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A case study of interaction analysis between "flipped classroom" and "traditional classroom".

1. Introduction

In recent years, there is an increasing need to explore the use of instructional technology to improve student outcomes (Chen, 2016). Flipped learning instruction as an innovative and effective approach, which can promote student-centered instruction has gradually gained High Education institution teachers' attention (Hamdan et al, 2013).

The flipped classroom is a learning approach in which foundational content is offloaded for students to learn on their own before class, while instructor engages students in active learning exercises in class (Bergmann, 2012). This approach transformed teaching practice by changing traditional role and increasing interaction between instructor and students during class (Gerstein, 2012).

The efficacy of the flipped classroom has been widely reported by researchers in various education fields (Kavadella et al, 2012, Critz et al, 2013, Ruiz et al, 2006). For example, McLaughlin et al, (2014) reported improved exam performance and increased engagement in a flipped pharmaceutics course. Research suggests that, in addition to enhancing student learning and problem solving skills, the flipped classroom can also promote student commitment and motivation to learn (McLaughlin et al, 2014).

Zhai XueSong et al, (2014) perceived students' high acceptance of applying the flipped classroom model in College English teaching, by utilizing professional assessment survey to investigate students' learning expectations and satisfaction.

Most researchers hold positive attitude for applying flipped classroom. However, the efficacy of highly interactive flipped classroom model still needs to be properly evaluated. In college second language teaching class, the interactive activities between teacher and students are critical to the learning effects. Therefore, this study intends to compare the teacher-students interactive behaviour characters between flipped classroom and conventional classroom, explores advantages in adopting the flipped classroom.

2. Research method

2.1. Identifying the initial research questions

1. What are the characters of teacher-student interaction in language learning Flipped Classroom Model (FCM)?

2. What are the characters of teacher-student interaction in language learning Traditional Classroom Model (TCM)?

3. By comparing the different characters of teacher-student interaction in FCM and TCM, explore whether FCM has the advantage to stimulate students' language learning.

2.2. Research design

Subjects are freshmen of applied chemistry major in Zhejiang Sci-tech University. There are 40 students in FCM and 40 students in TCM. The textbook is "New College English" published by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. The teaching content is Book II Unit 7 Bridging cultural Gaps Gracefully. Teaching objectives are helping students comprehend the text content, integrating the listening, speaking, reading and writing skills training; enhancing students' awareness of cross-cultural communication; cultivating the ability to introduce Chinese culture by English. The class activities of TCM plan are warming up questions, teacher- assisting text-reading comprehension, group discussion, and homework assignment. FCM teacher provides video and learning materials, assigns text related questions and class presentation before class, in the class, teacher checks the video comprehension, assists text reading and organizes class presentation and discussion, finally assigns homework.

2.3. Interaction analysis categories

The research method is instructed by the Flanders Interaction Analysis System, referred as FIAS, which was proposed by American educationist Ned. Flanders (1970). FIAS was an innovation which can help make possible significant insights into the analysis and improvement of instruction, by classifying the verbal behavior of teachers and pupils as they interact in the classroom (Veronica et al, 2015). Research procedure includes designing analysis category system, recording the verbal behavior, making the matrix table, calculating matrix, analyzing ratio and characteristic describing curves.

Flanders Interaction Analysis Categories (FIAS) is a Ten Category System of communication, in which seven categories are used for teacher talk and two for pupil talk and the tenth category is for silence or confusion. Combined with the research aim and teaching mode, we modify the system and divide it into 17 categories:

1. Direct influence of teacher: lecturing, directing, criticizing, demonstrating, correcting; indirect influence of teacher: encouraging and praising, adopting opinions, asking open questions, asking closed questions.

2. Student behaviors: passive response, active response, asking questions actively, discussing.

3. Silent activities: chaos, thinking questions, doing exercise, watching ppt. According to our research, a new category system is designed as Table 1 below.

3. Data collecting

We collected the data by recording two teaching videos of TCM and FCM. According to the category system in Table 1, the data was input in the Excel every 3 seconds. Each class we set the teaching process as 45 minutes, therefore 900 codes were obtained respectively from the videos. In order to demonstrate clearly, some sample codes of FCM are shown in Table 2.

