Transforming Learning. The Flipped Classroom in a FE College

Master's Thesis, 2015

84 Pages, Grade: A

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Table of Contents




1.0 Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background and Rationale
1.2 Context
1.3 Aims
1.4 Summary

2.0 Chapter Two: Literature Review
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Defining Blended Learning; The Flipped Classroom Model
2.3 Key Features and Theories
2.4 Flipping the Classroom
2.5 Transforming Classroom Cultures
2.6 Summary

3.0 Chapter Three: Methodology

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Research Aims
3.3 Action Research
3.4 Validity and Reliability of Data
3.5 Research Methods
3.5.1 Triangulation or Multimethods
3.5.2 Qualitative Methods
3.5.3 Collaborative discussions
3.5.4 Observations
3.5.5 Group Interviews
3.5.6 Questionnaires
3.6 Research Schedule
3.6.1 Pilot Study
3.7 Ethical Issues
3.8 Conduct of Research
3.8.1 Research Analysis Methods
3.9 Summary

4.0 Chapter Four: Analysis of Findings
4.1 Introduction
4.2.1 Stage 1: Teachers Attitudes; Propose and develop
4.2.2 Stage 2: Reflections of Teacher Attitudes
4.2.3 Stage 3: Student Attitudes and Issues through Observations; FS, GCSE
4.2.4 Stage 4: Student Attitudes and Issues; FS
4.2.5 Stage 5: Student Adaptation and Integration; FS, GCSE
4.2.6 Stage 6: Reflections of Students Attitudes
4.4 Summary

5.0 Chapter Five: Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary of Findings
5.3 Further discussions
5.4 Recommendations
5.5 Professional and Personal Development
5.6 Suggestions for Further Research
5.7 Dissemination



Appendix A1: Templates of all research questions, interviews

Appendix A2: Project Plan

Appendix A3: Research Permission Form

Appendix A4: Ethical Approval Form

Appendix A5: FS and GCSE Participation Form

Appendix A6: Presentation of Data Analysis 2 Examples - FSstudent questionnaire, FSteacher questionnaire

Appendix A7:

The Primary stages in adopting and implementing the flipped classroom model


illustration not visible in this excerpt

Transforming Learning: The Flipped Classroom in a FE College


Theaction research study focuses on transforming learning within an FE College in the form of blended learning through a modified flipped classroom model of teaching and learning.

The rationale was to provide future teachers with a strategy for initiating and developinga new effective approach to enhance teaching and learning through the much acclaimed flipped classroom model. Most research studies have informed us of the benefits and very few issues which have been overcome although research has never previewed the preliminary stages of real life transformation and what that entails for both teachers and students within the context of an FE college;incorporating teachers’ and students’ affordances.

The aims have been scrutinized through the available literature and the outcomes were strategically focusing on the realities of how teachers and two groups of students could adopt and integrate this form of blended learning in the context of an FE college. Through qualitative triangulation analysis of data, the key thematic findings from both groups of students were negative attitudes towards the adoption practices of the flipped classroom. However, through further analysis and interpretation, the emergent results were linked to the lack of a positive classroom culture, which upholds the significance in the value of adopting and integratinga new approach tolearning from the start of a school year, thus becoming more meaningful.

The key findings thattranspired from teachers’ perspectives were varied towards their adoption practices although through interpreting the findings the final emergent result was also linkedto the lack of a positive and supportive school culture.

The research study justified the significance of how vital apositive school and classroom culture was for teachers and students whilst transforming new teaching and learning practices. Whereby, new strategies to implementing and developing an alternate flipped classroom had transpired.


In complete gratitude I would like to acknowledge my tutor and supervisor Lyn Ashmore who had not only supported and encouraged me but who illuminated the smart pathway forward. I would like to thank my husband Peter and my son Julian for supporting me emotionally and tolerating with my perseverance. In particular I would like to thank my dear mother who continuously believed in me and my abilities, who made me laugh and my dear friends who morally supported me.

1.0 Chapter One: Introduction

This is an empirical study design to introduce, inform and develop teachers’ use of blended learning in the form of a flipped classroom model of teaching and learning in an FE college by way of validating the positive objectives. Thereby motivating and enhancing learner focus as well as appealing to diverse learning styles. The adoption process of the developed flipped classroom model underpins both intrinsic and extrinsic influences; inconsideration of both teachers’ and students’ affordancestowards its use within an FE college. The informed outcomes will be catalogued and refined into alternative approaches of applying this model successfully for ease of future applications. The research questions which I have addressed in this paper were the possible realities of practically using blended learning and the modifications applied to the flipped classroom model of teaching and learning in the midst of two teachers within an FE college. Subsequently the necessary adjustments; seen as obligatory for students’ adaptation and incorporation of this form of teaching and learning within an FE context,will be scrutinized in Chapter four and five.

1.1 Background and Rationale

Through my previous research, there have been distinct issues with teachers lacking in effectively using digital technologies in classrooms, (BESA, 2007; Burns, 2014). Karabulut (2013) argues that teachers’ lack of confidence, skills and time in using alternative software, resulted in teachers’ not taking time constrained risks.

The importance of using digital technology effectively was substantiated through a political, economic and social context whereby the issues with its use have never been appropriately addressed because of the continuous evolution and developments in digital technologies and their software, educational institutions lacking in value cultures, financial and technical support. (Zhao & Frank ,2003; Preston, 2004; OECD, 2015). The economy during the 1990’s was forceful in advocating the UK to become recognised as being the new global leader in using digital technology effectively in classrooms whilst maintaining a cutting edge. Early 2000, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair imposed the use of computers and training for staff in educational institutions across the UK however training was not as prescribed and funds were depleting, (BESA, 2015; Rossi, 2015 & Preston, 2004).

Schools were given the power to advocate financially,spend and allocate the money. The funds were delegated more often than not elsewhere and not towards the training, upkeep and support of using digital technology because of cutbacks in the public sector, (Mee, 2006). According to Silvera (2014) the ultimate barrier for teachers’ lack of using digital technologies in classrooms is the financial budget which is no longer placed as a priority however, the greatest challenge is teachers’ abilities in using technology.However, Cuban et al (2001) debates the fact that access of technology in educational institutions is not an assurance that teachers will use it.

Nevertheless, Cox and Abbott (2004) argue that there has been a gradual rise within the last twenty years of inventive and knowledgeable teachers with the abilities to use digital technology creatively and effectively by enhancing student attainment. Although their belief was in the urgency and necessity of finding a productive and competent means of helping additional teachers to master and apply effective applications of digital technology within their classrooms.

Goodwyn et al’s (2009) research report,on behalf of Becta’s review of Harnessing Technology; Next Generation Campaign (2008-2014), provided various recommendations for the impendingpolicy. These recommendations were toprimarily, acknowledge and identify the effective and passionate teachers, referred to as ICT – Digi-teachers within the workforce whose innovative practices should be adopted and shared. Although, the exact proportion of these teachers are unknown. They stress upon the importance of not only identifying these teachers but supporting them, which would lead to invaluable benefits within the educational organizations.

Becta highlights the focus not on the quantity of computers within educational institutions but the teachers who can make that difference.

Our goal is to ensure technology enables the development of a productive and ‘agile’ education and skills system, with self-improving organisations and a workforce that is confident and capable in its use of technology, (Becta 2008, p.14).

Goodwyn et al’s beliefwas to recognize that most of these Digi-teachers are ‘self taught’; they provide excellent role models for their colleagues and should have more recognition , (Goodwyn et al 2009, p. 5). The report concludes that the policy must shift in the direction of supporting and developing this expertise rather than an obsession with technology itself. On behalf of the Becta’s2008-2014 campaign, Goodwyn et al stresses the importance of becoming better informed through new research:

- Research focusing on defining expert use, rather than extensive use.
- Research producing more qualitative insights e.g. case studies of Digi-teachers.
- At least some research being more longitudinal in perspective.

(Goodwyn, 2009, p.5).

Previously, through a research study, having investigated the flipped classroom model,I examined various potential platforms and softwares for ease of use and functionality in itsapplications. Thus, my profound interest began into formulating this research study. My purpose was attempting to set an implicit interest and ease of use for this model of teaching and learning by way of enhancing teachers’ and students’ confidence and affordances towards developing an effective and positive approach towards flipped learning in an FE college. Most teachers were extremely eager and collectively supportive towards this study, which provided and enabled alternative and effective methods of application in this model.

1.2 Context

The context behind this paper is situated in an FE college in the North of England. It is one of several, located across a northern city. The college’s ideology is to be instrumental to the economic growth both at local and national levels. It offers a wide spectrum of vocational and academic courses including; Foundation courses, HE courses, Basic Skills in English and Maths, Offender programmes, ESOL as well as programmes for the unemployed, (Thornhill, 2014).

The focus of this paper is on two diverse classes; 16+ GCSE English Language and multilevel 18+FS English Levels 1 and 2. The GCSE students were multiracial however most born in the UK. The FS students were a mixed group of multiracial, unemployed some of which were in vocational programmes both UK born as well as migrants.

Having taught both groups of twenty, once a week,by Christmas the attendance plummeted to twelve GCSE students andfive to nine in the FS group. The two main teachersof these groups were equally dedicated in helping their students achieve as well as being enthusiastic and supportive of this research study. Several other teachers had a high level of interest in this form of blended learning and the particular platform used.

