Cavendish Road State High School
When Steven Griffiths took on the role of Year Nine Science coordinator at Cavendish Road State High School in 2013, he noticed something was holding his students back; the Science curriculum was driven by the teaching of scientific facts instead of practical engagement in complex scientific tasks, resulting in an inability on the part of his students to perform scientific enquiry.
Steven responded to this problem by introducing ‘flipped learning’ to the school. Flipped learning means that the traditional classroom and homework tasks are swapped; students learn content at home instead of doing homework, which frees up class time for active learning and practising scientific inquiry skills.
“When you’re teaching at the front and giving a lecture, everybody’s going at the same pace and you’re kind of teaching to the middle of the class. So that means the students who get things quickly are bored because we’re going too slow, and the students who struggle are bored because they can’t keep up,” Steven said.
“Because, as a teacher, I’m not chained to the whiteboard, it means I can be walking around the class and interacting with every student, every lesson, and every day,” Steven said.
In the three years since Steven stepped into his new role, the average end-of-year grade for Year Nine has improved from a C+ to a B, with the percentage of A’s also increasing from 7 per cent to an outstanding 35 per cent.
"Steven's approach makes learning far more engaging for his students as they move away from spending lesson time listening to the teacher lecture about content," his supervisor Michael Denner said.
Steven quickly discovered that the best way for students to learn content at home was through recorded video lectures, which still allowed them to see Steven and relate to him as a teacher.
Since introducing flipped learning to the school, Steven has created over 500 educational videos and has even set up his own professional video recording studio at the school. He is also a candidate for a Master of Education and Professional Studies, where his research focuses on how teacher-made videos affect student learning.
“I actually started making these videos in my back shed at home. When I got success at school, I was able to negotiate bigger and bigger places, so I’ve essentially got half a classroom now with professional lighting, camera, and audio equipment,” Steven said.
With students now learning content in lieu of doing homework, they have been able to engage in project-based learning tasks in class, making learning far more meaningful by allowing them to apply content to real-world contexts.
Seeing how successful this new learning approach was with Steven’s students, teachers at Cavendish Road State High School have implemented flipped learning across a wide range of subjects, including Maths, Music, Business, Hospitality, and Economics.
Steven is now setting his sights on coaching other teachers in the flipped learning approach. He has run hundreds of hours’ worth of professional development for teachers at both his school and other schools without any thought of remuneration, regularly speaks at conferences such as Flip Con, and is now a ‘Master Teacher’ of the Flipped Learning Global Initiative.
He also selflessly shares his impressive body of over 500 science videos with other teachers and students via Education Queensland’s EdStudios, on ClickView, and on his own YouTube channel and blog.
Congratulations Steve on being a finalist.