According to the data, we made the matrix. Each row and column of the matrix represents 17 different categories in table 1. The number in each cell of matrix represents the occurring frequency of this particular code behavior. Take the tenth minute of FCM as an example to demonstrate how to make the matrix. According to Table 2, we recorded the data as 1, 1, 2, 8, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 8, 8, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 8, 8, 8, 2. These codes can be generated as 19 sequences, they are (1,1), (1,2), (2,8), (8,1), (1,1), (1,1), (1,2), (2,2), (2,8), (8,8), (8,1), (1,1), (1,1), (1,2), (2,2), (2,8), (8,8), (8,8), (8,2). In each sequences, we put the first code as the row number, the second code as the column number, therefore (2, 8) represents the cell in second row and the eighth column. If (2, 8) occurs 3 times, the number in the cell will be 3. The number in the cell can be added up with the same sequence, therefore we can find (2, 8) occurs 4 times in FCM. 112 in the cell of row 1 and column 1, which means lecturing behavior has occurred 112 times in the class. The matrixes of FCM is shown as Table 3.

4. Data analysis

4.1. Ratio analysis of FCM and TCM interaction behavior

According to the matrix, the ratio of teacher-student interaction behavior of FCM and TCM can be calculated with certain formula, the results and formula are shown as Table 4 and Table 5.

The ratio contrast of teacher's direct influence is FCM 49.5% vs. TCM 56.5%, indirect influence is FCM 40.3% vs. TCM 42.6%. This indicates both teachers of FCM and TCM pay attention to students' language practice, focusing on classroom interactive communication, both of them tend to provide more speaking opportunity for students. This result reflects language class teaching mode, in which teacher's vital task is setting the learning environment and organizing interactive activities, encouraging students to participate, stimulating students' active learning.

There are significant differences between the ratios of teacher's open questions: FCM 49.3% vs. TCM 11.9%, and teacher's closed questions: FCM 50.7% vs. TCM 88.1%. Closed questions have fixed answers, they can be answered by memorizing the learnt content, which is not helpful for language productive output. However, the open questions intrigue students in exploring new ideas, outputting language creatively, and therefore they encourage students' active learning. Language output hypothesis (Swain, 1985) believes that understandable output is important for the learner to obtain the grammar accuracy, expression consistency and pragmatic appropriateness. This result implies FCM reform the teaching process by reversing "learning knowledge in the classroom, digest it after class", it encourages students to self-learn the knowledge and related information before class on learning platform, while practice and digest the knowledge via class activities. In this experiment, FCM teacher designed many open questions to stimulate students' interest and cultivate their ability in applying second language to solve problems.

The ratio contrast of students' active response is FCM 47.4% vs. TCM 27.9%. According to Table 3, active response behaviors include students' expressing their ideas and opinions freely, making a statement in discussion, role playing, etc. In active response, the target language is hypothesized and used. During class activities, students can check the language usage with constant feedback which is from teacher or classmates. It promotes student's significant language output. Apparently, students in FCM perform better than those in TCM.

The ratio difference of class silent activities is also great, FCM 10.1% versus TCM 1.3%. The class silent activities cover Code 14 to 17, which includes the useless chaos, thinking problems, doing exercises, watching ppt, etc. From the matrix, it can be observed that both two classes have no chaos behavior. However, the time that students spent in thinking problems and doing exercises, FCM is much more than TCM. This result implies that FCM teacher pay more attention to cultivate the students' active thinking, and provide more opportunity for them to explore and apply new knowledge.

4.2.Analysis of interaction characteristic curve

To further study the interaction difference, we made interaction characteristic curve. In each figure, the horizontal axis represents the time with minute unit, and the vertical axis represents the behavior ratio of teacher or student in that minute. The curve figure intends to reflect behavior ratio change of teacher and students over time.