My ideology behind this experiential study was to not only introduce, acquaint and develop both teachers’ and students’ knowledge and applications in blended learning through an efficient and straightforward platform but to prove its ease of use and potential effectiveness in the transformation of teaching and learning.

1.3 Aims

Thereby the aims and research questions are:

- To critically interrogate the literature on the use of blended learning through the much acclaimed flipped classroom model of teaching and learning.
- To propose and develop blended learning in the form of a flipped classroom model into a further education (FE) college with the aim of validating the proposed, positive objectives i.e. motivating learners, appealing to their different learning styles and enhancing learner focus.
- To catalogue the outcomes of teachers’ use and their incorporation of this form of blended learning in classrooms as well as student use both in and out of the classroom where possible.

Research Questions

- What is the possible reality of the practical use of blended learning i.e. the flipped classroom model of teaching and learning amongst teachers in an FE college?
- How will students in an FE college adapt to the application and integration of the flipped classroom model of teaching and learning

1.4 Summary

In summary the focus on this study was to transform and enhance teaching and learning through the application of blended learning in the form of a flipped classroom model. The importance lies in the viability and the necessary modifications in the application and development of this model conducive to the context of an FE college.

The main focus in this research study was substantiated by Goodwyn et al’s report funded by Becta, stressing the importance of Digi-teachers and the significance of new research studies in transforming teachers’ and students’ affordances in effective applications of digital technology. Thus my implicit interest was to transform the approaches and applications in digital technology through a simple straightforward platform, enhancing teacher perceptions and student attainment.

This chapter has provided a detailed background and rationale behind this research study as well as an in-depth description of the context.

Chapter Two will critically interrogate the literature on the use of the flipped classroom model. The theoretical perspectives which embrace flipped learning will be substantiated through Piaget’s (1971) developmental theory, Vygotsky’s socio-constructivism (1978),Engstrom’s (1987) revised activity theory and Blooms Taxonomy (2001). Instructional differentiation and teacher/student interaction will also be reviewed. In addition, the importance of school and classroom cultures will be scrutinized.

Chapter Three strategically underpins my research aims and questions scrutinizing the chosen methodology and methods applied in this research study, including validation and reliability of data, the research schedule, pilot study, clarifyingethical issues and finally evaluating the conduct of research and identifying the approach used in analysing data.

Chapter Four illustrates the analysis of findings through a strategic sequential framework as identified from the research aims and questions including my reflections and interpretations of the outcomes.

Chapter Five summarizes an overall view of the findings providing further recommendations and contributions resulting from this research study.

2.0 Chapter Two: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

The literature review will provide clarity in defining a form of blended learning known as the flipped classroom model and what it encompasses; thereby there will be no misconceptions of the model. Subsequently the key affordances and theories substantiated by the flipped classroom model will be illuminated. Various perspectives will be interrogated,underpinning the aims as well as revealing the benefits and any issues which have been experienced and overcome. The Literature review will introduce the framework which will focuson the context of this action research studythrough subtitles.

2.2 Defining Blended Learning; the Flipped Classroom Model

Blended learning combines both online learning with prearranged multimedia resources in the form of tutorials and face-to-face learning thereby enhancing one another’s effects, (Teach thought, 2013). According to Van Roekel (2011) there is no clear definition of neither blended learning, nor are there any particular rules in blending the learning, thus any alternate approaches can be modified to suit the context and purpose.

Bergmann and Sams (2008) rationalized the existence of the flipped classroom model of learning, creating uploaded tutorials particularly for absent students. However they inadvertently discovered that the tutorials were beneficial for all the students’ reinforcement and revision. Thereby Bergmann and Sams restructured their classes to individual online learning tutorials. Thus, by transferring information out-of-class and assimilating learning in-class collaboratively, whereby learning became more meaningful. Therefore strategic learning activities were encouraged with in-class-time such as; differentiated group work, collective projects, discussions and further teacher-student interaction time, where constructive meaning takes place, (Lambert, 2912; King, 1993).

2.3 Key Features and Theories

Anderson (2012) classifies two main components of the flipped classroom model as educational technology and activity learning which enhance learning in a variety of essential ways, (p. 1), (see diagram below). When a classroom is flipped through the applications of digital technology out-of-class it provides the opportunity for strategic collaborative in-class learning activities, which promote and enhance the learning environment. Additionally the technology used influences and enhances the learning environment, thus creating a flipped cycle of learning, (Anderson, 2012)

Enhancing learning through a flipped cycle of learning:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Anderson, 2012, p.1).

According to Fraga and Harmon (2014) the flipped classroom model encompasses a variety of key learning theories,for example Piaget’s (1971); Vygotsky’s (1978) and Engestrom’s (1987) theories:

- Piaget’s (1971) Developmental theory; Learning through activities, peer learning (collaborative learning) where strategic activities will actively engage students, promoting a different focus, learning through mistakes thereby learning becomes more meaningful … hands-on learning and opportunities for discovery, students develop and learn at different stages, (Piaget, 1971; Murphy, 2015, p.1).
- Vygotsky’s (1978) Socio-constructivist theory; Learning predominates through social interactions meaning that both speaking and thinking are cognitively interconnected and students become in control of the learned material and how they choose to express it to others. Thereby the teacher guides the activity, supporting and prompting in discussions, guiding students to the following level of learning. Students become actively independent in their own learning during full participant group study, through purposeful guidance prompts known as ZPD. Also referred to as scaffolding, (Lightbown, &Spada, 2011; Mahn, 1999).
- Engestrom’s (1987) Social-cultural activity theory; Engestrom’s modified application of Vygotsky’s (1978) Soviet tradition was reformed into the Learning by Expanding Activity Theory. The theory is not unlike Vygotsky’s ZPD however students learn collectively as opposed to individual learning i.e. the effective change takes place in a collective activity system as a whole…producing new forms of activity…generating collective results, (Engestrom, 1987; Myers, 2007,p. 1).

Blooms taxonomy (2001) is a teaching and learning paradigm which upholdsand classifies the theory ofhigher and lower order cognitive thinking skills, providing more meaningful learning through an inverted form of teaching and learning, contrary to the traditional classroom format. Thereby demonstrating the focus onHOTS; application, analysis, evaluation and synthesis in-class through collaborative peer support and face-to-face teacher support. Subsequently theLOTS or cognitive work; knowledge and comprehension is prepared individually during the private study period. Thus the traditional classroom becomes inverted, (Brame, 2015; Bergmann &Sams, 2013), (As seen below). Thereby linking Piaget’s (1971); Vygotskey’s (1978) and Engestrom’s (1978) developmental and social theories effectively, through collaborative peer learning and higher order cognitive thinking skills, where learning becomes more meaningful.

Bloom’s revised taxonomy (2001).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Brame, 2015, p. 1).

Hertz (2012) claims, that the key feature of the flipped classroom is not just about uploading videos into an online platform; rather it is the meaningful collaborative activities which take place in the classroom. Adam et al, (2013) stresses the importance of well targeted, planned, clear and interesting online content which strategically aim to enhance learner focus and participation. Fraga and Harmon (2014) assert that the infrastructure of the flipped classroom is an open portal for differentiated learning, meeting the needs of multi-level learners. Their belief is that differentiated learning establishes higher order thinking skills as opposed to the traditional whole group classroom.

However, Bransford et al (1999) reported on three key features in their research on How People Learn; a scientific study of learning, which substantiates the successful applications of flipping the classroom. They emphasize that;

To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must: a) have a deep foundation of factual knowledge, b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application (p.16).

Hence, effecting the opportunities in flipped learning, students will use their newly gained knowledge whilst having immediate access to peer’s and teacher’s feedback. Enabling students’ ability to amend any misapprehensions and reorganize the newly gained knowledge for future use. Additionally the immediate feedback received within a flipped classroom aids students in recognizing and comprehending their individual emergent understandings.Bransford et al informs that a metacognitive approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them, (p.18). Some have arguedFraga and Harmon (2014) thatthe flipped classroom supports higher cognitive thinking through the strategic practice of in-class activities supported by teacher and collaborative peer interaction which can be associated with metacognition and deep learning. Students taking control of their own learning can be supported through differentiating tutorials whereby higher level students can proceed with new content, (Bransford et al 1999).

2.4 Flipping the Classroom

Various authors provide different perspectives of the flipped classroom however Fraga and Harmon argue that there is not enough empirical research on this model of teaching and learning however further studies must continue. Many websites and publications such as Tech Smith, Edmondo, Khan Academy,, Flipped Classroom Field Guide, Flip Learning and Flipping the Classroom, provide practical and useful information, online training videos, support and some free customized platforms for teachers’ applications which technically focus on the classroom learning environment and not on empirical studies, which underpins my rational for this study, (Hertz, 2012: Fraga&Harmon, 2014).

Although there are very few empirical studies,Strayer’s (2012) research of the flipped classroom model uncovered some unsettling results. The university students did not value this model of learning and found that they struggled adapting to the unfamiliar patterns. Difficulties were in finding the time to do the out-of–class work, whilst, some students were frustrated in adapting to the new environment of varied activities. However Strayer did experience wider classroom participation and students experienced a deeper and wider understanding as well as cooperative peer learning. Students believed that through helping their peers they actually learned more. Peer learning promotes student contributions to the development and advancement of each other’s work; increasing the retention levels as well as attaining a deeper and wider comprehension of the topic. Students adopt the role of teacher as well as the learner, thus develop and grow individually, (Harting et al, 2013). Some students who completed tasks quickly and easily found they could proceed with new content material whereas others who had difficulties, collaborated with their peers or sought teacher’s guidance. However, issues which needed to be targeted were students’ attitudes and adoption practices towards this model of learning. This point substantiates some of my research in the difficulties experienced in the application of flipping the classroom.

