Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Flipping the Classroom in Teacher Education: Implications for Motivation and Learning

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Flipping the Classroom in Teacher Education: Implications for Motivation and Learning

Article excerpt

In teacher education, it is imperative that course design, method of instruction, and classroom policies and procedures align with the content. This is particularly important for courses covering topics such as motivation or learning as the type of design and method of instruction may unwittingly undermine or invalidate the efficacy of the material. The Educational Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association's Committee on the Teaching of Educational Psychology (Anderson et al., 1995) had recommended that courses be structured to include interactions between peers and the instructor. As a result, the onus is on instructors and programs to design courses congruent with the principles of learning that teacher educators espouse. One way to achieve this may be to "flip" the classroom. Flipped classrooms are congruent with learning theory, easily lend themselves to differentiated instruction, and promote teacher-student interactions (Fraga & Harmon, 2014). In addition, flipped classes allow students to work at their own pace and provide teachers opportunities to observe the learning process in ways that may be more difficult in traditional classrooms (Fulton, 2012). However, while flipped classrooms have received considerable attention in recent years, much remains unknown about their effect on basic psychological needs (Abeysekera & Dawson, 2015) or objective learning outcomes (Bishop & Verleger, 2013; Critz & Knight, 2013) of preservice teachers. Few studies have utilized controls or well-defined outcome variables. The purpose of the present quasi-experimental study is to determine whether flipped classrooms result in increased motivation and learning outcomes in a teacher education program.

Flipped Classrooms

The term flipped classroom refers to an inversion of where learning activities take place (Wilson, 2013). Although no two classes are alike, flipped classes are typically characterized by (a) a change in the use of in- and out-of-class time, (b) in-class activities traditionally considered homework, (c) out-of-class activities traditionally considered in-class, (d) in-class activities that emphasize active learning and peer learning, (e) pre- and post-class activities, and (f) use of technology (Abeysekera & Dawson, 2015). Although the focus of this method is on "moving tasks in time and space" (Abeysekera & Dawson, 2015, p. 2), making this change is intended to redefine other aspects of the learning process, such as how content is delivered by teachers and how students are expected to engage with it. Traditional, lecture-based teaching has been discredited as stifling of students' interest, engagement, and ability to retain material (Cobb, 2016; Gilboy, Heinerichs, & Pazzaglia, 2015; Unruh, Peters, & Willis, 2016). Flipped designs, however, aim to restructure educational environments to use strategies more likely to tap into student motivation and increase meaningful learning. Classroom activities are presumed to be more suited to active rather than passive learning due to their participatory nature and focus on deep learning (McLaughlin et al., 2014; Roehl, Reddy, & Shannon, 2013). According to Prince (2004), active learning is most beneficial when teachers go beyond pairing it with traditional lecture, and instead use collaborative learning, cooperative learning, and problem-based learning to increase student engagement. Flipped classrooms are, by design, structured to promote this type of active learning. Student-centered learning (Little, 2015; Roehl et al., 2013) and constructivist theory (Gilboy et al., 2015) also serve to provide a theoretical foundation for flipped classrooms; knowledge is a shared product of group inquiry that students construct by solving problems and making sense of unfamiliar information. However, while flipped classrooms have generated much interest in recent years, findings are mixed in terms of their effects on motivation and learning. …

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