If self-regulated learners need to be aware of their academic strengths and weaknesses, I worry that many of my Honors students, even some of my AP students have not yet reached this level of maturity. Students that are self-regulated learners enjoy challenges and opportunities to practice and develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. They know that this will lead them to success. They are successful because they have the skills to manage their learning environment. Their success breeds success. This is such an important skill for students to have. I see this as a skill that is lacking in most high school students. As a teacher devoted to the flipped classroom method of teaching, I believe that the flipped class can help students to become better self-regulated learners. The module that I am developing is built around the flipped classroom approach.
In a flipped class, students are required to learn content knowledge on their own prior to class and are then asked to work in groups to apply this knowledge during face to face class time. For the students who are new to this method of learning, they may be initially frustrated, since it requires them to learn content knowledge alone at home instead of being taught by teachers in a classroom. Because of this they may come unprepared for in-class learning activities, which can result in low performance in class.
Therefore, although the flipped classroom is useful in offering access to content knowledge and opportunities for students to self-regulate their learning process, not every student is capable of taking advantage of these opportunities. Giving students control over their learning process is necessary in the flipped classroom, and self-regulated learning becomes a crucial part of the success in flipped classroom learning. I am still struggling with how to make this work with my students.
I have found that the flipped nature of my class, tends to force students to become more independent in their learning. For students that are excited about the course, the flipped nature of the class can be very rewarding. I make so many resources available online that interested students can really get a much deeper understanding of the material than they would have from a traditional lecture-based class. For the students who are not as motivated, the material online does not seem to help them and they are not as successful. As one student told me, “I don’t like all this online stuff”. Is it because they are self-regulated learners that the flipped classroom works for them or is it because they are interested in the material that they are self-regulated learners??
The method that I use for the first exposure to a lesson is usually a video lecture that I have prepared. They need to write notes from the video lecture. The flipped class assignments that follow the video can vary; from online quizzes to worksheets to short writing assignments, but in each case the task provides a small incentive (a few points) for students to come to class prepared. The pre-class assignments that my students complete online as evidence of their preparation for class also help me to assess their understanding and tailor the class activities to focus on areas where they are struggling.
I use automatically graded quizzes that can help students pinpoint areas where they need help. This seems to be very motivating for the students that are SRL. They retake the quizzes and come in to ask about questions they missed. Furthermore, the immediate feedback that occurs in the flipped classroom also helps students recognize and think about their own growing understanding. I particularly find the short answer questions that students submit as evidence of their understanding to be effective. I provide quick and positive feedback to each student and this seems to help them feel more confident in their learning progress. Consistent positive feedback seems to be the best way to encourage students to work harder and more independently.
In a flipped class if the students gain basic knowledge outside of class, then they need to spend class time to promote deeper learning. If the student cannot become a self-regulated learner then they will not be able to gain the basic knowledge outside of class and the flipped class will not work very well for them. If I am going to use the flipped class then I must try and help my students become better self-regulated learners. I must design my online resources to facilitate their progress in become SRL.