Deslauriers et al (2011) conducted an experiment with post-secondaryphysics students comparing two groups of classes. Primarily for the first eleven weeks, both were taught through interactive lectures showing no substantial differences however from the twelfth week for most of the semester one group was flipped, resulting in increased student engagement. The final quantitative results attained were 74+% in the flipped classroom and in the regular group the average was 45+% in attainment. Thus,demonstrating a significant increase in learning through this flipped model.

Whilst, Honeycott and Garrett (2014) invoked the impression that the flipped classroom was a hot topic with the belief that this model of flipping the classroom was the supreme cutting edge approach to teaching and learning, whilst others viewed this model as a fad simply running its course, (Pedigroo, 2012; Schumann, 2014; Hertz, 2012 and Wheeler, 2012). Therefore,Straumsheim (2013) had reported on an article written in the US, indicated that researchers of a flipped classroom experiment had failed and had no added value to teaching and learning outcomes and that it was simply a trend. He continued in revealing that the students who were involved in this research study had a substantial workload and teachers were spending significantly more time in producing the online multimedia resources. In response to Straumsheim’s report, Bergmann and Sams (2013),strongadvocates for the flipped classroom model,arguedthat this report, in terms of the research study out of Harvard Mudd was highly irregular andimplied that most educational institutions who had implemented this model had achieved positive and effective results, (p. 1).

Waterworth (2014) implicitly informed that through a trial of flipping the classroom his math class had encountered an Ofsted official, who commented on how the class was actively tackling specific problems at alternate stages of comprehension because they had previously worked through a flipped tutorial, thus the difficulties were brought back into the class and the teacher was able to question the learned knowledge . An innovative use of e-tablets when learning about mathematics enabled pupils to make outstanding progress, (Ofsted, 2014, cited in Waterworth, 2014, p.1).

Walsh(2014) discovered particular issues teachers had experienced whilst flipping their classrooms as many students from deprived socio-economic backgrounds had difficulties accessing content. However, teachers ensuredareas where students could access content throughout the course of the day. Walsh acknowledged that problematic students did not access the content; in turn teachers placed these students at the back of the class during the activities, discovering that soon the numbers of students decreased. His belief was that students needed to masterbecoming responsible individuals and teachersneeded to strive and take the no excuses approach, (Walsh, 2014, p.1). Further, teachers and students must completely recognize and understand the expectations, with the aims of embracingthis model of teaching and learning with confidence and ease.

2.5 Transforming Classroom Cultures

School and classroom cultures are imperative in transforming the teaching and learning environment; the beliefs, traditions and practices of administrators, students and teachers in the use of multimedia technology through a conceptual change within that learning environment. To create a value culture, school administrators need to commit and support the collaborative vision to achieve the transformation thus any policy changes or modifications are critical to the reality of the effectual school and classroom cultures, (Chamberlain et al 2013).

According to Carter (2013) the primary stage of transforming the class culture in a flipped classroom is for students to completely recognize and comprehend the fundamental framework of what will actually occur in and out of the classroom and the teacher/student expectations. However, Huneycutt (2013) stresses that the most difficult thing to do is transform the classroom culture whereby both teacher and student require an entire role transferal when attempting to apply the flipped classroom model. Teachers become the interactive guide and supporter as opposed to being the lecturer and the students become responsible for accessing content out-of-class and back in-class equipped with newly gained knowledge; prepared to share and work collaboratively with their peers. Though, this transformation may take a period of time to get accustomed to however, Huneycuttsuggested that this transformation totally regenerates the teaching and learning process, resulting in more meaningful learning and enhanced student outcomes. And that;

…such a transformation – from teaching a regular classroom to a flipped classroom – is a personal journey, and teachers who begin that voyage need as much help as they can possibly get. Teachers need time for planning and preparing lessons, collaborative partners for extra help, support for professional reflection, administrative support, resources to flip their classroom effectively, and – perhaps most importantly - ongoing professional support/coaching, (p. 1).

Additionally, Muilenburg (2013) asserts that class cultures need to change, where students do not complete assigned homework and argued that new class cultures must be established with respect to students completing online tasks within the environment; stressing the importance of doing so when the classroom is flipped. Although, some disciplinary measures may have to be introduced until students become accustomed to the new structures of flipped learning and taking responsibility for their learning.

2.6 Summary

In Summary, the theories and varied perspectives in the applications of the flipped classroom have been strategically analysedas well as the value of positive school and class cultures which are necessary in underpinning this model of teaching and learning. In reference to the literature; indicates that adopting flipped learning can be a valuable, worthwhile experience, both for teachers and students.

Chapter three offers a clear understanding of the techniques applied which have enhanced the validity and reliability of the research study. A well-defined outline will be provided in the sequential stages of the research and a distinct description of the methods used will also be validated as well as how the data was analysed.

3.0 Chapter Three: Methodology

3.1 Introduction

The chapter commences with reaffirming the aims of my action research study as well as underpinning my research questions for the purpose of perspicuity as well as identify and examine the methodological approaches used in the study, substantiated through theoretical perspectives, underpinning the choices for the action research. Consequently the reliability and validity of data will be scrutinized subsequently; the research schedule, pilot study as well as the advantages and disadvantages of action research will be examined. Ethical issues and an evaluation to the conduct of research will be explored. Ultimately the research analysis methods will be determined.

3.2 Research Aims

The main emphasis of my aims were intended for the purpose of not only informing and developing teachers and learners applications in blended learning through the use of the flipped classroom modelbut toadopta more practical resolution to the model specifically in context to an FE college. Thus, the aims are:

- To critically interrogate the literature on the use of blended learning through the much acclaimed flipped classroom model of teaching and learning; which has been scrutinized in Chapter Two.

- To propose and develop blended learning in the form of a flipped classroom model into a further education (FE) college with the aim of validating the proposed, positive objectives i.e. motivating learners, appealing to their different learning styles and enhancing learner focus.

- To catalogue the outcomes of teachers’ use and their incorporation of this form of blended learning in classrooms as well as student use both in and out of the classroom where possible.

It is important to restate my research questions which validate and illustrate the possible challengesand issues which have occurred during this research study, both with teachers and students.

- What is the possible reality of the practical use of blended learning i.e. the flipped classroom model of teaching and learning amongst teachers in an FE college?

- How will students in an FE college adapt to the application and integration of the flipped classroom model of teaching and learning?

3.3 Action Research

The systemic and participatory process of action research was the framework selected for the purpose of developing and improving pragmatic knowledge through human resolutions which became more meaningful within the professional practice, (Ison, 2008; Reason & Bradbury 2001). Thereby the significancebecomes apparent through acyclic process of combining reflection, planning action and enquiry by means of theory and practice, (Costello, 2003).

According to Zhao and Franks (2003) educational institutions predominately and characteristically resist change, particularly when the pressure is based on their practices. Therefore it was extremely important to investigate and illuminate all the challenges and barriers throughout the research study within the context of an FE college whilst reflecting, revising the plan, acting and observing. O’Leary’s (2004) action research cycle provides an example of a cyclic process that develops and transpires as knowledge emerges, (Koshy, 2005), (As can be seen below).

O’Leary’s Action Research Cycle, 2004.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Koshy, 2005, p. 8)

His belief was that cycles converge towards better situation understanding and improved action implementation and are based in evaluative practice that alters between action and critical reflection, (O’Leary, 2004 as cited in Koshy, 2005, p. 6). O’Leary’s views are that action research is an experiential learning approach which changes, thereby the goal is achieved by constantly refining the methods used, and understanding each cycle of development and its interpretation. In view of O’Leary’s experiential approach,this study applied constant and continual changes through critically reflecting and collaborating with teachers and students throughout the various cycles of research and development in achieving the goal. As a result new insights were generated into the adaptation, development and integration of an alternative form of the flipped classroom model which was more purposeful incontext to the FE college,underpinning McNiff’s (2002) rhetorical statement …change the practice in light of the evaluation, (p. 12).

Even though the key to action research is to facilitate change in participation and collaboration, Denscombe (2014);Koshy (2005) and Waters-Adams (2006)point out that there are variousadvantages and disadvantages to action research:


- Participation: This involves the practitioners as well as the researcher, which could be a handicap in the development of the research process however more often than not the practitioners’ knowledge is well appreciated and respected.
- Professional development : Action research creates personal professional benefits for the practitioner.
- Practical: Addressing pragmatic problems positively, whereby the research results in improving the teaching and learning practices.
- Continuous : Should be a prolonged continuous cycle within the workplace with the aim of “improving and resolving problems”.
- Scope and Scale : The degree of the generalizations which are concluded from the heart of the resultsthrough the practitioner is , “limiting the scope and scale of research” and seldom contributes to wider acumens.
- Control : The control over the action research isrestricted in the viability i.e. the accuracy and reliability of the controlled measures and their uses.
- Impartiality : There is an unavoidable bias in the researcher’s analysis throughout the research process, depending on the various principles and values which underpin the researcher’s perspectives.
- Collaborative work : Working collaboratively with the practitioner is essential as much as it can be difficult within the context of the research study.

