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The Flipped Instructional Model 1

Running Head: The Flipped Instructional Model

Are Language Arts Classrooms Ready for the Flipped Instructional Model?

Leigh-Ann Danley & Stephanie Stone

University of West Georgia
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Introduction

The flipped model of teaching has been utilized in language arts classes for decades.

Teachers assign students a specific text to read and in preparation for the next day’s class,

students read and think critically about the text. Only recently have educators moved away from

this model of learning; the assumption is that students won’t complete an independent

assignment at home, so teachers are hesitant to assign it. This is the rationale behind our

selection of this topic. We feel that there are ways to positively implement a flipped model into a

21st century high school language arts course. One of the great things about teaching language

arts is that the course focuses on refining skills that students have already mastered. High school

students come to our classrooms already proficient in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and

listening, but it’s our job to provide them with more challenging texts to read and think about,

more rigorous writing assignments, and more prevalent ways to communicate their knowledge to

the world around them. For these reasons, the flipped model has the potential to impact student’s

mastery at a higher level. If students read, investigate, research, and think critically on their

own, we, as language arts, can differentiate how they apply their knowledge of these skills within

the four walls of our classroom. We have a limited amount of time to teach students, and

encouraging them and setting the expectation that they will lay the foundation of their

understanding outside of class, allows the experts to take their mastery to a higher level.

Personal Experience

Throughout our tenures as teaching professionals, we have both had some experience

with flipping our teaching methods. Currently, in Mrs. Danley’s twelfth grade language arts
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course, she is utilizing the flipped approach to help solidify her student’s understanding of

George Orwell’s novel 1984. Students are assigned a section of the novel to read, or a video

relating to a theme of the book on a nightly basis in preparation for the next class period. Mrs.

Danley uses a quick multiple choice assessment the next day to assess her student’s level of

understanding of the assigned reading or video. She uses this data to group her students

according to their proficiency level. The students who do poorly on the assessment are grouped

and provided with a remediation activity while those who have mastered the reading work on

applying and enriching their understanding of the text. Mrs. Danley has had great success using

this approach to teaching the novel. It has allowed her to work more one-on-one with students

who struggle with reading comprehension and critical analysis and it is has allowed the higher

level thinkers in her class to have a more rich experience with the text through Socratic seminars

and other discussion-based application activities.

Mrs. Stone has had similar successes with utilizing the flipped model. In her eleventh grade

language arts course, her students focus on a thematic understanding of “The Pursuit of

Happiness” through their reading of the non-fiction text Into the Wild. Students are assigned

excerpts of chapters to read on their own outside of class. Additionally, they are asked to view

movie trailers in which the characters are pursuing their dreams in what they hope will result in

happiness. The excerpts are generally one or two pages in length and students are provided with

questions to guide their critical thinking of the reading. The movie trailers are typically two or

three minutes in length. The next day in class students engage in a Socratic seminar or work

collaboratively on creating a multi-genre type artifact to enhance their understanding of the

reading. These activities require students to utilize higher-level inference skills but they cannot
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complete these activities if they have not read the assigned reading or viewed the movie trailer

closely and critically.

Benefits

The flipped-classroom model allows the teacher to create a more student-centered learning

environment. The teacher becomes a guide-on-the side instead of the sage-on-the stage. This

type of learning environment encourages active learning which is key to student involvement,

engagement, and, ultimately, success. If students are involved in the teaching and learning

process, they are more likely to excel. Flipping the classroom allows for this active learning.

Instead of sitting in a language arts classroom and listening to the teacher read, or silently

reading themselves, students engage in discussions, work on projects, or solve problems using

their understanding of a text or concept. Reading and writing are real-world skills, and the only

way students can get more proficient at these skills is by practicing them. In today’s high school

language arts classes, more often than not, students aren’t forced to think critically on their own,

and this creating students that are ill-prepared to function in academic or real-world settings.

Flipping the language arts classroom doesn’t necessarily mean only having students only

read outside of class. The language arts teacher can and should utilize videos, presentations,

Google forms or docs, in addition to a variety of other instructional media. Students simply need

to be presented with information and should be taught to process this information on their own.

This allows teachers to use class time for the application and enrichment of the information.
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Continuing Research

Research on the effectiveness of the flipped teaching approach can continue only if

innovative educators continue to use this pedagogical approach. Successes using the flipped

model must be continued to be shared and discussed amongst educational professionals.

Additionally, identifying the weaknesses or problem areas with this teaching model, must be

allowed to come to the forefront. The only way to solve problems is to bring them to light.

