Flipping out: the new craze of teaching
Flipped learning first popped up back in 2012, a simple idea by Bergmanns and Sam to help those students who had missed class, to catch up on work they had missed that lesson. However, they soon realised that this was really benefiting those students who were attending class, giving them more confidence on the content and the ability to provide differentiated learning in a whole new way. The idea soon became providing students with the basic concepts of a topic prior to class, via visual media such as videos and podcasts, then applying this within class with the assistance of peers and the class teacher. Traditionally, students have been left to struggle with the high order thinking for homework, with little support, meaning those who may not feel so confident in a topic are left behind. Thus, this provided an opportunity to support all learners at their own pace. The classroom now focuses on spending time working independently or in small groups to apply this knowledge, identify solutions and address misunderstandings.
There has been a prominent issue with students struggling with the jump between GCCSE and A-level (Battin-Pearson et al., 2000). Therefore, this pedagogy stood out for me as a way of promoting engagement in my A-level students, an unmotivated group, who were unsure of where they were heading. These pupils were happy to be passive in class and unsure of how to independently learn. Additionally, these students were not aware of how they could support themselves through their A-level, with all their apparent “free-time” to decide what to best use it for. Therefore, over a few weeks I implemented this approach using a variety of videos discussing the different approaches within Psychology. Students were asked to complete a small worksheet for homework, which highlighted the main ideas they needed to identify from the videos and brought this to class to support their work. Students then completed a variety of worksheets and tasks within class, applying their knowledge of the systems of the body to explain the fight or flight response or how neurons function within our body.
The student questionnaires, suggested that they were engaged in the topics more and felt confident to apply their knowledge, having set their own pace on understanding the topic. However, I also chose to focus my data collection on qualitative approaches, as little research had provided knowledge of students and teachers perceptions in any particular
“I liked having prior knowledge of the lesson”
depth (Abeysekera and Dawson, 2015). Additionally, in a more in-depth focus group with some of the pupils, they indicated that the videos gave them confidence to ask and answer questions within class and discussions became a more prominent feature of the lesson. The pupils also suggested that the videos gave them the ability to rewind and pause their learning, which a classroom does not provide. This is something Tucker (2012) found, he suggests that this provides students with tailored differentiation whereby students at all levels can are catered for and can work at the pace which suits them. Furthermore, a teacher noted that the students immediately became independent learners within the classroom, whereby they were able to start class immediately, with little assistance and when questioned had a clear understanding of the topic. From the start students engaged well with this new method of learning and the vast majority preferred this to the traditional approach. Overall, there was a positive perception of the new approach from both staff and students and provided benefits more than engagement alone, although this was the focus of the study.
Although this research was only produced over a short period of time, I felt it had an immediate effect on student’s engagement both in and outside the classroom. However, I would like to continue to use this method of teaching, over the next few months to see how this has a positive influence on the students. For those thinking of implementing this into their classroom, I would advice that they try it, I was extremely surprised by the immediate positive impact on the students, but am so glad that I have risen to the challenge. Additionally, I would recommend finding the selection of videos prior to the start of your topic, carefully selecting which areas of your subject need face-to-face support and which areas are students generally able to self-support their learning. As the Department for Education (2011) suggest, it is important to cater to the needs of all students in your class, flipped teaching provides this opportunity, customized to each students learning needs in a student-centred, engaging manner.
Abeysekera, L. & Dawson, P. (2015) Motivation and cognitive load in the flipped classroom: definition, rationale and a call for research. Higher Education Research & Development, [Online] 34(1), 1-14. Available from: http://philldawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Flipped-classroom-post-print.pdf [Accessed 9 June 2016].
Bergmann, J. and Sams, A. (2012) Flip your classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day. [e-book]Washington, DC, International Society for Technology in Education. Available from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=-YOZCgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=A.+Flip+your+classroom:+Reach+Every+Student+in+Every+Class+Every+Day%3B+&ots=AEiePJrpkf&sig=2BUFJm0RyEbt-qypZeii57EuvNw#v=onepage&q=A.%20Flip%20your%20classroom%3A%20Reach%20Every%20Student%20in%20Every%20Class%20Every%20Day%3B&f=false [Accessed 6 June 2016].
Battin-Pearson, S. Newcomb, M.D. Abbott, R.D. Hill, K.G. Catalano, R.F. and Hawkins, J.D.(2000) Predictors of early high school dropout: A test of five theories. Journal of Educational Psychology.[Online] 92(3), 568. Available from: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1505548%5BAccessed 9 June 2016].
Department for Education (2011) Teachers’ Standards. [Online] Available from: http://www.gov.uk [Accessed 15May 2016].
Tucker, B. (2012) The flipped classroom. Education Next.[Online] 12(1) 13-15. Available From: http://www.msuedtechsandbox.com/MAETELy2-2015/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/the_flipped_classroom_article_2.pdf%5BAccessed 6 June 2016].