This paper reviews the Flipped Classroom model’s standards, taking into account the theory of some of the studying approaches, including the possible outcomes that can bring benefits for students’ academic writing skills. Addressing the goal of advancing students’ writing skills, Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory is considered one of the main ideas, being useful for creating the suggested model outline; it also can be examined through analysis and practice.
Due to the FC model, teachers’ adequate classroom time utilization seems to be more crucial compared to the material with instruction in video format being observed outside the classroom (Bergman & Sams, 2012). (Study 1) According to See and Conry (2014) and Krathwohl (2002), concerning cognitive development, the concept of the flipping classroom helps to move the low levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, including understanding and remembering, outside the class and charge in-class time with higher reflection abilities such as creating, assessing, examining, and practicing.
The crucial element is Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, which can be explored to represent the education methods inside and outside the classroom and to advance students’ academic writing performance.
The Socio-Cultural Theory
Teaching practices can be evaluated through the perspective of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. According to Wang et al. (2011), its appearance at the beginning of the 20th century impacted scholars’ research as most studies concentrated on education’s cognitive side. Nevertheless, Vygotsky’s theory (1978) highlighted the sociocultural determinants of learning.
In this approach, Vygotsky proposed considering the social environment not as one of the factors, but as the primary source of personality development and education. De Valenzuela (2006) claims that Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of cognitive development also suggests that human learning is mainly a social process. The evolution of thinking skills, perception, memory, and other mental functions occur through the stage of external activity (John-Steiner & Mahn, 1996; Lantolf, 2000).
Vygotsky disagrees with other studies, arguing that learning precedes development and the development of the child occurs only as the process is worked outdoes the activity of mental functions collapse, internalize, rotate, move from the external to the internal plane, and become intrapsychic (Wertsch & Tulviste, 1992).
According to Vygotsky, language plays a critical role in developing higher mental functions (Lantolf, 2000). Speech is a powerful method of adapting the intellect since initial language is formed during social interaction; meanwhile, later it turns into inner speech, that is, into the thought of a person; therefore, speech creates the mind. Van Der Stuyf (2002) claims that the lack of social communication may impede the education and further development of a person. Hence, the approach emphasizes the readiness and ability to master and perform various activities that ensure its success in the surrounding sociocultural environment (Barnard & Campbell, 2005).
Zone of Proximal Development
Vygotsky elaborated on the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) in the late 1920s. In his book (1978), it was explained that the zone of proximal development is an area limited on two sides: on the one hand, the child can successfully act independently; on the other, where he cannot successfully act even in cooperation with an adult.
There are two levels in the ZPD context; first is the student’s skills at the moment and his or her ability to increase their performance due to qualified adult or peer assistance. The most benefits can be achieved through interactions with teachers and other learners, being more advanced, and providing adequate help. Roosevelt (2008) explains that a proper educational atmosphere is essential, and the problem-solving assignments should be met with enthusiasm, while the teacher challenges students to do tasks providing needed aid. As a result, work can be accomplished by students.
The task should be exact in the students’ ZPD to prevent situations when the interest is lost, and frustration and boredom do not allow students to complete it. Murray and Arroyo (2002) emphasize that the level of challenge in these tasks should be evaluated in terms of the number of students’ failed attempts.
According to Chaiklin (2003), the ZPD notion is based on Vygotsky’s perceptions of the fact that imitation takes the fundamental function in children’s education. For Vygotsky, it is not merely copying; it contains understanding the processes in solving the problem. The word “imitation” should be accurately used when explaining Vygotsky’s theory.
Moreover, educators should be informed of ‘maturing psychological processes,’ not being recognized by learners working independently; they arise in case students work together with an authority or a competent peer (Vygotsky, 1987, as cited in Chaiklin, 2003). Therefore, teachers are urged to give imitation possibilities through collaboration and communication, which can help discover these maturing functions and reach a level of autonomy in students’ achievement.
Teachers should also pay great attention to collaboration quality. Furthermore, the students’ ZPD extent affects the positive outcomes of collaboration. Educators know potential improvement domains being hidden in their students’ present performance. According to Vygotsky (1986), the need for instructions is debatable as it can be useful only if they profit those functions used in maturing processes. (Study 4) According to Pearson (2013), flipping the classroom creates active, engaged, student-centered learning, peer interactions, and personalized instruction.
