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Learning, Practitioner Enquiry, Uncategorized

Practitioner Enquiry: What impact will flipped classroom have on Y13 & Y12 students in Sociology on improved independence skills out of school and improved outcomes in school? Gunessee, S (2016)

By: Sunny Gunessee

Subject Area:  Sociology

The research conducted by S. Gunessee strikes a strong similarity with the process of a lesson study, it is firmly rooted as piece of independent teaching practitioners research. After a set of underperforming results from the previous cohort, S. Gunessee went to the best performing college in the UK during July 2015. His finding from Yavenh College (http://www.yavnehcollege.org/) highlighted a massive amount of overlap in the practices between the schools, but one very big difference which was the use of flipped classroom.

The research was conducted by S. Gunessee, with T. Matthews reviewing the work at points during the year via discussions and observations.

The use of flipped classroom required discussion with  the extremely helpful Robyn Gibson (@R_Gibson01) who is the Assistant Head of Faculty for Humanities and Sociology specialists teachers at Yavneh College, and then the independent research of using the schools links to the ‘Teacher Development Trust’ (@TeacherDevTrust) to access a plethora of free secondary research. This initial discussion and research over the summer laid foundations for the research which would be conducted over 2015-16.

More detailed evaluation or further information can be found by contacting sgunessee@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Whilst examining previous research it became abundantly clear the following characteristics were true of operating a flipped classroom:

  • Students take more responsibility to be more active in their learning
  • Feedback can be given more frequently but importantly more effectively to challenge individual problems in written work
  • More time to develop bespoke skills in Sociology, such as knowledge of concepts and application to current society
  • Improved discussion which adds depth to essay writing
  • Students become self-learners and lifelong learners
  • Flipped classroom enables the teacher to create more ‘hands-on’ classroom
  • Improved feedback cycle between teacher and student

 I was aware that many sixth form teachers at Oriel High School had unofficially been practitioners of ‘flipped classroom’, however I was aware that no one had done previous research into this area of research at Oriel High School. Flipped classroom is “…a kind of blended learning environment, where students learn instructional content [reading content] at home and what used to be homework is done in class, where teachers offer personalised guidance and interaction with other students, instead of lecturing” (Souza and Rodrigues 2015).

The research was originally intended to investigate what impact the implementation of a  flipped classroom might have on achieving higher quality exam responses. The focus was very much rooted in something which could be quantitatively measured, however it became clear that the ‘knock on’ effects of conducting this research was also having an impact on the levels independence which is particularly important at KS5, as staff and students often make the assumption that KS5 students will understand how to meet the demands of A Level teaching and learning naturally, without coaching and support.

The study was focused on Y13 students primarily as a way to examine the impact flipped classroom would have in comparison to the previous year’s teaching. However the flipped classroom methodology has also been applied to Y12 students in regards to another unit on ‘Education in contexts’. By focusing more on Y13 students it was a way to see how they could build on the approaches they had adopted from the previous year.

Y13 students were informed at beginning of the course that the teaching approach would be changing; they were very positive about the rationale behind the move and eager to be compliant with all techniques used throughout the year to examine its impact. Through discussions with T. Matthews with the Y13 class being only 11 students it was established the impact across the whole class would be more beneficial to investigate as opposed to examining a small number of students within an already small sample.  It was also made clear to the Y13 (and Y12 students later on in the year) that flipped classroom would see less reading of text in class and more deconstruction of knowledge for further discussion and exploring essay writing beyond a uniformed manner.

Through in depth discussion and further secondary research, it was concluded that a way to examine the impact of flipped classroom would be through IRIS self reflections, students questionnaire perception and snap shots of progress throughout the academic year.

The enquiry was focused on the following;

“What impact will flipped classroom have on Y12 and Y13 students in Sociology have on improved independence skills out of school and improved outcomes in school”.

One of the key areas of this study was the way in which I wanted students to have improved understanding of the topics before coming into lessons, as this would be vital to providing opportunities for deeper discussion and as a teacher provide more time for revision and exam practice at the end of the course.  During the course of the year videos/documentaries/textbook readings/articles were used as stimuli for discussion.

I also made the following decisions in the early stages of the research enquiry:

To experiment with different teaching and learning tools which I had not used at A-Level teaching before. This includes writing on the desk as a form of drafting, hexagon tasks, 60 minute sheets, solo taxonomy sheets, presentations, snaking tasks, just a minute, verbal rehearsals, debates. All of these activities which were deployed throughout the academic year and allowed sixth form teaching of Sociology to investigate which teaching techniques improve exam responses.