(Denscombe, 2014, p.129).

However despite the limitations, the participative nature of action research lends further support to the selection of this paradigm and to frame the study.

3.4 Validity and Reliability of Data

The validity and reliability of data was relative to the research questions, underpinning the aims. According to Pierce (2008) …t he data from which answers to the research questions are to be drawn must be appropriate in terms of its relevance and efficacy, (Pierce, 2008, p. 80). Thereby it was imperative to interrogate the literature on flipped learning to understand the context,in this research study. As Eikeland, (2006) infers that social research centres from past perspectives, ensure that the assessment is relevant in its validity. Although, Denscombe (2014) argues that it is impossible to replicate identicalproblems withidentical solutions.However, my findings were comparably linked although not identical.

To enhance the validity and reliability, triangulation was employed through discussions, interviews, observations and questionnaires thereby various themes prevailed, from dominance of methods, (Denscombe, 2007; Koshy, 2005). According to Cohen (2007) validity and reliability in research should be; holistic, descriptive, concerning the process rather than outcomes. Thus, substantiating my intentions in the methods of application.

Collaborative discussions were employed to comprehend and understand teachers’ perspectives in the context of an FE college; where experiences, needs and attitudes were verified.The GCSE teacher’s disinterest prompted further discussions, disclosing more truthful and honest opinions; emanating the root of her problem. Thus reflection was exercised in planning further development, (Shenton, 2004).

Although, questionnaires were appropriately and accordingly formulated, some students found difficulties answering truthfully and completely as a consequence of; disinterest, attitude, concentration, tiredness and low level knowledge in writing skills, (questions required simple answers). Denscombe (2014) infers that it takes mental effort to participate in questionnaires.

However interviews were more meaningful, providing robust insights. Students were at ease and more confident through peer interactions; inspiring each other to express more openly and honestly, (Koshy, 2005).

The non-participant observations were viewed as a direct experience of students’ affordances and actions towards using the online platform in-class. The relevance of interactions were necessary not to be interpreted within the context of my expectations but were imperative inunderpinning the concurrent holistic theme, (Cohen, 2007; Denscombe, 2014 &Koshy 2005).

AsDenscombe and Pierce inferred that qualitative research is not verifiable and is a hypothetical analysis of the inherent thematic findings however by use of triangulation, itheightens the reliability and dependability of the interpretation, (Zohrabi, 2013).

3.5 Research Methods

The research methods applied in this research studyare discussed through the validity and reliability of qualitative, interpretivistic paradigms commonly dependent on naturalistic research that is the nature of knowing and reality. The ideology behind interpretivism is to gain knowledge from within the individual whereby the external form and framework is challenged through the reflections of the individual’s viewpoint, (Cohen et al 2007, p. 29). Thereby justifying my concerns of both teachers’ and students’ perceptions in the use of the flipped classroom model.

3.5.1 Triangulation or Multimethods

The rationale behind the applications of using Triangulation or multimethodsin this research study was to obtain a wide variety of perspectives as opposed to one specific method and perspective, (Cohen et al 2007). According to Denscombe (2014) the multimethods approach is beneficial with reference to the value and extensiveness of the data produced; one method informing the following method of research. The philosophical link or notion of triangulation or mixed methods approach is pragmatism. Pragmatism, according to Denscombe (2010) underpins the triangulation approach; offering practical possibilities to the enquiry… knowledge is based on practical outcomes and what works, (p. 148). In addition Denscombe (2008) adds …the mixed methods …produce a more complete picture by combining information from complementary kinds of data or sources, (p. 6). Thus underpinning both teacher and students affordances towards the research study and devising a positive plan for future use, of what works within the context of the research study.

3.5.2 Qualitative Methods

QL embeds the paradigm of providing insights into the interpretations of sentiments towards the challenging source, through explorations in questionnaires, interviews i.e. open questions, descriptions, observations, collaborative discussions and transcripts for analysis, (Koshy,2005; Cohen et al 2014). According to Dawson (2013); Briggs and Coleman, (2007) QL encompasses the fundamental experience, the problems and the affordances towards the research source, focusing on individual interpretations in a social context of a particular culture, as is seen within the context of an FE college.Dana and Yendol-Hopppey (2009) imply that QL is murky, messy and creative although they concur that teacher-based questions often are in the pursuance of comprehending a process of development, ( p. 118). Lincoln and Guba (1985) prefer to redefine reliability in QL as credibility, neutrality, confirmability, dependability, consistency, applicability, trustworthiness and transferability and particularly in dependability, (cited in Cohen et al 2007, p. 148). The qualitative methods applied in this research study were; collaborative discussions, observations, interviews and questionnaires. The importance of this study was based on these insights with the aims of enhancing teaching and learning through a form of blended learning applicable within the context of an FE college.

In addition the research study should have carried out quantitative analysis, through a quiz applied in the tutorial and the evaluation produced through an app called flubaroo added onto the Google forms (which calculates results in various chart forms). Although there were issues with students in actual adoption and participation thereby no quantitative analyses were undertaken.

3.5.3 Collaborative discussions

Collaborative teacher discussions were employedto discover insights into teacher attitudes and perspectives, students’ backgrounds and attitudes towards education. Since action research is a model viewed as a philosophical, conceptual, cultural and a social framework incorporating various inquiries, it was essential to engage in collaborative discussions with the teachers involved, who can be viewed as educational agents of reform, (Onwuegbuzie and Dickinson, 2006).

3.5.4 Observations

According to Denscombe (2014), observing student actions in their participation or lack of, is useful in qualitative data collecting. His belief was that observations provide an efficient means of collecting data equipped for analysis in a short span of time. The disadvantage being that the focus is on the behaviour and the events and not the reasoning behind these actions. Observations were carried out with the FS students only.

3.5.5 Group Interviews

Semistructeredgroup interviews were introduced to both groups of learnerswith the intention to pragmatically benefit reticent students and that a variety of views could be encompassed in a wider spectrum towards the research study, (Denscombe, 2014). In relevance to McKenzie’s (2007) views, interviews collate information on individual’s opinions, beliefs, attitudes, meanings, experience and feelings in relation to gaining an insight into the inquiry of the research study… itswhat makes them tick, (McKenzie, 2007, p. 1).

3.5.6 Questionnaires

Questionnaires were applied only to the FS group with the view of investigating students’ opinions, beliefs, preferences and views with the aim of revealing alternative information to analyse, evaluate and make judgements as opposed to simply reporting facts, (Denscombe, 2010). The questionnaires in this research study were intended to strategically acknowledge students’ and teachers’ thoughts, feelings and preferences in regards towards the study and any further recommendations forimprovement in the practicality and suitability of future uses towards the flipped classroom in an FE college.

(Examples in Appendix A1).

3.6 Research Schedule

The plan of action was to collaboratively discuss with the teachers involved in this research study to develop a new approach to teaching and learning, aiming to raise interest levels with the importance of effectively using digital technology by blending the learning on a simple straightforward platform in the form of a flipped classroom. The discussions wouldnot onlyconsist of flipping the classroom but to discover a means of adapting and integratingan alternative model which would suit both teachers and students in theFE college.This would occur during the months of January through March. Subsequently students would be introduced to the research study and between the months of February through May whereby both interviews and questionnaires would take place.Within the first four weeks a group interview would be conducted to view students’ opinions and share their thoughts on any positive or negative factors and through reflection;how I could revise the plan. During which time observations would be conducted to view students’ management and understanding inindividually using the platform.In May both groups were to fill out a questionnaire,about any difficulties encountered or positive aspects in the use of this platform. Finally, teachers will have answered strategic questionnaires in regards to the study, and their perspectives towards it, (See Appendix A2).

3.6.1 Pilot Study

Polit, Beck and Hungler (2001; in Simon,2011, p. 1) pointed out… a pilot study is a small scaleversionor a trial run of a major study. Therefore, since I had spent a very short period of time with the FS students, I conducted a trial of their understanding of FS language skills for the reason being that it was imperative for the students to have a basic understanding of the language which would be applied in the tutorials, interviews and questionnaires.

The pilot study consisted of audio videos I had composed with a few online tasks in a tutorial for the FS students whereby I discovered that no one participated apart from one student. At the end of the tutorial, there was a section where students could outline their difficulties and submit any questions. I received the email once it was submitted, recognising that students were at a basic level of English. I received one comment from a student who stated that they could not understand and would I use a much simpler form of English. It became clear that the students were at a much lower level of English than would be considered for FS. Very carefully I reworded the tutorials, interviews and questionnaires as simply as possible for this group of learners.

It was vital that all wording applied was suitable and comprehensible for this group of students. In keeping to what Baker (1994) specified, in the significance for demonstrating or experimenting with a specific research instrument is to provide clarity and understanding, (Teijlingen& Hundley, 2001).

(An example of the sampling alongside further lessons used in the research study can be seen via the link;

3.7 Ethical Issues

Koshy (2005) confirms that ethical issues present the most important element to an action research study. According to BERA (2011); Denscombe (2014) all researchers are expected to approach their task in an ethical manner, (Denscombe, 2014, p.306).