Teachers can establish the writing lesson’s content through video assignments. The principles of the FCI can be summarized as having a situation where “teachers shift direct learning out of the large group learning space and move it into the individual learning space, with the help of one of several technologies” (Pearson, 2013, p. 40). Wells (1999) claims that the educational environment demands the scaffolding methods for better applying the ZPD model in educational settings.
Scaffolding in Learning
There is a link between the concept of ZPD and scaffolding (Wells, 1999). The collaborative process, being adopted in Vygotsky’s theory, is used to allow students to perform an unachievable task in terms of individual work successfully. Consequently, studies and researchers use a teacher or peer scaffolding to explore its educational process benefits. Nevertheless, some of the literature suggests that the term might decrease the notion of ZPD.
For instance, according to Stone (1998) and Verenikina (2008), teachers can return to the straightforward conservative one-way dialogue due to scaffolding methods when the educator becomes the only source of information, while the role of students of recipients diminishes. Some works highlighted that in addition to teachers’ supportive role, the sociocultural theory’s value is that students could self-educate through the maintenance of deep interaction and mutual help (Storch, 2005; Yong, 2010). (Study 3) According to Graham (2006), blended teaching is an instructional model for several decades.
It applies to any educational system that combines technology-assisted or computer-mediated guidance in standard face-to-face instruction. Class (2009) claims that enhancing students’ learning experiences is the primary focus of this concept, achieving it through exploiting convenient methods to follow multiple education objectives.The correlation between scaffolding and Vygotsky’s notion of ZPD includes dialogue and exchange to gain knowledge. Hartman (2002) claims that the most targeted skills are autonomy and self-regulation in scaffolding implementation in the learning process.
Some of the researchers analyze Vygotsky’s theory, trying to define the implementation of scaffolding in the educational process. This process organizes the atmosphere where a student can have the most effective results, taking control of the task (Bruner, 1983). According to Bruner (1983), the question concerns the task achievability gained through proper guidance and assistance. (Study 2) Nederveld and Berge (2015) emphasized that students may focus on higher-level learning assignments due to FC, for example, group conversation instead of performing lower-level thinking tasks, including listening to lectures and comprehension.
With regard to another study provided by Van Lier (1996), the scaffolding approach’s realization is possible in circumstances of appropriate, reliable learning ambiance and natural speaking environment, which should inspire a person to continue studying. Moreover, it should contribute to further work, guarantee needed support, and achieve educational goals without fear of failure. Due to these factors, task management might become ultimately accessible by students excluding advanced peers’ aid.
There are six steps of scaffolding implementation: the first is recruitment, sustaining the students’ concentration, the second is freedom degree lessening, which means the decrease of the number of the elements for completing the assignment (Wood et al., 1976). The third one concerns direction carrying, making students focus on the study; next, it is essential to establish critical points, determining the teacher’s feedback for accurate performance (Wood et al., 1976).
The fifth action is taking into consideration frustration appearing within the educational process, and, finally, there should be a demonstration, including modeling the assignments for the students (Wood et al., 1976). Meanwhile, according to Sam (2018), the target focuses on three primary stages: modeling, support, and fading. In the beginning, the behavior is presented as a guide, then the student accepts approval to act, and lastly, the aid declines as he or she becomes competent in working by himself or herself.
The Socio-Cultural Theory and Teaching Writing in EFL Contexts
Sociocultural theory has affected considerably on second-language education. The value of the sociocultural connection in language learning is highlighted due to this approach. For instance, Donato and McCormick (1994) claim that educational institutions such as schools and classrooms are used to be reviewed through context where cultural communication is critical in students’ cognitive growth. It leads to the fact that human intercommunications and conversation converted important segments to language learning.
Concerning EFL, in terms of indicating the current level of education and skills by instructors or proficient peers, the social activity might take different forms. For example, Hartman (2002) argues that there are questions, clues, and modeling. One of the most popular scaffolding methods is asking questions (Cazden, 1988). This system promotes teachers’ and students’ communication; moreover, it brings together the whole learners’ community (Amerian et al., 2014). According to Kim (2010), teachers stimulate scholars’ reflection skills while using the question technique and give feedback and guidance.
The question of the implementation sociocultural model of Vygotsky should be continuously studied to enhance the education process in conditions of some language-learning circumstances, examining the pedagogical use of the theory on writing skills. Several advantages were obtained in various student’s writing; the results were described in researches provided by a large number of scientists (Byrd, 2003; Cotteral & Cohen, 2003; De Guerrero & Villamil, 2000; Kepner, 1991; Lalande, 1982; Paton, 2002; Rezaei, 2012; Schwieter, 2010; Storch, 1999).