While professional development sessions and articles touting the benefits of this teaching model

are beneficial, teachers need to see the flipped model in action in order to fully understand how it

works and the impact it has on student achievement. Change is made not through simply adding

new knowledge base, but by creating experiences. This holds true not only for the students we

teach, but also for educators themselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best when he asserted

that “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better”. Active learning

through the flipped model allows students to experiment more and deepen their learning and

understanding of life.
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Are Language Arts Classrooms Ready for the Flipped Instructional Model?

“5 Reasons FLIPPED Classrooms Work: Turning lectures into homework to boost student engagement
and increase technology-fueled creativity.”
By Elizabeth Millard

Summary

This article was published on universitybusiness.com in December of 2012. The central premise

of the piece is that the flipped model approach to learning reinforces learning at a higher, more

collaborative level. Millard defines flipped classrooms as environments in which “lectures and other

traditional classroom elements are swapped out in favor of more in-person interaction, like small group

problem solving and discussion”. She asserts that courses in which the instructor lectures or delivers the

bulk of the content outside of class via streaming video provide a more enriching learning experience for

students. The article outlines five major benefits approaching a course from this perspective; flipped

classes are more engaging for students, foster the mastery of collaboration skills, allow for more one-on-

one remediation or enrichment, encourage active vs. passive learning, and promotes teacher creativity

while still maintain course standardization. Millard does acknowledge that flipped classrooms are vastly

different from most other pedagogical approaches to learning, and many educators may not yet be ready

for this unique approach. However, she does note that as more success is seen with this model of

learning, more educators may embrace the use of flipped classrooms.

Method

She supports her claim by incorporating similar views from educational professionals into her

piece. In her article, Millard highlights the success a college professors at Central Michigan University,

Clemson University, California State University, and the University of California have had in their

classrooms using the flipped model to transform courses that were previously heavily based on lecture.
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She also focuses on a K-12 school district in Texas that has seen remarkable increases in student

collaboration as a result of flipped learning.

Results

Freelance writer, Elizabeth Millard, in her article “5 Reasons Flipped Classrooms Work” argues

that presenting students with content outside of class and devoting all of the time in class to discussions

and projects creates a learning environment more conducive to student success. Through her dialogue

with college professors as well as K-12 educational specialists, Millard has concluded that utilizing the

flipped model is a strategy that can easily be incorporated into any classroom at varying degrees. The

educators Millard references in her piece support and confirm the five reasons she references in her article

through their own experiences in teaching students.

Opinions

Acquiring anecdotal evidence from college professors as well as K-12 specialists was a great

strategy to support the idea that flipped classrooms can be effective at any level. The fact that she

included more information about the model being used at the collegiate level supports the notion that

secondary schools aren’t adequately preparing students to be successful if they don’t integrate this

strategy into their curriculums. While Millard did include information from educators at the secondary

and post-secondary levels, including insight from students may have helped to support her claims. It’s

possible that the teacher has a vastly different perception of a course than does a student. Had she

included some student feedback about their exposure to the flipped model, readers may have gained a

greater affirmation that this approach to learning has true benefit. Additionally, some statistics on flipped

classrooms would have provided a deeper level of logos for persuasion. The flipped concept is relatively

new in the world of education, but there must be some statistical data on how often it is being used,

where, and with what frequency.
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“Information Literacy and the Flipped Classroom”

By Andrea Wilcox

Summary

Wilcox begins her article by defining flipped classrooms and gives a succinct definition of the

model: “that which is traditionally done in class is now done at home and that which is traditionally done

as homework is now completed in class”. The purpose of her article is to highlight a study conducted to

discern what impact, if any, a one-time flipped lesson had on student achievement in the area of

informational literacy. Throughout the educational study, students would complete key assignments

outside of class and would devote the one-time in-class session to discussion and problem solving

activities.

Method

The conductors of the study not only wanted to gain insight on the impact of the one-shot flipped

session, but also hoped to elicit student feedback on the effectiveness of a brief foray into the flipped

mode. The study was conducted in the fall of 2012 at Northern Kentucky University. The facilitator of

the flipped session was a university librarian and the students involved were sophmores enrolled in two

sections ENG 291 taught by the one professor. The librarian created six videos that reviewed key

research skills, developing a clear research question, and utilizing appropriate sources to support the

claim. The videos included an assessment at the end that was optional. All students in one of the sections

were required to watch the videos. Students in both of the sessions were required to attend the face-to-

face session with the librarian. For the in-class sessions, students worked collaboratively to generate

example research questions or search through databases for specific sources related to a given topic.
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Results

Students in both sections were given identical pretests before the instruction session and posttests

two weeks after the session. Students in the flipped section were asked to answer six additional questions

about their perception of the videos. The tests positively confirmed that students in both sections

increased their informational literacy skills. However, the tests did not conclusively confirm if the flipped

model had a negative or positive effect on the student’s learning. The professor did integrate another

component that helped to clarify the results somewhat. The culminating assessment for students in both

sections was a research paper using a minimum of five sources. Upon grading these pieces, it was noted

that students in the flipped session, the ones who watched the videos, used “more peer reviewed,

scholarly journals… while students in the traditional class cited more websites”. An informational

feedback survey was also administered and it revealed that 79% of students found the videos to be helpful

in conjunction with the face-to-face session.

