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Please…please… just tell me the Answer!!

April 18, 2012

The flip class is starting to evolve but in doing so I have noticed 3 groups of students emerging and they have different interpretations of what they should get out of class.

The groups I have seen are:

1.  Super high achieving- never score less than 98%…ever (2 or 3 students)

2.  Lower achieving students (usually due to motivation)- 40-60% ( 2 or 3 students)

3.  Everyone else

Both 1 & 2 are really having a tough time adjusting to the new system.  I have heard from both groups, “please, just tell me the answer”!!  Both are used to being told what they need to know and how they need to learn it.  They are the ones where I see the most resistance.  For some reason, these students seem to take the change as a personal attack against them.  They get defensive and snappy when they are asked to try the new activities.  One student, obviously not a fan of my videos, told me she found another version of my video and that it was “way better”.  I have learned, now, to take these comments with a grain of salt and use them as constructive feedback.  When I asked her to explain she said, “the other video had working animation and you just had pictures”.  I told her that I was still learning and I would look into it.  Honestly, I was happy that she took the time to go look for another video! Another student, the top student in the class, left the last flip class and I swear I could see smoke coming out of her ears.  The topic was difficult and she is not used to not knowing the answers to any questions.  Even though she was able to work through the questions, by discussing with other students, it was out of her comfort zone.  I did touch base with her the next class to again explain my reasoning for the different format and she said, “I understand what you are trying to do but it’s hard”.  I really don’t think it will take long for her to buy in.

Group 3 is the group that is the biggest and the group I see the most progress with.  These students are watching the videos, taking the notes and actively participating in the activities.  Their understanding of the concepts is increasing because they are “doing” instead of “watching”.  I had one student tell me, ” I really appreciate the amount of time you are putting into this.  Both of my parents are teachers so I know how much time it takes to get these lessons ready…and they’re not even teaching “hard” courses!”.  Her words, not mine! I know I should just be happy that they are learning but it does feel good to get some thanks every once in a while.  Also, I talked to a couple other students individually and they said they really enjoy the videos because they can rewind when they don’t understand something and they both also liked the discussion groups.

Take away

To anyone on the fence of whether to do this “Flipped Class” thing, I really think it is helping and, even though there is resistance now, they will continue to buy in when they see more success.  Real success.  Not short term in Biology 12, where they memorize a few facts, but long term where they are able to make connections between those facts and apply them to other ideas.

Just a few thoughts.  Please let me know if you have any suggestions!

Another survey is going out to my students this week!  Stay tuned!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff permalink
    April 18, 2012 4:41 am

    I had one student tell me, ” I really appreciate the amount of time you are putting into this. Both of my parents are teachers so I know how much time it takes to get these lessons ready…and they’re not even teaching “hard” courses!”….

    I am always happy to hear when student’s do understand how much work we put into the lessons. I find it funny, that you included the negative comments first and then the positive. Right on, Scott! Continue to challenge their thinking and provide them with real skills. A friend of mine once told me that a baby would always rather stay in the womb – it is warm and comfortable. Then they cry when born… but the life they end up living outside of the wam confines of their “known world” helps them grow. Your kids will grow. Thanks for all of the work you are putting in…


  2. April 18, 2012 11:01 am

    What you are experiencing is totally normal. I *still* have students fighting me on the flipped classroom because, like you said, they are out of their comfort zones. For some kids, they adjust easily and quickly. Others do not adjust at all.
    Continue to push their learning and support their struggle. Be encouraged that your reluctant student found another video that worked for her…that is one of the greatest strengths of a flipped class. If it is not working for you, find something that does. Eventually, (hopefully), the bigger lessons will begin to settle in to most of your kids.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. April 18, 2012 1:54 pm

    Thanks for your reflections. I too note that the high acheiving students are initially frustrasted because the “correct answer” is not immediately obvious to them. They have exellent memories and can follow instructions well, but have not been challenged to figure things out on their own enough.

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