How high school learners of Spanish respond to a flipped classroom : an analysis of performance & involvement
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Although many studies have examined “flipped classrooms” (essentially the inversion of presentational and practice learning spaces, Bergman & Sams, 2012; Bledsoe 2015; Bretzman, 2013; Lockwood & Folse, 2014; Pasisis, 2014; Plunkett & Beckerman, 2014), few have examined flipping foreign language classes and even fewer have examined the practice in high schools (Huang & Hong, 2016; Hao 2016). In addition, although a large number of blogs, teacher forums and online help pages address flipped language classrooms, few empirical studies have appeared in peer-reviewed journals. Consequently, the efficacy of the flipped classroom approach in the foreign language high-school classroom has not been adequately assessed. The purpose of this study was to better understand learning interactions and outcomes of secondary Spanish 2 students within a flipped classroom environment. The nine -week action research project assessed the flipped classroom approach for two high-school Spanish classes. The study investigated the process of learning second year Spanish at a private high school through a collection of questionnaires, teaching artifacts, and assessment data. Involvement with the flipped materials and student performance on daily quizzes proved to explain most of the variation in grades and other outcome measures. Data analysis showed students to be classified into four groups: high-performance high-involvement, low-performance high-involvement, high-performance low-involvement, and low-performance low-involvement. The study found that effective learners reported a range of learning strategies which they used to select the best methods to practice the target language concepts. A variety of learning strategies in addition to efficient choice of time and investment corresponded with increased performance in the Spanish class. The flipped classroom was an effective approach to teaching Spanish for secondary students in this study. The study also found that some learners needed support in selecting learning strategies, managing time, and remaining accountable. Teachers who want to implement flipped high school Spanish classrooms should pay attention to individual student involvement and performance for this approach to achieve maximal effect.