Primarily I obtained permission for my research topic, through a brief proposal with the deputy head of the department prior to the start of the research study, followed by an ethical permission including my proposed actions, objectives, who was involved and the location. It included any possible issues and how I would overcome them as well as any health and safety risks to myself or the students. Denscombe (2014) confirms the importance of receiving approval from an ethics committee prior to the research study using suitable measures safeguarding the individual’s interests. Some of the possible issues were; hazardous technological equipment (which were regulated by the college technicians and checked by me, ensuring safety). Ensuring that the vocabulary applied in the research study would be suitable, clear and coherent for the level of the student participating. (Permission formseen in Appendix A3 andEthical Permission form seen in Appendix A4).

Prior to students inreceivingstraightforward participation forms, I had explained clearly and thoroughly the intention of the research study, advising all students that it was not obligatory to participate. They simply had to tick an appropriate box, sign and date.

According to the Wiley-BJET seminar (2014) on the BERA platform, the importance of New technologies and ethics in educational research informs us of the importance of anonymity and discretion in the procedures of individuals in a fast paced technological evolution which moves quicker than some of the ethical learning analytics, (p.1). Thus I assured both the administrators, teachers and students of complete privacy between the researcher/teacher and the students whereby no-one from public domains could enter to view or abuse any of the online content, nor would it be shared, (BERA, 2014).

3.8 Conduct of Research

Collaborative teacher discussions were negotiated whereby the possible approaches for the research study were discussed amongst both the GCSE and FS teachers within the context of the college.Although the FS teacher was far more enthusiasticin consideration of the potential in the use of the flipped classroom, the GCSE teacher invariably had a low interest level because of the constricted schedule due to exams however she had some positive feedback.Various issues (which will be discussed in Chapter Four) became of particular concern prior to the onset of the inquiry, thus through collaborative discussions and reflection, a plan of action had begun with the aim of initiating the integration of an alternate form of the flipped classroom model within the FE college. Whereby, the out-of-class work was organized at the start of the session, as an in-class alternative flipped for the FS group in view of their sessions being undertaken in a computer room; particularly beneficial for the research inquiry.

However this was not possible to organize with the GCSE group because computers were not available, nor was the teacher able toneither provide nor access them. Therefore the flipped classroom became another alternative, where students would use the online platform as a reference and revision guide throughout the topic under study. Prior to the commencement of the study, both 16+ GCSE students and the 18+ FS students were not only informed and instructed in the plan of action but were notified of their ethical decisions in their participation, (as discussed in the ethical segment of the paper). The GCSE group consisted of an average of nine to twelve students and the FS group consisted of an average of five to nine students during this research study.

Observations were carried out with the FS group however, strong issues became apparent.Whilst the GCSE group were required to constantly refer to the online platform as a reference guide throughout various in and out-of-class tasks, through the use of I-phones, smart phones and home computers, difficulties and issues had also strongly arisen, which will be discussed in Chapter Four.

Consequently after a period of four weeks, group interviews were instigated withthe FS group, gaining an insight into student perspectives thereby attempting to discover conceptual causes and effects of why we were having these issues.The GCSE group completed the interview later in the research study because of their various assessments, the time constraint and the lack of participation as will be discussed further in Chapter Four. Through further teacher and student collaborative discussionsthe experiments continued although were unsuccessful in the individual use of the flipped classroom during this period of time. However, positive results through this study had occurred and had been acknowledged for its future uses.

Subsequently questionnaires were administered to the FS groups, and the GCSE students now contributed opinions through interviews;strategically challenging the students with the aim of trying to recognize and comprehend students’ attitudes, feelings and perspectives towards the challenge of the inquiry for further reflection in the improvement and suitability of adapting blended learning in an FE college. Questionnaires were also allotted to both teachers with the view of understanding how they felt and their views in regards to the research inquiry, its benefits and its possibilities for their future uses within the FE college.

3.8.1 Research Analysis Methods

Thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative data gathered. According Kuttner and Threlkeld (2008), thematic analysis is the simplest form of analysing research data which is categorised according to the responses whereby researchers can view the pattern and the development of the theme. According to Blodgett (2010, p.10), The themes emerging from the data are not imposed by the researcher, but are inherent in the data itself. Her belief is that the data produced from diverse groups of people are compared and contrasted identifying issues which may be interconnected with one another producing one main concurrent theme or a variety of alternate themes. The responses gathered from all my groups of students through observations, interviews and questionnaires predominantly produced one main theme whereby all students in both groups had issues in adopting, integrating and participating in the use of this form of blended learning due to negative attitudes. The collaborative discussions and questionnaires presented to the teachers provided two varied themes on future adaptation and integration ofthe flipped classroom model. These thematic issues through teachers and students responses have provided clarity and through interpretation revealed one key theme providing new avenues for future uses of adopting and integrating this alternate model of teaching and learning, (Denscombe, 2007).

(Data analysis is seen in Appendix A5).

3.9 Summary

The methodology has been identified as a systemic, participatory action research study through athematic qualitative analysis, including advantages and disadvantages.The thematic research analysis provided myself and the teachers involved with a new wider outlook on positive future avenues in the applications of flipped learning.

Philosophies and theories have been scrutinized as well as the research schedule. Subsequently,the importance of ethical issues and conduct of research illuminated the various thematic issues under consideration for further action plans. Thereby, revealing new possible ideological avenues in productive, effective and positive methods of implementation for future use, which will be fully examined in the next chapter through the developments and interpretation underpinned by the methods.

4.0 Chapter Four: Analysis of Findings and Discussion

4.1 Introduction

Various themes regarding the use of flipped classroom learning emerged from the data. The thematic analysis will bediscussed in a sequential,strategic frameworkas they are identified from the research aims and research questions, including my reflections of teachers’ and students’ issues and attitudes towards this model of blended learning.

The summary will provide the key findings in relevance to the research aims and questions as well as how the thematic issues have aided in the positive findings of adaptinga new framework for future teacher and student applications ofthe flipped classroom model, underpinning the interrogated literature.

Concurrent Themes Identified as:

- Students’ Attitudes
- Teachers’ Attitudes
- School and Classroom Cultures

4.2 Framework

The thematic analysis will take place in stages.

- Stage 1: Teacher Attitudes; Propose and develop
- Stage 2: Reflections of teacher Experience
- Stage 3: Student Attitudes and Issues; Observations
- Stage 4: Student attitudes and Issues; Interview - FS
- Stage 5: Students Adaptation and Integration; Interview - GCSE, Questionnaire - FS
- Stage 6: Reflections of Student Experience

4.2.1 Stage 1: Teachers’ Attitudes; Propose and develop

Through primary collaborative teacher discussions, particularly with the FS teacher who had previously been deliberating with her colleagues in regards to the need for a new effective approach in teaching and learning, thus my proposal for a new method of blended learning through the flipped model became extremely appealing for these teachers. The following statement from the FS teacher was an illuminative positive step forward.

On first hearing about the flipped classroom I was excited about the idea because I thought it would be an opportunity for learners to become more independent and take control of their own learning. It would also be an opportunity for those who miss a session to catch up on work in their own time and it would minimise preparation time and use of paper based resources.

My dilemma prior to start of this research project washow the students were going to adapt to working out-side the classroom whereby through previous experience, students from diverse socio economic and multicultural backgrounds had issues in completing homework from paper-based content. Thereby through collaborative discussions with the FS teacher; a new alternative flipped classroom was devised.

Since we have computers in our classroom, why don’t we have the students do the out-of class work in-class at the start of a session on the computers where they can each go through the online tutorials individually.

Thus the alternative flipped classroom became the new approach in effectively using digital technology as a learning tool. In Chapter Three, Walsh (2014) underpins that students from deprived socio economic backgrounds have problems in accessing the content whereby he overcame this issue by creating labs for students, where the out-of-class work, were completed in-class or during school hours.

As previously described in Chapter One the content was uploaded into a versatile, simple and straightforward platform where numerous teachers commented.

…this is a fantastic idea…can you show me how it works…What is it called again…I have been looking for something like this…it is so clear and easy to use.

These are just a few positive reactions I encountered throughout the research study whilst in the staff room; in regards to the platform employed and the alternative flipped classroom ideology.

The FS teacher immediately adopted the platform for her other groups of students, soon after the research study began.

This is great, I’m going to use this with my other classes… it certainly reduces paper content and students who have missed classes will have to take responsibility in going on the platform to catch up.

The GCSE teacher had mixed reactions in the application or alternative application of the flipped classroom model.

…it’s sounds like a good idea in theory but teaching compulsory English , I am sceptical that the students would engage enough for it to work…I think it would work outside of the classroom because it is essential to cover the syllabus in the limited time… Students with mental health problems may benefit from being able to access materials remotely.

Her attitude was not completely positive although she did have a time consuming schedule to complete with her groups. During the start of the research study the GCSE teacher had never had the time to be shown the mechanics of the platform and finally towards the end of the research, weeks later I finally managed to convince her just to experience the ease of use. She lacked in confidence and was quite fearful of learning new softwarethrough the lack of time. As the GSCE teacher pointed out quite clearly;

I want to remember it, I would need a hard copy manual and time to practice.

She also added…

Prep time will be massively limited next academic year. It is a great idea, but finding the time to implement it may be difficult.

As Karabulut (2013) confirms from Chapter One, that teachers who lack in confidence, time and skills do not take risks in their constrained schedules.

