Instructional choices, student participation, and the construction of knowledge in a social studies learning environment
The purpose of this action research study was to explore the impact instructional choices had on student participation in the classroom learning environment, growth of knowledge in social studies, and self-efficacy in the learning process. The instructional choices implemented through a flipped learning instructional approach were designed to target motivation and participation in the learning process via individualized student-learning opportunities. This action research study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of collaborative student-centered learning environments to traditional instructional style learning environments. This study provided students with opportunities to analyze, think critically of, and apply studied content in a Participation in Government course to their personal lives through experiential out-of-class assignments and collaborative hands-on in-class activities. The theoretical foundations for this study include social cognitive theory, theory of self-efficacy, and social constructivism. Participants included 32 high school seniors from the High School of Fashion Industries in New York, NY. Participants completed a pre-/post-self-efficacy survey, pre/posttest measuring their knowledge of government, and several short interviews. Eight participants, four from the Treatment group and four from the Control group, completed a semi-structured interview at the conclusion of the study. Results showed participants experienced an increase in self-efficacy and participation in the learning process. Participants from the Treatment group outperformed the participants from the Control group with regards to knowledge of government. In the discussion, outcomes related to the theoretical frameworks and the problem of practice were discussed. Finally, limitations and a discussion regarding future iterations of the action research in a larger context were outlined.