South Korean TV network places spotlight on Gurnee's Warren Township High School

An innovative teaching technique used in some classes at Warren Township High School in Gurnee and elsewhere in the United States has captured the attention of a South Korean television network.

Korean Broadcasting System's production crew for the “Panorama” documentary is expected to finish its stay in Gurnee on Wednesday by observing the flipped-classroom method at Warren High's Almond Road campus for juniors and seniors. KBS, which went to Warren's O'Plaine Road freshmen-sophomore building Tuesday, is a public broadcaster and the largest TV network in the country.

“It was very unexpected,” Almond Road campus Assistant Principal Chris Geocaris said just before the KBS crew with a boom microphone and cameras sat down with five freshmen for a round-table discussion about the method.

Flipped classroom involves teachers presenting lectures and lessons on video that students are supposed to view at home and replay as often as necessary. Students can learn at their own pace while parents have an opportunity to interact with their children and observe what they are being taught.

When in the classroom, students work on applying and practicing the lessons they've learned on the video. Geocaris said teachers who are experts on the subjects have more time to answer questions because the basics are addressed on the video.

The flipped classroom also gives the pupils more time to discuss concepts with each other. Geocaris said the students have more responsibility for their education with the instructional style that some Warren instructors started using in 2011.

Lake Forest consultant Jonathan Bergmann, who conceived the flipped classroom with another educator, has held workshops for Warren High instructors and recommended the school to KBS when the network contacted him for information about the method this summer. Bergmann asked questions of the five freshmen during the panel discussion for the documentary.

Student Liam Thrawl said he's benefited by replaying lectures before tests for his three classes using the flipped classroom. He said he's appreciated weighing more opinions that come from his classmates on formulas in math class because they receive the teacher's lecture ahead of time on video.

“We have more intense discussions because we have time to discuss,” Thrawl said.

KBS visited Spanish, math and science classes on the O'Plaine campus Tuesday. KBS assistant producer Chong Lee said some test programs for the flipped classroom exist in South Korea.

Lee said the flipped-classroom method used at Warren and at high schools in California and Kentucky will be part of the two-hour “Panorama” documentary on the latest education innovations. It is scheduled to air on KBS in January.

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