I started ‘flipping my classroom’ at Woodham Academy in October 2013 as a result of needing to change the way I taught with a certain GCSE class. I felt shattered at the end of every double lesson. I was working very hard at the front of the class and didn’t feel I was getting much back. Something had to change. I had done lots of research on flipped learning and it interested me greatly. I read blogs, watched videos and lectures, read Bergmann & Sam’s Flipped Classroom book and even Skyped a teacher from another school in the UK who is a flipped classroom expert (@chazat72). Even though it has worked in classes all over the world, I took a risk with my class by trialling it. However, I was up front with the class from the outset. The students knew that we were all learning this for the first time – me included. It was a journey that we were going on as a class and one that I hoped would bring about significant results. In hindsight, this was one of the most important things I did. Being open and honest about how I was learning, really made a difference with the students. We were doing this together.
As with any research I wanted to find out how effective this had been. I was in a great position of having taught the group ‘traditionally’ for the entire first half term and had collected data from their first end of unit assessment. This gave me the ideal opportunity of teaching in an entirely flipped classroom for the second half term before testing again to measure any significant impact.
During this half term of flipped classroom teaching I collected evidence of it’s impact from 3 sources:
In short – students love it! Their feedback has been extremely positive and was the big driver early on for me to continue with it. A sample of comments from their students feedback are below:
‘I love flipped learning’,
‘Please don’t go back to normal teaching’,
‘We get to do so much more in the lesson’,
‘We feel ahead of the game when we come into the class’,
‘It’s great to be able to pause and rewind you sir!’
Formal Lesson Observation
There have been some people questioning if it’s a model that can work when you are being observed. During the last half term I was formally observed by my Head Teacher for my performance management. The lesson was graded as outstanding with significantly high levels of engagement, pace, progress etc. Students were questioned about their learning and the impact that this style had upon them. They were all extremely positive and impressed the Head with the prior knowledge that they brought to the lesson. I was quite open about the fact that my lesson started on Friday night when I posted the video! This will hopefully put to rest any concerns that you can’t evidence progress in a flipped classroom.
Visible Learning Effect Size
After reading the work of John Hattie and seeing him speak live in Leeds recently, I decided to test my own trial for statistical evidence of it’s impact. For those of you who are not familiar with his work, here is a brief overview:
Professor Hattie’s research has used effect sizes to put influences that can impact student learning on a continuum that enables us to see those that have the greatest impact. An effect size of 0.40 is the average effect size and the minimum we should expect. For influences between 0 and 0.40 you should consider the amount of time, energy and resources being spent to support them. Ref: Visible Learning Plus.
With the data collected from the first end of unit assessment (October, traditional teaching) and the data from the second end of unit assessment (December, flipped learning), I was able to calculate the effect size. Test scores showed me that there were significant improvements by nearly all students from test 1 to test 2. By using the formula that John Hattie uses in his research: Effect size = (total score 2 – total score 1) / average spread for the whole class I was able to generate an effect size for the flipped learning strategy over the half term, along with individual effect sizes for students.
An effect size for the class of 0.86 is extremely positive and would rank this intervention strategy 6th in terms of its impact out of the 138 different interventions that John Hattie tested. It is also double the average effect size (0.40) from Hattie’s research. This is extremely pleasing and backs up what I have seen week by week in the class itself. The work rate of the students, along with their engagement and enthusiasm has lead to significantly better output. Given that I’ve spent a lot of time both researching flipped learning and then recording my videos, I’m over the moon with it’s impact in such a short space of time!
As with any research, the larger the sample size, the better. This was a small sample of 21 students. However, everything that I could have done to ensure the results were reliable and valid, I did. Although this is just one test with one group of students, it does show what can be achieved if you take the time to research a new strategy, implement it properly and put the structures in place to measure it’s impact.