Piera Jung Flipped Learning Story

Interview with Piera Jung, Nursing

The Challenge

In year one of Nursing, students learn fancy terms such as phenomenology, critical social theory and empirical perspectives. These terms are significant and foundational to students’ disciplinary knowledge and inquiry as future nurses. Yet first-year nursing students often struggle with these theoretical perspectives, failing to understand how there can be multiple ways to provide nursing care, each based in Nursing Theory.

To help students with this challenge, I had them read up on the definitions of these terms on their own, so that when they came to class, they would have a basic awareness of the meaning of the terms. In class, I posted pictures up on PowerPoint and had several statements or questions related to each picture. Students were asked to think about what they were noticing in the picture and to pick a statement/question that most represented their thoughts at that moment. An example is below:

screenshot    of PowerPoint question example

The students then entered their choice using iClickers. The students’ choices were reflected back to the class showing how one picture easily elicited many different perspectives or ways of thinking about nursing practice.

I found that the iClickers provided a sense of safety through anonymity because the results gathered were a representation of the whole class rather than individual responses. We then held a discussion on how the different perspectives helped us to notice certain things, ask different questions, and make good nursing decisions. Through discussion and comparison of their own preferred perspective with others’, the students came to the conclusion that all three perspectives were important.

Results

This activity helped my students to grasp that there are multiple ways of thinking about a situation, and the way they see the situation will impact any decision they make. This is significant learning for nursing students in terms of clinical judgment.

My students were able to articulate that even though they may have had a strong preference for a particular perspective, they appreciated how their peers may hold other perspectives. Through dialogue, we then talked about how these perspectives lead us to care for clients in different ways. We also talked about how only using one perspective may or may not be of best interest for clients.

Flipped learning offered students the opportunity to struggle through hard-to-understand concepts and provided space in the classroom for students to help each other to make sense of their learning.

Flipped learning made it OK for students to make mistakes and learn together by unpacking what was in their minds and then reconstructing with their peers.

In the following semester, working with the same group of students, I found they were able to refer back to the picture activity and could speak about the varying perspectives nurses bring to their work with clients. Students had come away knowing and understanding how the concepts impact their future practice rather than merely being able to spit back the definitions.

What would I do differently next time?
  • At the end of class, make sure to reserve time to review the document the students read as homework to clarify and further support their understanding.
  • As evidence of their learning, do a minute paper asking students to articulate their understanding of each perspective.

How did this experiment affect me as a teacher?

This activity changed my teaching in that I did not focus in on the definition of the terms, but rather, focused in on what and how the terms impact my students’ thinking. I was able to see more clearly where the students were struggling, and I myself became less focused on students just getting the words “right”, and more focused on the process of their thinking and learning.

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