Don’t flip when they don’t flip.

Student who don't flip their learning

Student who don't flip their learning

What to do when they don’t flip their learning

When your students come to class and all have done their online flipped activity, the is a clear flow to the lesson and everyone is roughly on the same page. Your A level PE starter task will act as assessment for learning and away you go. However, the world is full of people and people are unpredictable. One thing that I’m certain of is that the best laid plans can be changed in an instant, especially in schools. “Sir I’ve not done my flipped learning homework”! The words that send the inevitable pang through me as I measure my response. So what to do now? The first thing is not to flip when they don’t flip. If your usual response is one of a surging desire to launch into a KES like lecture about being a better student, check out Andy Cope

There are a couple of strategies that I have used when students have failed to complete their work for the lesson.  I must stress that I work in a college and I have worked in several secondary schools. The strategy for the PE students has had similar results in each institution.  

Let them be behind!

While it would appear counter intuitive to allow a student to behind and even worse do nothing about it, I suggest that this strategy can work.  While some students may have forgotten to do their homework I think that this still has to be given some punitive action.  However you see fit for your class is usually the best option, and I’m not going to tell you how to run your class.  However, note that for me, missing the homework, flipped or not will receive the same response, a subject extension.  

Going back to the class and the impact of the response.  I get all students to make notes on their flipped learning to ensure that they have actively engaged with the online videos.  This allows me to check for learning at the beginning of the lesson.  I set the starter task which has threads of the online PE videos, here is where things get interesting.  The students who have done the videos and taken active notes, will always do well at the starter tasks.  

I use white board activities and this makes it very clear who has or not completed their work, moreover, who has understood it.  All the time the answers or notes are being put on white boards, there are those in the group who are feeling uncomfortable.  The point is that they are being measured against their peer and not by me.  According to  “peer pressure can lead you to adopt good habits in life”.  It is a clear and some times surprising indicator to the student that they will get left behind if they don’t do the work

flipped teaching

Response and mindset

Just leaving the student to register that others have done the work may have a negative impact on the student’s response to the subject.  They will have a negative feeling, however,  there are two things i have found.  First is the usual response is the completion of flipped learning the next time. The fear of failure is a very powerful weapon and it evokes the usual response. I’ve had students actively show me their notes as well as their engagement in the starter tasks, very proud of the fact they can do the work.  This response is the most common and while the short term is painful, I think that the long term behaviour changes I’ve seen are worth it. 

 However, there have been others who show a negative demeanour and this is where I intervene.   One thing I talk about with students is the controllable elements to their progress.  Talking from persons experience I highlight the things I can control in my learning and get them to identify the elements that they can control.  Some have suggested that they just cant do it!  However, when we drill down I have always found a small opening that allows the student to acknowledge they can do it.   I ask them that if they could know the answer to the exam before going in would they want to know.  The obvious answer is yes.  So this is the point I make about flipped learning.  They have been given the basic answer to the lesson before opening the door.  I stress that this is in their control and only takes 10 minutes to watch the videos.  

There are few incidents that I can recall over the last 9 years of flipped learning where a students has not responded straight away, or after a few sessions.  While I know that flipped learning works, and it’s more important than ever to be connecting with the student’s medium, It’s not a one size fits all.  I know that all students can and do benefit from flip teaching and online videos to support A level PE.  However, there will be some that get more out of it than others.  There are some that will turn up with extensive notes and those that don’t.  Ultimately the main idea is to give all students a chance to start at a higher level of understanding.  A chance to reduce anxiety and allow students to progress at a faster rate.  

So to come back to the original point, peer pressure as a positive weapon has been my method of choice when students have not completed their flipped learning.  This has to be linked to clear starter tasks to highlight early on that they (those that didn’t do their work) will be behind if they don’t flip.