4.2.1. Teacher-student interaction frequency difference analysis

From Figure 1 and Figure 2 below, we can find the Teacher-student interaction frequency difference is obvious. In FCM, teacher interacts with students more frequently, teacher does not dominate the speaking activities, teacher and students take turns to speak. As Figure 1 shows, during minute 7-9, 9-11, 11-15, 24-26, 26-28, 28-30, 39-42, 42-44, students speak while teacher responses and gives feedback, or communicates instead of dominating the speaking activities. Review the class observation video tape, we find the teacher in FCM creates language environment, designs many activities, guides students to talk. At the same time, teacher joins the discussion and gives timely feedback while students are outputting languages. However, the curve character of TCM reflects that teacher-students take-turn deep interaction is less frequent. Similar interactive activities only appear during minute 9-13, 11-15, and 15-17. Most of the time, teacher dominates the class, students responses passively.

These interactions are very important for language learning. In the second language acquisition process, when learner outputs language creatively or communicates with prompt feedback, he can timely adjust and amend their language knowledge. The accuracy of language knowledge is built upon variety of language output. In the process, learner set assumptions, confirm or amend language knowledge by adopting feedback. It is a high-level processing of linguistic analysis, rather than superficially practicing language skills (Swain, 1985). Therefore, if teacher provides more positive and real interactions and feedback, learner will be benefited more in language learning. Thus, FCM has more advantages in encouraging students in language learning.

4.2.2. Teacher-student interaction character curve difference analysis

It can be seen from Figure 2 that during minute 1-9 and 17-31, the verbal activities of TCM teacher is much more than the students. According to the video observation, at the beginning, the teacher assigns some warm-up exercises to raise students' interest in classroom topic. Teacher dominates the class, mainly asks closed questions, followed with few open questions, and therefore students' response was passive. Then, teacher analyzes the text content and grammar points, we can find students verbal activity is at a relative low level, they still make some passive response. During minute 31-37, teacher's verbal activity is close to zero, indicating the teacher assigns the students to discuss with each other. During minute 37-41, students output language and speak. Although teacher provides some feedback, he is not involved in their discussion, since there is not strong interactive curve appearing.

However, Figure 1 curve character indicates FCM teacher and students run into verbal interaction state immediately during minute 0-5. The reason lies on the reform of teaching mode, students are assigned to preview video, learn some background information and read the text before class. Therefore, at the beginning of class, students can respond quickly to teacher's question. After the warming up activity, FCM teacher continues to conduct three rounds of intense interactive discussion, motivate students to participate. During minute 16-18 and 20-21, we find that the teacher-student verbal activities suddenly drop to very low level. According to video, teacher organizes students to think questions and do exercise. And then another three rounds of teacher-student verbal interactions are carried on. Students are encouraged to take part in the class interaction activities as more as possible. While in TCM class, students' performance is relative passive, they are mostly under the teacher's guidance and control.

From these teacher-student interaction character curves, it can imply that FCM innovates the classroom teaching process. It saves the time of informing the background knowledge, assigns students to carry on creative task, leaves more time for students to output language and solve problems in class. It can better motivate the students' enthusiasm and interest in participating interactive activities, therefore prompt students' language learning better.

5. Conclusions

By adopting and modifying FIAS, this study compares FCM and TCM teacher-student interaction behavior ratio and analyses interaction character curves. The result implies FCM may have the advantages in encouraging students to participate actively in class activities, and provides more opportunities in real language output while giving timely useful language feedback; therefore prompt students' second language learning. With the development of informative instructional technology, teaching mode in High Education institutions innovates, such as online course, flipped classroom, MOOC etc. They challenge teachers and students. For making the new teaching mode service our education better, we need further exploration and more case studies.

Recebido/Submission: 25/07/2016

Aceitacao/Acceptance: 10/10/2016


This research is supported by Higher Education Research Project of Zhejiang Province (No. KT2015055), Education and Teaching Reform Project of Zhejiang Sci-tech University (No. jgel201534) and General Research Project of Zhejiang Provincial Education Department (No. Y201534595).


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Chen, L. (2016). Empirical Research of College English Teaching Mode Based on Computer Network. RISTI--Revista Iberica de Sistemas e Tecnologias de Informagdo, (9), 77-87.

Critz, C. M., Knight, D. (2013). Using the flipped classroom in graduate nursing education. Journal of Nursing Education, 38(5), 210.

Flanders, N. A. (1970). Analysing teaching behaviour. MA: Addison--Wesley Publishing Company.