4.2.2 Stage 2: Reflections of Teachers’ Attitudes

The research study revealed that both teachers within one institution had completely differed in their skills, knowledge and attitudes towards using a form of digital technology. In comparison the FS teacher was far more skilled in using new software and had encompassed a more positive perspective towards its applications than the GCSE teacher. Some teachers are affected by the lack of administrative support,which have the influence and ability to reshape how their staff think and feel with the aims of making the environment productive and harmonious. Thus a positive value culture is imperative for teachers to acquire the support they need in using new digital technologies, (Peterson & Deal, 1998). It appeared within this college that there was a lack of a positive value culture amongst the administration and staff.The entire year was spent on restructuring the college and administrative leaders were rarely seen.Underpinning Chamberlain et al’s belief (2013) in Chapter Two; it is imperative for the administration to work collaboratively in support of a new ideology with the intentions of achieving the transformation which are vital to an effectual school culture.

What appears to outsiders as a straightforward improvement can…be felt as undesirably disruptive if it means that the culture must change its values and habits to implement it, (Hodas 1993, p.3).

According to Zhao and Franks (2003) teachers’ attitudes and expertise in digital technology is fundamental in their use, thereby teachers must uphold positive attitudes or it becomes an uncertainty whether they will actually use it.

However the FS teacher’s belief according to the school culture was;

… issues within the organizations e.g. funding restraints therefore organizations cannot provide up-to-date technology or enable students to use the technology they are familiar with in the classroom…equally there should be a value driven culture…

Therefore many of the issues stem from funding and the lack of value cultures within the organizations. As Silvera (2014) inferred in Chapter One that the definitive barrier for teachers’ not using digital applications in the classroom was funding, it was no longer a priority within the educational organizations, although the greatest challenge was and still is teacher competence in effectively using it.

4.2.3 Stage 3: Student Attitudes and Issues through Observations

FS Group

The findings through observations from the start of the research study were that all learners appeared to be quite positive towards the ideology behind this form of blended learning.However various issues were noted as well as the lack of earphones for use with online in-class work; lack of technical support.

My field notes from observations were consistently similar throughout the research study with this group;

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The class teacher couldn’t control students’ attendance and it seemed almost continually that we were trying to register and sign in students onto the website once they could log into the computer. Administration and technical assistance was practically non-existent.

I continued with further tutorials for students to use for revision purposes which were differentiated for both the FS level 1 and level 2 students, (as seen in Chapter Three; Pilot Study in Utube format). Although only one student had spent a substantial amount of time accessing the content. When students enter the platform the teacher automatically can view the amount of time which was spent on the tutorial.

Their main teacher supported my mission

…I want all students to go on the Sophia platform and revise, during the holidays, you can listen to the audio powerpoints which you had in class and practice with some further exercises, try and spend some time on it so you can pass the exams

GCSE Group

The GCSE students were similar in attitudes as were in the FS class. Everyone supported the idea primarily, although because of the lack of computers in the classroom and the time constraint, it was impossible to arrange labs for students. The GCSE teachers’ attitude was more concerned with getting students through the content. However, whilst teaching this class once a week, I had arranged particular tutorials for their creative writing sessions which were specifically for referencing and revising both in and out of class; nevertheless only two students actually did so. Student justifications were:

- My phone, can’t do it on my phone
- Will go to the library after and signin
- I’ll do it at home

Thus negative attitudes to new ideas and approaches predominantly prevented students in participating in new tasks because it gave them even more work. As the GCSE teacher commented;

Your average disengaged 16-19 year old may not use it properly.

In Chapter Two, Carter (2013) identified the importance of students to completely understand the essential framework of the flipped classroom and what the expectations are.

4.2.4 Stage 4: Student Attitudes and Issues; FS

The interview provided me with an insight into a continuous theme from the FS students, whereby my reflections can be viewed in Reflections of Students.

FS Students’ Comments (field notes)

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The GCSE Students’ interview was carried out during the period of time when the FS students’ answered their final questionnaire for the reason that the GCSE students were preoccupied with assessments and exam preparations and their teacher with all due respectwished it so, due to the time constraint.

4.2.5 Stage 5: Student Adaptation and Integration; FS, GCSE

The final stage consisted of discovering what the overall thoughts were in regards to the using the online platform, how did they feel they could improve it and what would make the difference for students to use it. These were the accounts of both groups of students which were illuminating. This final stage was carried out in the form of a questionnaire for the FS group and a group interview with the GCSE group, (as seen in Appendix A6).

FS students were asked a number of questions:

Why did you not go on the platform?

- Too tired, too lazy

- I don’t know - confidence

- No time; family, children, work

- Don’t have a quiet place

- Eye problems

- Time factor

- It’s too difficult to log in

- I forgot, didn’t attend lessons

Do you think it was useful?

- All replied Yes

- Yes, I thought this was a good platform to use whilst at home, but just didn’t find the time with work and childcare at home

How could you make it better or more interesting?

- Work on it more in (Lesson)

- It will help me in the future

- Work on it more practice

Upon completion it became quite obvious, through analysing and evaluating these responses, I could clearly appreciatethat students were struggling to accept a new approach anda new behavioural norm,part way through the year, resultant from their diverse social and cultural backgrounds. However studentssurmised that they preferred participating with the online work, in-class whilst gaining teachers’ guidance and support.

FS teacher’s belief was that;

There are socio-economic issues that impact. Learners in a Fe college come from diverse cultural backgrounds and socialisation and these individuals are literally thrown into a social setting where they are expected to behave differently – this is problematic because of the dynamics of cultures based on social conditioning and perhaps even gender roles and stereotypes.

Additionally she stated;

In my opinion these learners did not engage with the flipped style of learning because some of them are not comfortable in using computers and it is not a style of learning they are familiar with. I think some of them would possibly have engaged with the idea if it was introduced at the beginning of the year. The in class alternative was a good idea but as you mentioned there were challenges with passwords etc.

She further added;

This type of learning would perhaps be more effective if learners are introduced to it during their first week of college/school etc. That way, they are aware that the onus is on them to access the information and help them take ownership of their learning.

(Teacher quotes are directly from questionnaires or collaborative discussions).

GCSE Students; Field notes from interview

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The GCSE teacher commented;

It wasn’t a system they were used to, but could be better possibly if run from the start of the year. It is difficult to change the culture of compulsory classes, but efforts were made.

4.2.6 Stage 6: Reflections of Students Attitudes

My reflections incorporate both groups of students’ perspectives from questionnaires and interviews. Upon having evaluated the data, the main thematic trend was illuminated.

Both groups of learners were extremely alike in their attitudes towards the participation in new approaches to learning. Most lacked in confidence to try something new, on account of not being part of their norms thus it was not essential nor was it necessary to them. However both groups felt that it was extremely useful and a positive approach in theory although they felt that it would only become significant if it was introduced at the start of the school year.

Thus the main thematic trend through interpretation was the lack of a positive classroom culture. Most classroom cultures are instilled at the onset of the school year whereby students can recognize the importance of a new approach as an integral part of the curriculum. According to Lucas (2013) it is imperative to lay out the rules, expectations and norms by developing them from the first day of class, aiming for students to understand exactly what is expected of them. Subsequently providing encouragement, support, guidance and information, (Carter, 2013; Decelles-zwerneman, 2015).

4.3 Interrogation of Literature and Validation of the Flipped Classroom

In relation to the first two aims it was imperative to define, evaluate and ascertain the overall perspectives as viewed through various authors and researchers with the aims of recognizing and understanding blended learning and the flipped classroom model, including the benefits and any issues teachers and students had experienced. This was an integral part for this research study prior to the introduction, integration and development of this model of teaching and learning.

Critical interrogation of literature is essential in evaluating and discovering the arguments, validity, credibility and the logic behind the use of the flipped classroom model. It contributed to the concepts and the categorised themes of the research study, (Gilroy,2013). In reflection, through analysing the literature, it provided me with an effective overall view of the flipped classroom. Subsequently it offered the key affordances and theories substantiated through the flipped classroom model in validating the positive objectives; differentiation, motivation, appealing to various learning styles, enhancing learner focus, and making learning more meaningful.

Van Roekel (2011) had clarified the definition of blending learning and that there are no set or specific rules in its adoption practices. Thus any variations of the flipped classroom are validated through an alternative framework specifically set in the context of an FE college.

It was important to understand, according to Goodwyn et al(2005) in Chapter One, that there is a strong need for further longitudinal research ensuring the aims of becoming better acquainted in the various procedures and approaches of the integration and development of the flipped classroom. Their strong belief was that technically savvy teachers should be identified and supported as an invaluable benefit to the educational organizations. Who should be encouraged to share and support their colleagues.

The varied perspectives had given me a wider insight into the possible issues and the proven benefits of the flipped classroom. The benefits according to Bergmann and Sams (2008) and Ofsted (2014) had substantiated that most teachers and educational organizations both experienced positive and effective results in flipping the classroom.

Bergmann and Sams (2008); Strayer (2012); Deslauriers et al (2014); Waterworth (2014) and Honeycott and Garrett (2014) substantiated the benefits through research which are listed below from Chapter 2; Flipping the Classroom:

- Through collaborative peer and group work learning became more meaningful enhancing student learning abilities in retention and understanding.
- Students became more focused and motivated.
- Students had wider classroom participation.
- Students attained a deeper and wider comprehension of the topic.
- Students adopted the role of teacher as well as student, contributing to personal growth, development and advancement in one another’s work.
- Students achieved higher assessment attainments.
- Students gained the abilities to work individually and collaboratively in varied levels of learning.