As the research continued it became apparent that the use of flipped classroom was particularly difficult at the beginning, as students struggled with the increased ownership of learning outside of the classroom. The biggest modification was the sanction policy put in place to ensure ‘readings’ were completed. I ‘toyed’ with two ideas at first; firstly any student who didn’t complete the reading was asked to sit on a separate table away from the rest of the class to complete the work. However I became conscious that as the lesson went on the sanctioned student struggled to remain focused as they heard the discussion of the reading, so I decided that students who hadn’t completed the readings were asked to leave the classroom and complete the work. Before the end of the lesson the students had to come back with work completed and then had to catch up with the work they had missed out on. I created accountability over the work missed by using the drop in clinics run over a lunchtime as a compulsory session to attend so I could hot seat them on knowledge they had missed out on. It became very clear after a month, students especially in Y13 completed their homework!

As the research enquiry developed it became clear that for ‘flipped classroom’ to work it needed to be explained to the students why and how it would work, as well as how it would benefit them. The below traits were vital to flipped classroom being successful as an ongoing piece of research:

  • IRIS self-reflection on a half termly basis
  • Use of effective questioning to build on the student independent readings, this will allow the topic to be explored in more detail
  • High expectations which promotes the pursuit scholar excellence
  • Consistency – aware that sometimes students will not complete the readings and not giving them ‘wiggle’ room to get away with it
  • Relationship with the class and sharing the importance of that this is a two way relationship for it to work
  • Engagement – creating a culture of effort, challenge, interaction, scaffold (if interested delivering a CPD session on the 11.5.16 on this very topic)
  • Taking risks with activities – the use of twitter for teaching ideas with flipped classroom allowed me to explore ones which worked and ones which did not. Great twitter person @YavnehSociology or #socedchat on a Monday night 8-9pm

At the half way point of the research, I had a discussion alongside TMA about how to assess the impact by looking at the following criteria:

  • Student perception
  • Academic progress (professional predictions)
  • Refining the quality of activities experimented with over the research
  • Quality of essay writing

Summary of Questionnaire Findings for Sociology Y12 and Y13 Action Research 2015-2016

If you require a copy of the questionnaire do not hesitate to contact me at sgunessee@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Y13 Sociology started with 14 students in September 2015, however at the time of this write up in March 2016 there are 11 students remaining. The below table represents the 11 remaining students grade band distribution from their external AS Level and their Oriel Target grade band distribution and professional predictions as of March 2016.

Grades from AS Level – Y13 Oriel Target Grades –Y13 Professional Predictions – Y13
A*-A = 0% A*-A = 0% A*-A = 0%
A*-B = 9% A*-B = 18% A*-B = 27%
A*-C = 54% A*-C = 54% A*-C = 72%
A*-D = 81% A*-D = 100% A*-D = 100%
A*-E = 100% A*-E = 100% A*-E = 100%

Y12 Sociology started with 15 students in September 2015, by the time of this write up in March 2016 there are 16 students. The below table represent the 16 students grade band distribution for professional prediction and Oriel target grade band distribution as of March 2016.

Oriel Target Grades – Y12 Professional Predictions – Y12
A*-A = 12% A*-A = 12%
A*-B = 68% A*-B = 37%
A*-C = 100% A*-C = 75%
A*-D = 100% A*-D = 93%
A*-E = 100% A*-E = 100%

Y13 Analysis – 11 out 11 Y13 students completed questionnaire

1.       Do you complete your readings in time for lessons?
Yes – 10 No Sometimes  – 1

 

2.       Do you find the in depth discussion helpful after completing the reading/watching videos for homework?
Yes – 10 No Sometimes – 1

 

3.       How confident do you feel after completing the readings and before you come into lesson with the notes you have made?
Very confident Confident – 7 Satisfactory – 4 Unconfident Very Unconfident

 

4.       How confident do you feel after completing the readings and after you have come to lesson to do further discussion
Very confident – 2 Confident – 9 Satisfactory Unconfident Very Unconfident

 

5.       Please describe how much effort you put into completing the readings/watching the video?
Lots of effort – 2 Some effort – 8 Satisfactory effort – 1 Little effort No effort

 

6.       Please describe how much effort you put in during lesson time to further your understanding?
Lots of effort – 3 Some effort – 6 Satisfactory effort – 2 Little effort No effort

 

7.       What have you liked best about flipped classroom?
·         Created variety of different learning activities in lesson

·         More discussion

·         Sharing of different ideas

·         Created independence

·         More autonomy as a student

·         More engaging

 

8.       What part of flipped classroom would you like improved for next year?
·         Getting a greater variety of students to be part of the discussion

·         Assigning different areas of reading to different people

·         Vary the readings from just the textbook

 

9.       What could I do to make flipped classroom more supportive for you?
·         Check notes from readings more frequently

·         Do something other than comprehension questions

·         Consolidation task at the end of discussion e.g. a sheet to complete

 

