4 Signs of Student Buy-In for Flipped Learning

--Originally published at Flipped Learning

Trying to prove your Flipped Learning environment is an effective instructional practice can often be tricky. Some will point to exam scores, while others will look to course success. Districts might even point to persistence from one semester to the next. Yet, Flipped Learning might not always be visible in known data points such as those above. Rather, I try to focus on the four signs below to know if my students are learning and engaged in my Flipped Learning class:


1 - Conversations about Content
Perhaps the greatest measuring stick I use in my Flipped classes come from listening to the conversations students are having. While quite often misconceived as noise, I know my students have bought into Flipped Learning as they start to have conversations about how they learned from my videos, as well as how to apply that learning to our practice problems in class. I can't tell you how many other teachers stop by to ask what's going on? Why are your students so loud? And my response is always the same - just listen to what they are talking about! 

2 - Compassion through Collaboration
While some skeptics of Flipped Learning worry about cheating or 'piggy-backing', authentic learning happens when students become compassionate about one another being successful. Some of the greatest moments I've witnessed in my class are when students sit down with one another and share their thinking and calculation process. While it would be easy to just show an answer, students show genuine compassion for one another in helping each other be successful. What I really love to see is when students start working in different groups all on their own, illustrating the sense of belonging that all students should feel in every classroom environment.

3 - Students Share with You
One of the earliest struggles I had in my teaching career was finding time to interact with students and really get to know who each one was. There is so much value in building rapport that I would argue every teacher needs make time to do so. Flipped Learning has only enhanced the opportunities I have to get to know students. As they learn you care more about who they and what they become versus the grade they achieve, they actually work harder and share more. At the college level, this also means they email when they are absent or ill. They actually model responsibility for their actions because you place a value on the person, not their grade. (It also means you can talk to them about their favorite beer and brewer...a perk of teaching adults!)

4 - Students Ask for More Videos
Recently, my mother became ill and needed some assistance at home. I needed to step away for a few days and didn't have my math videos ready for my night class. My students were very understanding and super supportive of what was happening. Yet, they were completely honest with me as well. After spending one night teaching via 'traditional lecture', the students asked if we could go back to the videos...yes, the STUDENTS asked. It was simple yes for me, however, I wanted to know more. I needed to know the why. One student shared how they like to watch and rewind what is happening so that they hear it, see it, and write it down on their own terms. Another offered how he liked to spend time in class working on problems with others and seeing different ways to solve problems. Still another appreciated how the practice problems provided opportunities to contextualize the content to their area of study. I was amazed at how honest they were with why the valued the Flipped Learning environment and the video lessons.

Perhaps I could point to students grades to measure their success in my classrooms. I prefer to let the grades become a natural consequence of the rapport I build, safe environment I create, and the compassion students show one another. It's rather funny how some will simply say "C's get degrees!" And they certainly do....as long as those C's are: Compassion, Collaboration, Cooperation, Creativity, Character, Choices, and Consistency.

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