According to Strayer (2012);Straumsheim (2013) and Walsh (2014), various barriers and issues were revealed through empirical research studies:

- Students did not value the flipped classroom model.
- Students struggled in adapting to unfamiliar patterns and the new environment of varied group activities.
- Students had difficulty in finding time for the out-of-class work with a substantial workload.
- The flipped classroom had no added value and was simply a trend.
- Teachers were spending more time in producing online resources.
- Students from socio-economic backgrounds had difficulties accessing content.
- Some students were not participating thereby not accessing the content.

These issues underpin my research questions;

- What is the possible reality of the practical use of blended learning i.e. the flipped classroom model of teaching and learning amongst teachers in an FE college?

- How will students in an FE college adapt to the application and integration of the flipped classroom model of teaching and learning?

4.4 Summary

In summary the key findings had emerged through the concurrent themes identified as students’ attitudes due to socio-economic and socio-cultural backgrounds, teachers’ attitudes due to lack of knowledge, skills and confidence and the main emergent theme was identified as the lack of school and classroom cultures. Positive supportive cultures can effectually turn fear, lack of confidence and general negativity into supportive environments. The literature had provided me with the background to possible issues and how they were overcome in other educational institutions.

The data from both groups of students provided similar responses. The teachers involved had alternate perspectives towards the flipped classroom and were dissimilar in their knowledge and skills in digital technology applications. The GCSE teacher will need guidance and support from administration and technical advisors whereas the FS teacher whole-heartedly and immediately, adopted the new model of learning.

Yes it was a positive experience and I certainly learned a new skill that I can add to my teaching arsenal.

The emergent key theme was the lack of school and class cultures. During this particular time, there appeared to be no value culture at all within this college providing any support because of restructuring.

Both groups of students considered the importance of new approaches for learning commencing from the start of the school year to become more significant for them. Both teachers agreed with this emergent information which was supported through previous researchers. Therefore this demonstrated that the new alternate flipped classroom model should begin from the start of the school year instilling a positive classroom culture validatingthe significance of its use, whilst recognizing and understanding what teacher and student expectations are.

Chapter Five will encompass an overview of the study underpinning the aims and research questions, providing recommendations, established from the findings for teachers and students as well as explore how the research study has contributed to my teaching practice and professional development.

5.0 Chapter Five: Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

The study set out to investigate the use of flipped learning within an FE college. The findings will be discussed and interpreted in a wider focus, according to the aims, with suggested recommendations; for the purpose of aiding in the transformation of learning through the adoption practices of positive school and classroom cultures.Subsequently the benefits I have experienced in my professional practice and the impact on my personal development, the dissemination of this research andsuggestions for further research.

5.2 Summary of Findings

- To critically interrogate the literature on the use of blended learning through the much acclaimed flipped classroom model of teaching and learning.

In accordance to the aims, prior to initiating and developing the flipped classroom model, it was imperative to interrogate the literature through defining, recognizing and comprehending the flipped classroom modeland that there are no set rules and no time schedules in adopting the practice.Thereby any format can effectually be modified to suit the context and purpose as seen in Chapter two, (Van Roekel 2011; Walsh (2014).

The key features and theories were substantiated through Piaget’s (1971);Vygotsky’s (1978) and Engstrom’s (1987) developmental and social theories by way of providing evidence that collaborative peer learning through in-class activities becomesmore meaningful by way of higher order cognitive thinking skills as seen in Blooms invertedTaxonomy (2001). Whereby, LOTSprepares knowledgeand basic comprehension.

The overall perspectives justified the objectives of student attainment skills; motivation, focus, participation, differentiation, wider comprehension, autonomy and teamwork, alsorevealing possible barriers which were overcome in spite ofsocio economic problems. Whereby students accessed online content in-school-hours, students’ attitudes towards the adoption of new practices and teachers’ challenges, resulting in the procurement of positive classroom cultures and appropriate discipline, as seen in Chapter 2, (

Thus through critically analysing the literature the information provided grounding for possibilities in resolving the research questions and adopting an alternate form of the flipped classroom, suitable for future use in an FE college.

- To propose and develop blended learning in the form of a flipped classroom model into a FE College with the aim of validating the proposed, positive objectives i.e. motivating learners, appealing to their different learning styles and enhancing learner focus.

Through collaborative discussions primarily with the FS teacher, an alternate approach evolved. Essential to the study and context of the FE college, it was important to understand that students were from deprived socio-economic and multicultural backgrounds and may have encountered difficulties in completing out-of-class online tasks. Thereby individual out-of-class tasks would be completed in-class during the start of the lessons for the FS group, (as lessons were in computer labs).

The GCSE group of students with similar backgrounds, who had no in-class access to computers, would apply the flipped tutorials as a reference and revision guide for the topic under study during the in-class and out-of-class tasks, (through the use of I-phones and smart phones), for the reason that the GCSE teacher had time constrained schedules. The tutorials would be particularly advantageous for absent students as a catch-up for missed lessons.

Tutorials were uploaded on a simple straightforward platform called; particularly known for its ease of use. Each tutorial consisted of one topic including all power points, pdf files, video and audio clips from each lesson.

Furthermore it was necessary to justify to the teachers, that there are no set rules in flipped learning. According toBergmann and Sams (2012), it had taken them two years to transform their own classrooms. Thereby all practitioners must appreciate that transformation is not instantaneous, (to be discussed in Further Discussions). For reasons of perspicuity, it will take extra time in the first year ofpreparation; uploadingcreative, interesting and suitable content into an online tutorial, (Adam et al, (2013). As Bergman and Sams indicated; these resources need only be tweaked in subsequent years. Both teachers and students must completely recognize and understand the framework and the importance of the flipped classroom model as well as what is expected of them, (Carter, 2013).

The most significant and valid argument was for schools’ administration to be committed and supportive towards the collaborative vision for transformation to occur; procuring positive school cultures, (Chamberlain et al (2013). Teachers need to be given the appropriate guidance and support.Whereby, without this support, many teachers will never adopt new technological approaches in their practices, (Hunneycutt, 2013;Karabulut 2013).

- To catalogue the outcomes of teachers’ use and their incorporation of this form of blended learning in classrooms as well as student use both in and out of the classroom where possible.

To justify the outcomes of teacher and student applications in flipped learning, it was essential to identify and interpretsolutions in relation to the research questions; in the possible reality of practically flipping a classroom in the context of an FE college; how will both teachers and students adapt to the integration and what was the most effective and efficient way forward in developing this form of blended learning whichworks.

The systemic and participatory process of action research had enabled transformation to develop into a reality through human resolutions in a qualitative cyclic procedure of reflection, planning action and practice, underpinning theoretical perspectives. Whereby, throughtriangulation,allowed a wide variety of perspectives to be considered, that becamebeneficially informative in aid of evaluating and analysing the results, through a thematic approach.

The extractions of the findings werethrough observations, interviews, teacher and student questionnaires and discussions which provided particular illuminating results. The thematic issues which appeared from both groups of students towards the flipped classroom derived from students’ negative attitudes; fear and disinterest to new applications, lack of basic technical skills, inattentiveness towards trying something new, not attending classes, not part of their norms and lack of confidence. Thereby the main thematic trend was subsequently deduced and interpreted from analysing the findings as the lack ofa classroom culture as seen in Chapter Four.

The FSstudents’ final questionnaire and the GCSE’s interview provided illuminating results. Their belief was that the alternate flipped model wasuseful and a positive approach to enhancing learning. However theemergent results from students’beliefs were that this form of learning should be incorporated as part of the course work and class culture, from the start of the school yearthus, would become moresignificant. Both teachers were in agreement that if a new approach to teaching and learning is integrated, combined with a positive classroom culture from the start of the school year it not only becomes significant in value but also raises students’ awareness in what is expected from them.

Teachers’ adoption practices emerged as widely varied. The FS teacher had more knowledge and skills in technological applications and adopted the practice of the alternate flipped classroom instantaneously. However the GCSE teacher who lacked not only in confidence but also in support, guidance and a constrained time schedule to learn and practice new skills, was still dubious about adopting this method. Although through further discussions there were possibilities for her future use, (deliberated in Further Discussions).

Therefore, the recurring results through findings in teachers and students’ adoption and integration practices were based on attitudes and the key interpreted finding was lack of positive classroom and school cultures. It is significant to realise that transformation does not happen instantaneously and that it will take a period of time to adapt and integrate, according to the context of the educational organization.

5.3 Further discussions

My concern was the GCSE teacher, who was positive towards the research study, the online platform and the benefitsof the flipped classroom model. Howevershe appeared to have convinced herself that there would not be time to implement this approach and became sceptical that students would not engage enough for it to work.She also lacked in confidence, in that she may not be able to adapt and integrate this model of learning, given her time constrained schedule.

Consequently, I presented her with an idea that she could arrange particular days where students could engage with the online tutorials in a computer lab; once a week at the start of the class for perhaps the first half hour or at the start of a new topic, followed by various strategic activities and collaborative group work. The process need nottransform overnight. She becameless overwhelmed with the concept,that there are no specific rules, and she could begin the process of transformation slowly and graduallyto suit her needs and time constrained schedule until she felt more comfortable in theapplications.If the prospect of changing and growing seems monumental… What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step…but you have to take it. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, (as cited in Talyor, 2014).

Subsequently she inferred that in the following term she would obtain guidance, in support of her applications forthe online platform as well as discuss further possibilities with the HOD in regards to alternately flipping the class. Thus the seed was planted in view of being developed for future use, (Burrowes, 2010).