10.   What is the most helpful part of flipped classroom?
·         Allowed me to become an independent learner

·         Individually driven to learn material

·         Enable me to develop answers

·         Improved discussion

·         Improved essay writing

·         Secure knowledge

·         Varied activities

Y12 Analysis – 14 out 16 Y12 students completed questionnaire

1.       Do you complete your readings in time for lessons?
Yes – 8 No Sometimes  – 6

 

2.       Do you find the in depth discussion helpful after completing the reading/watching videos for homework?
Yes – 14 No Sometimes

 

3.       How confident do you feel after completing the readings and before you come into lesson with the notes you have made?
Very confident – 1 Confident – 10 Satisfactory – 2 Unconfident – 1 Very Unconfident

 

4.       How confident do you feel after completing the readings and after you have come to lesson to do further discussion
Very confident – 3 Confident – 6 Satisfactory – 5 Unconfident Very Unconfident

 

5.       Please describe how much effort you put into completing the readings/watching the video?
Lots of effort – 2 Some effort – 9 Satisfactory effort – 2 Little effort – 1 No effort

 

6.       Please describe how much effort you put in during lesson time to further your understanding?
Lots of effort – 6 Some effort – 7 Satisfactory effort – 1 Little effort No effort

 

7.       What have you liked best about flipped classroom?
·         Discussion to help with essays

·         Range of activities which are fun and engaging

·         Promoting independence

·         Promoting better organisational skills

·         Secure knowledge

·         Keeps me motivated in lesson

 

8.       What part of flipped classroom would you like improved for next year?
·         Do more with sociological theories

·         Table work which is more cooperative and not just independent led

·         Different ways to do hot seating

 

9.       What could I do to make flipped classroom more supportive for you?
·         Do more work around sociological theories

·         Discussion could be more in depth

·         Give people different readings

·         Do more in class notes

 

10.   What is the most helpful part of flipped classroom?
·         Having a detailed knowledge of the topic before going into the lesson

·          Gives more time to focus on revision

·         Knowledge for essay is secure

·         Promotes independence

·         More focused in lesson and outside of lesson

·         Lessons are more engaging and not just reading

 

There is no historical group to compare against as this is the first time the research has been completed. However the comparison between year groups demonstrates quite a clear distinction. Y13 Sociology ‘on paper’ is a lower starting cohort, however they have responded to the ‘flipped classroom’ in a more positive and embracing manner. The findings from the questionnaire demonstrate that Y13 found the change of teaching style clearly having an impact on the ownership they have over their own learning. Y12 students ‘on paper’ are a stronger cohort and demonstrated a lower positive rated results in regards to ownership over learning. This could be a result of transition to sixth form and adapting to the changes from KS4 to KS5, or equally on self-reflection that Y12 were not as informed about the different teaching technique and therefore struggling to reflect themselves on what flipped classroom was exactly and how it has impacted them.  I would like to continue with the current Y12 into Y13 with flipped classroom and see what impact another 12 months of this teaching style has on independent work skills and assessment outcomes. Y13 clearly have improved in terms of their own students perception, academic progress and improved essay writing which acknowledges the nuances of English language coupled with application of specific sociological skills on improved outcomes.

Continuous dialogue with students and their perception of the activities has informed the type of activities and delivery of activities throughout the school year.

If the research was to be conducted again, I would ensure the following things were put in place:

  • Have a parallel or historical group for comparison
  • Improved variety of readings for students to get more variety of responses
  • Conduct the research as part of a lesson study to improve collaborative learning as a professional
  • Speak clearly to the Y12 cohort about the purpose of the research
  • Use questionnaire feedback to inform planning and teaching.
  • Use IRIS outcomes to inform future planning and teaching for the new A Level specification

If the research was to be picked up by another researcher, S. Gunessee would suggest the following things to be put in place:

  • Exploration of questioning to improve discussion post ‘readings’
  • Increase level of stretch and challenge in the ‘readings’
  • Examine specific groups of students across a range of subjects and the impact flipped classroom has with them
  • Flipped classroom works effectively when embedded from the beginning of the academic year.

The research has been made public to the school and wider community in the following ways:

  • Findings have been disseminated to colleagues through formal and informal discussions in CPL sessions
  • Formal dissemination to the whole school and beyond via this blog!
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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Practitioner Enquiry: What impact will flipped classroom have on Y13 & Y12 students in Sociology on improved independence skills out of school and improved outcomes in school? Gunessee, S (2016)

  1. Really interesting stuff, Sunny. Eager to try this out with my sixth form Literature group as it is in line with a lot of guidance we’ve had from Edexcel about approaches to teaching.

    Like

    Posted by pmyson@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk | April 21, 2016, 12:43 pm

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