The first evidence created by Schwieter (2010) analyzes scaffolding methods in a writing session, during which teachers were giving feedback. The research reports that the forms of scaffolding brought positive outcomes in terms of students’ L2 writing skills. It was detected that the changes usually occurred in the later essays and revisions of their papers. Besides, there is another study, carried to find out of how theacher’s communication affects academy learners’ writing.
Cotteral and Cohen (2003) claim that there are many pros in using scaffolding techniques, especially concerning the writing accuracy. Moreover, according to Rezaei (2012), who compared using such a method by educators and peers in university writing classes for ESL students, both ways can be considered useful. Nevertheless, Rezaei (2012) notes that as long as a teacher presents more significant scaffolding opportunities, students usually show more high-grade performance due to instructor scaffolding. Consequently, according to Flower (1994), this methodic maintains the viewpoint of writing as a talkative and socially-situated act.
With regard to the opposite side of scaffolding methods, for instance, some studies analyze the influence of all three aspects of the model, including teacher, peer, and class scaffolding, on EFL scholars’ writing progress (Amerian et al., 2014). Notwithstanding the benefits of professor scaffolding on learners’ writing, neither the experimental group nor the control group did not achieve better results.
Moreover, according to the study’s results, there was no considerable impact on peer and class scaffolding on EFL learners’ writing skills improvement. Meanwhile, the conclusion is that cultural context plays an enormous role in the implementation manner. The article concerns the educational system in Iran, having teacher-driven and monologue-based features until the moment of the examination (Amerian et al., 2014).
This leads to the outcome that the notable growth of writing competencies also demands more time to present. Sociocultural theory can explain this case as education structure has a long-time consequence on students’ cognitive development. Therefore, after implementing methods, there cannot be an immediate change, requiring the period prolongation for adopting these systems.
Besides, the article suggests that teachers should be aware and adequately adapt the techniques based on sociocultural theory (Amerian et al., 2014). According to Amerian et al. (2014), educators should prepare students, especially for collective work in some of the individualistic communities where collaborative work is not wide-spread. Amerian et al. (2014) argue that a teacher aims to stimulate students to tolerate opinions and ideas differences through the conversation and group work, reflect on the assignments, and consider all their mistakes to perform better.
These intentions should avoid possibly missing the essence of the fading away stage, which may occur as students mostly do the tasks themselves (Amerian et al., 2014). It would be impossible to develop understanding without this step. Alternatively, the possible outcome consists of further teacher’s dependence, being unfavorable from the sociocultural theory’s perspective as it should encourage sovereignty in learners.
Draft of Design Principles Based on Initial Theoretical Framework
- Two key aspects should be considered in the FC model: (a) group/interactive education assignments inside the classroom, and (b) individual tasks using the technical materials, including videos, provided to the learners before the course time outside the school (Bishop & Verleger, 2013; Butt, 2014; Strayer, 2012).
- With the assistance of formative and summative assessment, students’ comprehension, skills, and experiences should be evaluated (Al-Zahrani, 2015; Brame, 2013).
- There should be appropriate and consistent technology implementation to the classwork, taking into account the purpose of educational activities and their location; materials should be provided in all stages, including before the class, during the study, and outside of the class (Gruba & Hinkelman, 2012; Strayer, 2012).
- Teachers and students should create and maintain positive relations (Parsons & Taylor, 2011) with educators’ guaranteed support and the stimulating interest among learners to continue their study.
- Teachers’ role is determined by their abilities to become leaders, facilitators, navigators, and/or organizers (Güvenç, 2018; Pavanelli, 2018).
- Students should know teachers’ expectations of self‐direction towards them, while the latter should encourage them to further learning (Al-Zahrani, 2015; Brewer & Movahedazarhouligh, 2018).
- The purpose of teaching is to provide enough time by educators and manage tailored support, giving feedback to help students learn from mistakes and achieve mastery (Brewer & Movahedazarhouligh, 2018; Ekmekçı̇, 2014).
- Students’ capability to take responsibility for their education can be developed through teachers’ assistance, inspiring sovereignty, higher reflection, and problem-solving competencies (Gasmi, 2016).
- Learning processes outside the class should concentrate on students’ lower cognitive skills, while inside, there should be tasks taking into account higher cognitive skills (Brame, 2013; Strayer, 2012).
- Education should offer students scaffolding methods with peers interactions or their teachers’ support whenever required, and as long as students become more advanced, these methods should be diminished (Bruner, 1983).