Transforming learning through adopting and integrating newpractices can be a challenging process, (Huneycutt, 2013). Althoughthe GCSE teacher experienced difficulties; simultaneous experiences through others will aid to facilitate future teachers in positive adoption practices, (Shteynberg&Apfelbaum, 2013).

The foremost stage in flipping the classroom was locating a simple, effective and appropriate platform to upload content, thus was chosen. The second was for teachers to gain confidence and become familiar in using the platform, allowing time to organize and upload content. There are no specific rules that the flipped tutorials need to incorporate audio videos; they can include, power points, pdf files, Utube videos and images whereby the uploaded content should be purposeful, whether it is in the classroom, computer lab or at home,(Brame2013).

5.4 Recommendations

The implementation of a new approach to teaching and learning in an FE college has been clearly identified through the findings as a stimulating and challenging experience.It is important to appreciate that this research study was a short term study which commenced part way through a college year, whereby it became a challenge for some of the teachers and students.

- The results identified the importance of adopting and implementing a new approach to teaching and learning at the start of a new school year, providing value and significance as part of the course work.
- It is recommended that educational institutions, teachers and students must embrace changes through the involvement of supporting and upholding new initiatives in the transformation of effective teaching and learning.
- Administrators need to uphold their commitment in support of accomplishing goals, planning new strategies in a holistic way, reinforcing and maintaining a collaborative vision.
- Crucial to transformation are modifications in school and teacher policies, recognizing the opportunities, organizing appropriate people and resources for change in the support and involvement of the vision and finally creating the time and development of learning opportunities within the educational organization, (Robinson &Tirozzi, 2014).
- Students mustrecognize and comprehend what is expected from them with the aim of becoming part of their classroom cultural norms. Thus preparing and fortifying any future activitiesin theparticipation and applications of an alternate flipped classroom model.

5.5 Professionaland Personal Development

Participatory action research was a framework chosen to investigate, develop and improve knowledge in a particular enquiry of study which had clarified and illuminated certain discrepancies and issues teachers may have experiencedin theirpractices and how they were overcome. The significance in adopting and integrating flipped learning was that there are no rules or formats and teachers should gradually incorporate the transformation in their own time; to fit the purpose in context to the educational organization.

Many beneficial objectives were highlighted as were issuesand how they were or could be overcome substantiated by research, providing future teachers and myself moreconfidence, knowledge and ability to circumvent or alleviate some of the challenges in future adoption practices of flipped learning. Thereby, I have devised primary key strategies, beneficial for futureteachers and myself, (seen in Appendix A7).

The research study has made a huge difference with my personal perspectives and confidence towards the adaptation and integration of flipped learning. It provided me with an abundance of knowledge in effectively using digital technology, beneficial for my future practices in transforming learning in other educational organizations.

5.6 Suggestions for Further Research

Goodwyn et al’s report, informed teachers and researchers that there is not enough substantial research in this model of teaching and learning available and the importance is placed for further informative studies to take place.

My suggestions are that this paper should be recognized asnot only, the primary stage in adopting the flipped classroom model of learning but should continue as a trilogy. This primary stage provided a starting strategy; the second providing a longitudinal study from beginner teachers in the alternate flipped model and thirdly through teacher experience providing a more robust version. As O’Leary (2004) had substantiated in Chapter Three; action research is a continuous cycle in teaching and learning practices.

5.7 Dissemination

The findings of this research study will be shared with staff and HOD in the FE college in confidence of raising awareness in the alternate model of flipped learning and how it can be effectually, adopted and incorporated in classrooms through the platform with ease of use for teachers and students.I would like to contribute my research paper to a wider audience, an academic publishing website known as whereby other teachers and students can access content free.


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Appendix A1

Examples ofFS and GCSE Interview Questions, FS Questionnaire, Teacher Questionnaires for both the GCSE and FS teachers

Group Interview: FS Students

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Group Interview: GCSE students / May 2015

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FS: Questionnaire

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Teacher Questionnaire: FS

Questionnaire/ FS Class Tutor/FE College

Name … Date ..

What did you think when you first heard about the flipped classroom model of learning?

We discussed your FS multilevel, multiracial level 1 and level 2 English language students, and decided that it was more purposeful to try with in-class sessions of an alternative flipped classroom approach. We attempted to incorporate the out-of class online tutorials into an in-class session whereby students would have the time to work in class individually and have the support they needed. Consequently we would have created appropriate collaborative, diverse, group lessons. We had many challenges i.e. students attitudes, lack of turning up to classes, lack of knowledge of passwords for the use on the computers, illness, working contracts and family problems.

How do you feel this situation i.e. attitudes could of have been improved with this group of students for the future through the use of the flipped classroom model of learning?

How do you believe that this model of learning could be more effectively incorporated into their course work? Do you as their classroom teacher believe this model of teaching and learning could make a difference and if so how? Do you think it could be a positive way forward in this technologically evolving world in enhancing teaching and learning?

Do you believe that in a governmental organization i.e. an FE institution there are problems with school cultures, commencing with the administration? Do you think that there should be more of a value culture instilled for general improvement in performance and confidence throughout these institutions and would it make a difference or do you believe that it is a socio-economic problem with the students who attend?

Would you try in employing this model of teaching and learning in the future and if so how would you modify it to make it work?

Do you feel this action research was a positive experience?

Thank you for your co-operation, your thoughts and your time.

Teacher Questionnaire: GSCE

Questionnaire/Class Tutor/FE College: GCSE

Page 1/2

Name … Date ..

What did you think when you first heard about the flipped classroom model of learning?

I understand that you were constantly overwhelmed with the pressures of the on-going assessments with your groups of learners and the lack of time. Do you believe there is a place for this type of blended learning i.e. the flipped classroom model with your groups of learners?

It seems a common practice in some of the classes where learners are often absent from classes. Do you believe if you applied this form of blended learning, it would aid in both revision for the attending learners as well as a catch up for the absent learners?

I found I had a few challenges when I tried to incorporate this model of learning into one of your groups of learners. Do you believe that this model of learning should have been applied from the start of the year as opposed to half way through? Do you believe that by challenging the class culture this would have made a difference to their attitudes?

I understand that you didn’t feel confident in the primary use of the Sophia platform for uploading your tutorial resources for particular groups of learners, however after I initially guided you through the platform, how did you then feel about it? Did you feel it was simple to use and straightforward or did you feel it was too difficult and not advantageous? Do you feel you will be able to use this platform in the future with ease?

Do you believe the uploaded tutorials on this platform are much more effective in their uses i.e. that each group of learners has a code to enter only into their group where you can add various different tutorials for this group and that you the teacher can view when and for how long learners were actually on it? Do you feel it is much simpler for the learners to view the material on this platform where all files, videos and ppt’s are all open and located on one web page or tutorial and that there is no need to search for materials and click to open hoping it is the relevant one on alternate platforms?

Do you understand that you can also upload quizzes in a variety of forms from Google forms by registering with Google docs and through an added app Flubaroo which will mark and evaluate your groups results for you? Do you believe that through these quizzes you might be able to view where learners are having difficulties and would that help you with strategically creating specific in-class sessions for diverse groups of learners where you as the teacher might find more time in helping lower level groups, where the higher groups could possible work on alternate projects? Do you think you might find difficulty in doing so i.e. lack of time in exploring the use of Google forms? Do you believe it is something you might like to add to your tutorials in the future?

What are your personal thoughts and opinions towards the use of this model of teaching and learning? Is there anything you particularly like or dislike about the platform or the ideology behind blended i.e. flipped classroom learning? Will you continue to apply it with your groups of learners in the future?

Thank you for your thoughts, your time and your co-operation in this action research project.

Appendix A2

Project Plan

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Appendix A3

Research Permission form

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Appendix A4

Ethical Approval Form

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Appendix A5

Student Participation Form FS

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Student Participation Form GCSE

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Appendix A6

Presentation of Data Analysis – Two Examples

Example 1 FS student

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Example 2 FS teacher responses (3 pages) – Responses in red.

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Page 2 Response

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Page 3 Teacher Response

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Appendix A7

The Primary stages in adopting and implementing the flipped classroom model;

Make certain to:

- Discuss your plans with the school administrators and share with your colleagues.
- Have the full support from school administrators, parents and technical advisors prior to adoption.
- Familiarize yourself with the platform.
- Begin your adoption practice from the start of the school year – it will provide a significant value for its use as part of a positive and productive classroom culture - that must be instilled.
- Give students time to familiarize themselves and experiment with it.
- Devise your own plan of how you will integrate the flipped classroom for best results in your practice i.e. at the start of every class, at the start of a particular topic or once a week.
- Start slowly and gradually – both teacher and students need to recognize and comprehend what is expected of them, with ease of use.
- Reflect and rationalize your new objectives.
- Remember there is no right or wrong way – it is simply, what works for you!

84 of 84 pages


Transforming Learning. The Flipped Classroom in a FE College
University of Huddersfield
MA Education
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
File size
11047 KB
Dissertation Paper attainment mark 75 MA Ed overall attainment mark; Distinction. PGCE/DTLLS attained teacher learner of the year award
transforming, learning, flipped, classroom, college
Quote paper
MA Ed Donya Ernst (Author), 2015, Transforming Learning. The Flipped Classroom in a FE College, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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