Opinions

Despite the fact that the pre/post test didn’t conclusively support the use of the flipped model, the

fact that the professor noted the significant difference in the sources used for the research paper was very

helpful. It appears, based on the results of the study that the videos proved useful to the student’s overall

understanding of the concept. The idea that only one flipped session can make an impact on student

achievement is definitely a selling point in terms of integrating in into the classroom; however, it would

have been helpful if the facilitators of the study had included a second session to what impact that would

have made. It really is difficult to ascertain if a pedagogical approach works after just one

implementation. This study did include student perceptions of the effect the flipped model had on

learning which was very beneficial. Student feedback, while sometimes skewed, is integral and provides

a level of ethos that can’t be achieved by simply providing facilitator commentary.
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“Using Digital Media to Enhance Literacy” By Michael S. Moylan

Summary

Michael Moylan, a 4th grade teacher in Illinois, conducted an informal study to assess how digital

media helped refine the literacy skills of his students. Throughout the semester, Moylan had his students

complete writing assignments that were narrative or biographical. Instead of simply having his students

write these pieces, he took the assignment further and had students create videos to present their

narratives or biographies. His students, and students in other classes, were provided with the opportunity

to watch the videos and Moylan’s theory was that this would have an impact on the literacy education of

all students. His goal was to determine if students had the skills to create the videos and he wanted to

weigh the impact the digital media had on students ability to read, write, think critically, and problem

solve.

Method

Moylan doesn’t go into great detail about his methodology for this study. He describes one

assignment in which students had to create a video of a mock interview between two individuals they

researched. He provides a clear definition of literacy and explains how “digital technologies allow

students to apply their literacy skills to real-world problems and “publish” their work to a global

audience”.

He mentions several studies related to digital video and literacy throughout the article. In 1999,

a study was conducted by the Center for Research on Literacy and found that by increasing digital media,

third graders increased their understanding of adjectives and the importance of setting and mood.

Another study he references is one conducted in a school in San Francisco. Students were tasked with the

challenge of interviewing a Holocaust survivor and creating a video of their interview. This assignment

was given in lieu of reading full-text narratives about the Holocaust. Moylan notes that “not only did this
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assignment provide a richer, deeper understanding about the Holocaust, it provided a public serve creating

a “meaningful engagement with the world outside”.

Moylan does supplement his claim with a form of counter-argument and acknowledges in his

piece that there are limitations in terms of how and when using digital media is appropriate and relevant.

He points out that the creation of videos won’t work with every concept in a particular curriculum;

additionally, he notes that many school systems lack the financial resources to allocate for educational

technology and many educational professionals lack the knowledge to effectively teach students how to

use the technology.

Results

Moylan’s results weren’t clearly defined, but he does mention several observations he has made

about his students who have incorporated digital video into his course verses those who have not. He

asserts that the creation and publication of student-directed videos has prompted his students to “richer

visual description, increased communication skills, higher levels of focus, and greater student interest”.

He doesn’t provide statistical data, but in the conclusion of the piece he strongly advocates for the

integration of digital media in the classroom to “strengthen {students} comprehension, writing, and

critical thinking skills”.

Opinion

This piece was fairly informative. It would have been more powerful if Mr. Moylan had included

some data from his own classroom. Asserting that a change in the way you asses your students increased

comprehension is easy, but without facts, it’s really difficult to determine if that one change really made

an impact. I’m also curious to know if he changed anything else about his course; if so, it’s possible that

the integration of videos had very little to do with the increase in literacy. In addition, he should have

included some student testimonials to give the piece a little more ethos. A teacher’s perception of success

is oftentimes different than a student’s.
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“Flipping Reading Lessons at a Title I School” By Joe Corcoran

Summary

In this article, school administrator Joe Corcoran explains how the school he works at

incorporated some flipped strategies into each classroom in order to enhance reading instruction and

overall literacy skills. Corcoran provides an overview of how the program was implemented in the

school, and clarifies the roles of both the teachers and the parents. He argues that all appropriate parties

(administrators, students, teachers, and parents) needed to understand their role and purpose and fulfill

their obligations in order to make the flip a success.

