom. These practices conducted at a mathematics content course for elementary education preservice teachers at a midsized public university.

The Teacher In-Class Lecture Method
The first instructional practice was Teacher In-Class Lecture Method. The participants in this group, served as control group.
The students in the control group were asked to read upcoming sections from the textbook.
The instructor reviewed the previous in-class lesson and checked homework. Next, the instructor provided an electronic slideshow accompanied lecture related to the content from one to two sections of the textbook.
During the lecture, the instructor asked questions to engage the students. Then, the instructor and the students completed practice problems and activities that provided depth and conceptual understanding of the mathematical concept of the lesson. The instructor assigned the students homework problems to help them continue building their understanding of the concept.

The Teacher Flipped Method
The Teacher Flipped Class (TF) method required classroom preparation both by the instructor and the students. The instructor created a lecture video for each major mathematical concept to be covered in the class. Prior to class, the students were asked to watch one to two lecture videos and bring notes to the upcoming class. The instructor checked the notes as part of a homework requirement. At the beginning of the class, the instructor checked homework and notes. Then, students could ask questions about the homework or concepts from the lecture video. Afterwards, students worked with a partner or partners to complete practice problems or activities. The instructor listened to group discussions, providing one-on-one/small group assistance as needed. The group discussions were utilized to share strategies and to discuss any questions that may have arisen from a given problem or activity.

The Khan Academy Flipped Method
Khan Academy is an online website that provides lecture videos.
The students were required to join the instructor’s course on Khan Academy. The students in this group were then assigned Khan Academy videos related to the course content. The students completed challenge questions that were built into Khan Academy topics. They were required to answer 80% of items within the built-in challenge questions correctly to receive homework credit for the assigned videos.
The class began with a review related to the previous in-class lesson, followed by homework review and a question/answer session from the lecture videos. Afterwards, the students worked with a partner or in groups to complete various practice problems and extension activities directly related to the lecture videos from the previous night. In addition, the students watched the necessary Khan Academy videos and completed the corresponding challenge questions for the upcoming class.

Data were collected through multiple sources. The authors recorded each section through video twice to compare classroom instruction.
The students were also asked to complete mathematics anxieties pre-course online survey during the second week of the course. They also completed the mathematics anxieties post-course online survey. The authors also conducted a semi-structured, whole class interview.

The findings suggest that when comparing the multiple aspects of teaching and learning for a mathematics content course for elementary education preservice teachers, flipped learning with teacher-created videos has the potential to help improve students’ anxieties and confidence in mathematics more than do instruction that incorporates in-class lectures or third-party videos.
The authors also found that the teacher flipped method had the greatest significant decreases of mathematics anxieties, in addition to demonstrating a positive increase in beliefs about teaching and learning mathematics. The students’ responses suggested that such a positive increase occurred due to the improved opportunities for collaboration, exploration of multiple methods, and opportunities to examine student work related to the mathematical concepts.

However, the authors found that the least impacted group in terms of anxiety was the flipped section using the Khan Academy videos. The authors suggest that the Khan Academy flipped method that the student focus when using the Khan Academy videos was not on learning but on passing the videos’ challenge questions. The authors found that this extrinsic motivator appeared for most students to be powerful, thus they spent more time completing the review questions than watching videos to prepare for the upcoming class.

Implications for Flipped Instruction
The findings suggest that various factors must be considered before flipping any course.
The authors also suggest that although a more time-consuming option, this study suggests instructors may want to consider creating their own videos, which will assure that the content aligns with their goals and expectations for preparation before the upcoming lesson. 

Updated: Jul. 12, 2018