Gerstein, J. (2012). The flipped classroom model: A full picture.https://

Hamdan, N., McKnight, P. E., Arfstrom, K. M. (2013). A white paper based on the literature review: A review of flipped learning, from http://www.flippedlearning. org/cms/lib07/VA019233112/Centricity/Domain/41/WhitePaper_Flipped Learning.pdf

Kavadella, A., Tsiklakis, K., Vougiouklakis, G., Lionarakis, A. (2012). Evaluation of a blended learning course for teaching oral radiology to undergraduate dental students. European Journal of Dental Education, 16(1), e88-e95.

McLaughlin, J. E., Roth, M. T., Glatt, D. M. (2014). The flipped classroom: a course redesign to foster learning and engagement in a health professions school. Academic medicine, 89(2), 236-243.

Ruiz, J. G., Mintzer, M. J., Leipzig, R. M. (2006). The impact of e-learning in medical education. Academic medicine, 81(3), 207-212.

Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. In S. Gass & Madden (Eds.), Input in Second Language Acquisition. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Veronica, O. A. (2015). The Instructional Process: A Review of Flanders' Interaction Analysis in a Classroom Setting. International Journal of Secondary Education, 3(5), 43-49.

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Yanhua Jin


Zhejiang Sci-tech University, Hangzhou 310018, Zhejiang, China

Table 1--New Interaction Analysis Categories

Classi-      Code         Description            Contents


Direct       1            Lecturing              Provide information,
impact                                           objective facts,
             2            Directing              personal opinions,
                                                 cite authority,
                                                 explain teaching
                                                 steps, analyze the
                                                 text content etc.
                                                 Make instructions to
                                                 students, such as
                                                 start discussion,
                                                 stop doing
                                                 exercises, watch
                                                 video, read textbook

             3            Criticizing            Justify the
                                                 authority, blame

             4            Demonstrating          Demonstrate the
                                                 pronunciation and
                                                 right language

             5            Correcting             Correct the
                                                 pronunciation and
                                                 syntax error of

Indirect     6            Encouraging and        Encourage and praise
impact                    praising               the students'
                                                 language or

             7            Adopting opinions      Agree with the
                                                 students' opinions,
                                                 modify or repeat the
                                                 student's ideas,
                                                 apply the student's
                                                 view to solve the
                                                 problem, compare the
                                                 insights with other
                                                 students, and
                                                 summarize the
                                                 students' speaking

             8            Asking open            Propose the
                          questions              questions with
                                                 unknown answer which
                                                 are expressed by
                                                 students' individual
                                                 opinions, the main
                                                 purpose is to
                                                 encourage the
                                                 students to think
                                                 actively and express

             9            Asking closed          Propose the
                          questions              questions with fixed
                                                 answer, the main
                                                 purpose is to check
                                                 whether the students
                                                 understand the
                                                 knowledge or facts.

                                                 Propose the
                                                 questions that can
                                                 be answered by all
                                                 students. Propose
                                                 the questions with
                                                 answers are "yes" or
                                                 "no" in order to
                                                 arouse students'
                                                 response. Freedom to
                                                 express own ideas is

Student      10           Passive response       Response to Code 9.
                                                 Students briefly
11                                               answer teacher's
12                                               question with "yes"
13                                               or "no". The teacher
                                                 designates some
                                                 students to answer
                                                 the questions with
                                                 fixed answer. The
                                                 students are not
                                                 allowed to express
                                                 their ideas or
                                                 opinions freely.
                                                 Students reading,
                                                 repeat after
                                                 answer the question
                                                 in chorus.

             Active       Response to Code 8.
             response     The students express
                          their ideas and
                          opinions freely.

                          The students make a
                          statement in
                          discussion, role
                          playing etc.

             Asking       Students initiate
             question     topic by asking
             actively     questions.

             Discussing   Discussion between
                          teacher and students
                          or students in
                          groups, pairs, etc.

Silent       14           Chaos                  Temporary pause,
activities                                       silence or chaos
15                                               insignificant to
16                                               teaching or
17                                               learning. No
                                                 between teacher and

             Thinking     Silence when the
             questions    students are
                          thinking questions.

