The day has come… the final exam day in Gen Chem. I am very excited to see how much they know and remember. The class average going into the final exam is a 80%…. much higher than in previous years when I only lectured. However, I doubt many students perceive their grade as high. If the students have learned anything from gen chem and the flipped classroom, I think they are learning how to study and learn.
How do I know this? I gave a “reflective” type of assignment last week that asked students to develop a strategic plan for preparing for finals (gen chem in particular). You can view the assignment here. Then I asked them to view the Angela Duckworth’s TED talk on Grit. I asked students to reflect on grit in a personal way… do they have grit? how do they react to a less than ideal situation? The responses were amazing….and enlightening. About 90% of my traditional students indicated that they never had to study in high school. They freely discussed how they had to change the way they learned. Bingo!!
Another great take-away from their responses was the fact that those students who talked about grades and needing to learn for a grade were much more anxious in class and about the flipped classroom. Those who expressed the desire to learn the material for their future careers and/or interest were those who are more successful and seem less anxious. These responses clearly indicate that motivation towards learning–learning for the grade versus learning for the sake of learning– influences a student’s performance and overall satisfaction with the learning environment.
I replied to every student who submitted a response to the Finals and Grit assignment. I gave many of them advice on how to approach their learning or confirmation that their approach was working! Several students told me that they were not happy with the assignment at first (more work near the end of the semester), but thought it was the “best assignment ever” and I should “do this every semester”. Many shared the TED talk with friends and family.
I love teaching in the flipped classroom. But, what I love most about it is the relationships I now have with all of my students. I know every single one of them in a meaningful way. To those who are open to new learning strategies, I can give advice as to how to study because I know how they learn best. The flipped classroom has provided me with the time to build those meaningful relationships and a learning community. More than chemistry knowledge, it is my hope that their new learning strategies and Grit will serve them well in the years to come.