Flanders Interaction Analysis System (FIACS)

Flanders Interaction Analysis Categories System (FIACS) Technique
According to Flanders, originally developed Flanders Interaction Analysis. Flanders Interaction Analysis system was designed to categorize the types and quantity of verbal interaction in the classroom and to plot the information on a matrix so that it could be analyzed and interpreted. The results gave a picture as to who was talking in the classroom, how much and kind of talking that took place. Flanders Interaction Analysis became widely used coding system to analyze and improve teacher student interaction pattern.
Flanders Interaction Analysis is a system for coding spontaneous verbal communication. Interaction could either be observed in a live classroom or in a tape recording. Whichever, the coding system is applied to analyze and improve the teacher – student interaction pattern. For every 3 seconds, the observer writes down the category number of the interaction that has observed. Writer records these numbers in sequence in a column. Writer will write approximately 20 numbers per minute and at the end of a period of time, writer will have several long columns of numbers.
FIAC is based on ten analytical categories that reflects Flanders’ conceptualization of teacher–pupil verbal interaction. Each of the categories has a number, but no scale is implied. In his book Analyzing Teaching Behavior, Flanders described the ten categories in detail, In order to help memorize the categories and make coding easier, one can shorten the descriptions of the categories.
Based on the explanation above, the writer concludes that Flanders’ interaction Analysis is for identifying, classifying, and observing classroom verbal interaction. It means that Flanders’ interaction Analysis help the writer to identify classroom interaction during teaching and learning process in classifying the interaction into the teacher talk, students talk, and silence.
Flanders established ten Interaction Analysis Categories (FIAC) to describe the teaching and learning processes according to the classroom language. These are as follows:

  1. Teacher talk
     Accepts feeling: Feelings may be positive or negative and their calculation and eliciting are included.
     Praises or encourages: it is includes positive talk, general discussion, telling jokes, nodding head or using phrases like ‘Good! Go on’.
     Accepts or uses ideas of pupils: the teacher simplifies or develops students’ ideas.
     Asks questions: Questions may be about content or procedure.
     Lectures: Gives facts or views about content or technique.
     Gives directions, commands or orders.
     Criticizes or justifies authority: E.g. statements intended to change pupils’ behavior.
  2. Pupil/students talk
     Response: Teacher initiates contact. Not all ideas are freely expressed.
     Initiation: Freedom to express their own ideas, initiate a topic, etc.
  3. Silence
     Silence or confusion: Pauses, short periods of silence, confusion and blankness.
    Flander Interaction Analysis Category System (FIACS) records what teachers and students say during teaching and learning process. Besides that, the technique allows the teachers see exactly what kind of verbal interaction that they use and what kind of response is given by the students.
    FIACS provides ten categories to classify classroom verbal interaction including into three groups, namely, teacher, student talk, and silence or confusion. Each classroom verbal interaction will be coded at the end of three seconds period. It means that at three seconds interval, the observer will decide which best category of teacher and student talk represents the completed communication. These categories will be put into columns of observational sheet to preserve the original sequence of events after the writer do plotting the coded data firstly. Flanders’ interaction Analysis help the writer to identify classroom interaction during teaching and learning process in classifying the interaction into the teacher talk, students talk, and silence.

C. Procedures Of FIACS
The procedures for using the Flanders system are quite straightforward. Observers are first trained until they show a high level of agreement with other trained observers. Once they have been trained, they watch a lesson and apply the technique as follows using a coding sheet.

  1. Every three seconds the observer writes down the category best describing the verbal behavior of the teacher in the class.
  2. The numbers are written in sequence across the data sheet.
  3. Each line of the data sheet contains 20 squares, thus representing approximately one minute of time.
  4. Separate ‘episodes’ can be identified by scribbled margin notes, and a new line commenced for a new ‘episode’.
  5. In a research project, the observer would have a pocket timer designed to give a signal every three seconds, thus reminding them to record a tally (a mobile phone can be used).
  6. Accept Feeling
     In this category, teacher accepts the feelings of the students.
     He feels himself that the students should not be punished for exhibiting his feelings.
     Feelings may be positive or negative.
  7. Praise or Encouragement
     Teacher praises or encourages student action or behavior.
     When a student gives answer to the question asked by the teacher, the teacher gives positive reinforcement by saying words like ‘good’, ‘very good’, ‘better’, ‘correct’, ‘excellent’, ‘carry on’, etc.
  8. Accept or Uses Ideas of Students
     It is just like 1st category. But in this category, the students ideas are accepted only and not his feelings.
     If a student passes on some suggestions, then the teacher may repeat in nutshell in his own style or words.
     The teacher can say, ‘I understand what you mean’ etc. Or the teacher clarifies, builds or develops ideas or suggestions given by a student.
  9. Asking Question
     Asking question about content or procedures, based on the teacher ideas and expecting an answer from the students.
     Sometimes, teacher asks the question but he carries on his lecture without receiving any answer. Such questions are not included in this category.
    B. Direct Talk
  10. Lecturing/Lecture
     Giving facts or opinions about content or procedure expression of his own ideas, giving his own explanation, citing an authority other than students, or asking rhetorical questions
  11. Giving Directions
     The teacher gives directions, commands or orders or initiation with which a student is expected to comply with:
    • Open your books.
    • Stand up on the benches.
    • Solve 4th sum of exercise 5.3.
  12. Criticizing or Justifying Authority
     When the teacher asks the students not to interrupt with foolish questions, then this behavior is included in this category.
     Teachers ask ‘what’ and ‘why’ to the students also come under this category.
     Statements intended to change student behavior from unexpected to acceptable pattern
     Bawling someone out
     Stating why the teacher is doing what he is doing
  13. Student Talk Response
     It includes the students talk in response to teacher’s talk.
     Teacher asks question, student gives answer to the question.
  14. Student Talk Initiation
     Talk by students that they initiate.
     Expressing own ideas; initiating a new topic; freedom to develop opinions and a line of thought like asking thoughtful questions; going beyond the existing structure.
  15. Silence or Pause or Confusion
     Pauses, short periods of silence and period of confusion in which communication cannot be understood by the observer.

Advantages of FIAC

  1. The analysis of matrix is so dependable that even a person not present when observations were made could make accurate inferences about the verbal communication and get a mental picture of the classroom interaction
  2. Different matrices can be made and used to compare the behavior of teachers at different age levels, sex, subject-matter etc.
  3. This analysis would serve as a vital feedback to the teacher or teacher trainee about his/her intentions and actual behavior in the classroom. The supervising or inspecting staff can also easily follow this system.
  4. It is an effective tool to measure the social-emotional climate in the classroom.

E. Disadvantages of FIAC

  1. The system does not describe the totality of the classroom activity. Some behaviour is always overlooked and who is to say that the unrecorded aspects of the teaching act are more important than those recorded.
  2. Efforts to describe teaching are often interpreted as evaluation of the teaching act and of the teacher. While descriptions may be used as a basis of evaluation, judgment can be made only after additional value assumptions are identified and applied to data
  3. The system of interaction analysis is content-free. It is concerned primarily, with social skills of classroom management as expressed through verbal communication.
  4. It is costly and cumbersome and requires some form of automation in collecting and analyzing the raw data. It is not a finished research tool.
  5. Much of the inferential power of this system of interaction analysis comes from tabulating the data as sequence of pairs in a 10 x 10 matrix. This is a time consuming process.
  6. Once the high cost of tedious tabulation (electric computers) is under control but the problem of training reliable observers and maintaining their reliability will still remain.
  7. Its potential as a research tool for a wide application to problems is to be explored.