             Doing        Students do
             exercises    exercises

             Watching     The students watch
             ppt          ppt, but there is no
                          between teacher and

Table 2--Coding Diagram of FCM

min/sec   3    6    9    12   15   18   21   24   27   30   33   36

1         1    1    1    1    9    9    9    10   10   9    9    10
2         2    1    1    1    1    2    2    1    1    1    1    9
10        1    1    2    8    1    1    1    2    2    8    8    1

min/sec   39   42   45   48   51   54   57  60

1         7    7    7    1    1    1    1   1
2         9    10   9    10   10   6    6   7
10        1    1    2    2    8    8    8   2

Table 3--FCM matrix analysis

        1     2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10

1       112   36   0    4    2    1    1    6    10   3
2       19    39   0    1    1    1    0    10   8    3
3       0     0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0
4       3     0    0    2    0    1    0    2    1    3
5       1     0    0    3    3    0    0    0    0    1
6       12    3    0    0    0    3    5    1    2    0
7       8     0    0    0    2    14   6    2    0    0
8       6     4    0    0    0    0    0    14   0    0
9       1     5    0    0    0    0    0    0    11   20
10      11    1    0    2    0    3    8    0    3    20
11      1     1    0    0    0    5    13   0    0    0
12      1     0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0
13      1     1    0    0    0    0    0    0    2    0
14      0     0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0
15      1     1    0    0    0    0    0    1    0    0
16      0     1    0    0    0    0    0    1    1    0
17      2     1    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0
Total   179   93   0    12   8    28   33   37   38   50

        11    12   13     14   15   16   17   Total

1       3     0    0      0    0    0    1    179
2       3     0    1      0    1    2    4    93
3       0     0    0      0    0    0    0    0
4       0     0    0      0    0    0    0    12
5       0     0    0      0    0    0    0    8
6       2     0    0      0    0    0    0    28
7       1     0    0      0    0    0    0    33
8       11    0    1      0    1    0    0    37
9       0     0    0      0    1    0    0    38
10      0     0    0      0    1    0    1    50
11      143   2    0      0    0    0    0    165
12      1     1    0      0    0    0    0    3
13      0     0    126    0    0    0    0    130
14      0     0    0      0    0    0    0    0
15      0     0    0      0    3    1    0    7
16      0     0    0      0    0    63   0    66
17      1     0    2      0    0    0    8    14
Total   165   3    130    0    7    66   14   863

Table 4--Ratio analysis of teacher's direct influence and
indirect influence

Variables             Formula                  FCM     TCM

Ratio of teacher      [9.summation over        49.5%   56.5%
language              (i=1)] y Row(i) /
                      [17.summation over
                      (i=1)] Row(i) x 100

Ratio of student      [13.summation over       40.3%   42.6%
language              (i=10)] y Row(i) /
                      [17.summation over
                      (i=1)] Row(i) x 100

Ratio of teacher's    [5.summation over        33.8%   43.1%
direct influence      (i=1)] y Row(i) /
                      [17.summation over
                      (i=1)] Row(i) x 100

Ratioof teacher's     [9.summation over        15.8%   13%
indirect influence    (i=6)] y Row(i) /
                      [17.summation over
                      (i=1)] Row(i) x 100

Table 5--Ratio analysis of teacher's questions and student's

Variables              Formula                   FCM     TCM

Ratio of teacher's     Row(8) /                  49.3%   11.9%
open questions         [9.summation over
                       (i=8)] Row(i) x 100

Ratio of teacher's     Row(9) /                  50.7%   88.1%
closed questions       [9.summation over
                       (i=8)] Row(i) x 100

Ratio of students'     Row(11) /                 47.4%   27.9%
active response        [13.summation over
                       (i=10)] Row(i) x 100

Ratio of students'     Row(10) /                 14.3%   29.8%
passive response       [13.summation over
                       (i=10)] Row(i) x 100

Ratio of silent        [17.summation over        10.1%   1.3%
activities             (i=8)]Row(i) /
                       [17.summation over
                       (i=1)] Row(i) x 100
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Author:Jin, Yanhua
Publication:RISTI (Revista Iberica de Sistemas e Tecnologias de Informacao)
Date:Nov 15, 2016
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