Exploring a flipped classroom approach in a Japanese language classroom : a mixed methods study.



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A flipped classroom approach promotes active learning and increases teacherstudent interactions by maximizing face-to-face class time (Hamdan, McKnight, Mcknight, Arfstrom, & Arfstrom, 2013). In this study, “flipped classroom” is combined with the use of technology and is described as an instructional approach that provides lectures outside of class and student-centered, in-class active learning (Bergmann & Sams, 2013). When applied to a foreign language classroom, it allows instructors to incorporate both the explicit instruction (Sanz & Morgan-Short, 2005; Norris & Ortega, 2000) and interaction approaches (Swain, 2000; Ellis, 2012), which may facilitate the understanding of grammar and lead to language proficiency. The present study explored the effect of a flipped classroom approach in a Japanese language classroom to assess its effectiveness and feasibility. A concurrent embedded strategy of mixed methods was utilized to study two sections of the introductory Japanese language courses at a private university in Texas. One section was the experimental group (EG) with 19 students. The other section was the control group (CG) with 20 students. In order to establish a baseline of the students’ language skills, both sections were taught using a traditional lecture approach during the first half of the semester. A flipped classroom approach was implemented in the EG during the second half of the semester. Six types of instruments were utilized: (1) questionnaires, (2) measures of learning outcomes, (3) class observation, (4) oral production rating scale, (5) Blackboard statistics tracking, and (6) instructor’s daily journal. The present study found that a flipped classroom initially requires a significant time commitment to create lecture videos and prepare lessons; however, delivering instruction outside of class with lecture videos increased active classroom learning time, which in turn increased the number of classroom interactions. While quantitative statistics found no statistical difference between the EG and the CG in the students’ learning outcomes, descriptive analysis showed learning gains in the EG. In addition, qualitative data revealed that students expressed favorable attitudes towards the flipped classroom approach.