Method

The first place administrators at this Title I school began was with their school-wide reading

scores. There was a critical need to address reading deficiencies of students, but they also knew that they

need to combat the low level of parental involvement with the school. These were the steps they took to

creating their flipped reading program. First, they selected a school-wide reading software program that

was web-based and could be accessed by every student. Next, they created a parent-liaison position

within the school to help bridge the gap and increase communication between the two. Because the

school has high rates of poverty among students, the school secured resources of computers and tablets

for student use at school and partnered with local YMCAs and public libraries to provide access to

technology outside of school. Additionally, the school held mandatory parent meetings to show parents

how to use the reading software their students would be using. Parents were held accountable for

ensuring that their students fulfilled the obligations of the weekly reading assignments.

Results

Mr. Corcoran doesn’t provide any specific statistical data on the results of their school-wide flip initiative,

but he does assert that the program has “resulted in improved academic outcomes, a greater sense of
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collaboration between school and community, and a heightened level of parental engagement”. He also

claims that the flipped reading lessons have created a more active learning environment and that students

are thinking more critically and at higher levels.

Opinion

This article was interesting, but very vague and lacked specificity as to the program that was used

and the implementation of the flipped lessons. There was no information on how teachers presented the

flipped model to their elementary students and that would have been helpful to other educators wanting to

bring this idea into their schools. Additionally, there was no statistical data to drive either the need for the

flipped approach or the results of the flip. The integration of parents into the learning equation was

practical and necessary. Education rarely works if everyone isn’t on the same page. Getting parents

involved is key to student buy-in and provides another layer of support for teachers and administrators.
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“Uses of Digital Tools and Literacies in the English Language Arts Classroom” By Richard Beach

Summary

Professor Beach’s article focuses on the premise that digital tools such as computers, tablets, cell-

phones, and e-readers profoundly impact student’s abilities to comprehend a piece of text and think

critically about it. He asserts that students are engaged in using these devices and integrating them into

the language arts classroom provides a higher level of engagement than with just the print text alone.

Beach also advocates for the integration of school assessments and real-world communication. His

premise is founded on the idea that students constantly use digital tools for communication purposes – i.e.

Facebook, texting, instant messaging, Twitter; teachers should embrace student’s proficiency with these

communication tools and integrate them to support their curriculum.

Method

The article isn’t based on one particular study that analyzed the impact of digital tools on a group

of student’s literacy skills. Instead, Beach weaves in statistical data from varying sources to prove his

theories. He begins his article by providing statistical data on adolescent use of technology. The fact that

teenagers spend more than 53 hours per week using digital tools provides excellent rational for

incorporating these tools into the learning process. Beach also references a number of studies that

support his claim; several of the educational experiments mentioned utilized the flipped classroom model

to increase student literacy. One example Beach provides takes place in a Detroit high school that moved

from a traditional teaching model in English language arts classes to a flipped classroom approach. The

article includes a wide array of statistics and field study data, but it also includes practical uses for digital

tools in the language arts classroom. Beach lists several websites, and other web-based tools that can be

used to enhance writing. Additionally, he addresses how to weave videos, online gaming, and other

multimodal forms of communication into a course that is heavily concentrated on reading and writing.
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Results

Since the article doesn’t focus on one particular study, the results of the article come together in a

piecemeal fashion. In terms of the data Beach provides, the numbers overwhelmingly support the

integration of digital media into education. The Detroit school mentioned in the section above saw their

9th grade English failure rates drop by 33%. He references a laptop program instituted in a middle school

in Maine and the data from this study shows “there was a significant increase in students’ writing score,

with students who reported high computer use score significantly higher than did students reporting little

laptop use”. He concludes his argument with a review of 53 studies on the uses of video podcasts and

purports that students benefited. From simply watching videos, students “increased learning performance

and improved study habits”. The results Beach presents should cause educators to reflect on how

frequently digital literacy plays a role in their teaching.

Opinion

The statistical data provided in the article was very useful and persuasive. Mr. Beach did a great

job of not only providing information about why digital tools are so important to students in this digital

age, but he also provides some very relevant ideas for use in the language arts classroom. The flipped

classroom studies he mentions are very powerful in terms of advocating for this model of teaching.

Including a few practical strategies specific to language arts classrooms and the flipped model of teaching

would have been more helpful. Additionally, it may have been helpful for Mr. Beach to address a few

counter-arguments that may arise from teachers who don’t see the value in incorporating digital tools into

learning.
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References

Beach, R. 92012). Uses of Digital Tools and Literacies in the English Language Arts Classroom.

Research in the Schools, 19(1), 45-59.

Corcoran, J. (2013). Flipped Reading Lessons at a Title I School. School Administrator, 70I(3), 22-23

Millard, E (2012). 5 Reasons FLIPPED Classrooms Work. University Business. 15(11), 26-29.

Moylan, M. S. (2010). Using Digital Video to Enhance Literacy. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 38(4),

26.

Wilcox Brooks, A. (2014). Information Literacy and the Flipped Classroom. Communications in

Information Literacy, 8(2), 225.