Gave test 1 in Forensics this week. The grades were not statistically different from the lecture group from semesters prior. There were, however, more passing grades. Therefore, the flipped classroom is helping those more motivated students learn more (observation only). Those students who are not as motivated seem to have a difficult time no matter which classroom environment they are in. I plan on testing my hypothesis on the “Effects of Motivation on Achievement and Satisfaction in a Flipped Classroom Environment” in my dissertation study. I just got word that my dissertation proposal was approved! So excited!
Moving on to Gen Chem… I believe we had some breakthroughs this week. Test 1 grades seem to be the impetus needed to make some of these students change the way they are interacting with the content. Students came to class more prepared. (I can tell by the questions they are asking). The newly formed groups are mostly working better. There seems to be more peer-to-peer interaction and support. Students are also becoming more comfortable with the flipped classroom environment and seem to be less intimidated by me (not that I ever acted intimidating) and their classmates.
I hesitate to paint a glowing picture of the effectiveness of the flipped class or student satisfaction with this learning environment. Most students seem to be adjusting, even enjoying this constructivist, social learning environment. There are others that are clearly not comfortable learning in this environment. Just this week, two students are blaming the flip class on their poor performance on test 1.
This is the problem…. the flip class gives under prepared and less motivated students an excuse for not achieving their goals (grades). Those students who are willing to talk to me about changing their learning have come a long way. Those who are unwilling to adjust or change their learning strategies are almost antagonistic towards me and are resistant to student-centered learning. Body language and tone of voice is telling.
So what do I do? The flipped classroom is not hurting student achievement (test 1 scores are similar to lecture-only). Students are not sleeping in class. Students are starting to ask me questions that reflect a deeper-learning. I desperately want to retain those lower performing students, but they are resistant to change their approach to learning. How do I convince these low performing students that the change needs to come from them? (comments and suggestions welcome!!)
As a way to encourage more student-centered learning, I implemented a new policy. A few students found mistakes I had made in my vodcast (recording made with a live lecture class and not edited) when explaining concepts to my lecture class. Based on a suggestion from a colleague, I implemented “B” (for Butzler) points as a way to encourage “mistake-finding”. If a student catches a mistake, I will give them a point on their next test. My colleague’s son’s high school teacher did this and it was a hit. Likewise, my students perked up and were very excited about the opportunity to find my mistakes and earn points. Hey, if it causes students to listen to my vodcasts more closely, student learning should increase. Hopefully, students will begin to question their own understanding of the material. At this point, I am trying whatever tactic I can to move them to be more self-regulated learners.
I am looking forward to the next several weeks of teaching and learning in the flipped classsroom. The upcoming content is my favorite (Lewis structures and molecular shape). Hopefully, my students will share my enthusiasm. 🙂