Reader Question: What can I do about student resistance in the flipped classroom?

Question from a reader: What can I do about student resistance? Many of my students don't understand the flipped classroom or active learning. 

Answer: Student resistance is one of the most frustrating parts of the flipped classroom. If students don't see the value in the process, then they will not complete the pre-class work and they may not engage in the activities you have planned during class time. 

It helps to first try to understand why students are showing resistance. It could be because of assumptions they are bringing with them based on previous negative experiences with active learning or flipped classrooms.

Which brings me to my first recommendation...

First, Don't Name It

One of the first pieces of advice I offer to faculty in this situation is not to "name" your approach. Don't call your class a "flipped" classroom. As soon as you name it, then your students will associate any previous flipped classroom experiences with yours. That includes negative experiences.

Your flipped classroom approach may be completely different than someone else's.  So, don't name it - just do it.

This is simply the way your course is taught. Involve them in the process, show them how their role changes, and make your expectations clear.

On a related note, student resistance often comes from a place of confusion or fear. They may be uncertain about this type of learning experience and their new responsibilities. They may be afraid of making mistakes or not knowing the “right” answers.

This fear can lead to resistance, or hesitance because they are unsure of what to expect, how to proceed, and how they will be assessed. This is why it's so important to invest time planning flipped learning experiences, creating a process for staying organized, and thinking about how you will introduce students to your approach.

Here are a few additional resources to help you, and your students, work through this resistance:

10 Strategies to Encourage Students to Actually DO the Pre-Class Work in Flipped and Active Learning Classrooms (FREE whitepaper)

One of the ways students show resistance is by coming to class unprepared. In this whitepaper, you’ll learn where this behavior might be coming from and what you can do to address it.

5 Ways to Address Student Resistance in the Flipped Classroom 

In this post, I examine the connection between the flipped model and the stages of grief. Reflect on this idea and see how it relates to the behaviors you see from students in your classroom.

5 Ways Students Say Their Role Changes in the Flipped Classroom

I decided to go straight to the source and ask the students how they see their role in the flipped classroom. Here’s what they had to say!

Try the ‘C3B4Me’ Policy to Encourage Students to Become Self-Directed Learners in the Flipped Classroom 

Support students through the process of taking responsibility for their own learning by integrating these types of policies into your syllabus. Here’s one I’ve used called ‘C3B4Me which I introduce on the first day of class to begin a conversation about roles, responsibilities, and expectations. 

I hope these resources are helpful for you! If you have more questions about this topic, post your questions in the comments below.

For more resources, strategies, and advice, take an online FLIP It course!

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