If we introduce flipped classes in Nepal, it could be effective. Students can watch videos as often as they wish or until they understand the concept. They do not have to do any homework but understand the text. They can note down some important points in their notebook and discuss them in the class
Flipped class is a teaching method in which teachers record videos, the contents of the courses of the curriculum and upload on the internet, especially on the YouTube.
Flipped class reverses traditional learning techniques by instructing students and giving subject matters, courses and other contents outside the classroom, primarily using online sources. It breaks the traditional method of assigning homework to the students.
It emphasizes the active participation of students in the teaching and learning process in which students can watch online lectures at home as many times as they like and discuss about it in the classroom.
Flipped class helps students to carry out their research at home by listening to the lectures. They can fill the gap of absence in case they fail to be present in the class.
This method could be of tremendous assistance to the students who are still deprived of proper educational access, ample facilities of books and efficient teachers. Despite its crucial role in education there are some limitations to implement them in developing countries like Nepal.
Although flipped class sounds strange, it is not completely new if we look into history.
The first flipped class concept was coined by Harvard professor Eric Mazur in 1997 who contributed significantly for its development what he called peer instruction in his book Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual. In this book he has given new ideas to move information and instructions to other place, including home.
In other words, students don’t have to be compulsorily in the classroom to know their contents and courses. Through this technique, students get real learning rather than depending fully upon the lectures.
Mazur rejects traditional methods of teaching students through lecture methods and argues that if they are taught by teachers continuously they do not learn effectively.
Only exceptional teachers may succeed in drawing their attention, but only for a certain period of time. He shares problems he faced while teaching in Harvard University while students were requesting him for more and more examples for understanding the problem.
Mazur admits that they do not involve in solving the problems; rather they expect their teachers to devise the glitches in lecture methods. When he was teaching physics in his class, he distributed notes to the students in every semester.
They were elated in the beginning but later they realized that they did not learn how to solve the problems. Thus, he decided to change the methodologies through peer instruction i.e. flipped class.
Students in many remote areas are compelled to appear for exams without books, reading places and teachers. Many children just appear for exams without learning anything. They do not know what good education should be.
If we introduce flipped classes in Nepal, it could be effective. Students can watch videos as often as they wish or until they understand the concept.
They do not have to do any homework but understand the text. They can note down some important points in their notebook and discuss them in the class.
When they go to the class, they can ask questions one by one or group-wise. If they fail to understand any concept, they can discuss it with their teachers. Teachers simply guide students to work or carry out projects.
Moreover, it can be more effective to the children in remote parts of the country. They can use online or download the videos so that they can use them at any time. As the videos are recorded by experts, teachers can also learn teaching methodologies and apply them when teaching.
However, there are complications to use the flipped class in Nepal for several reasons. First, there are not enough trained teachers to record the videos in such a way that students can learn without the presence of teachers.
As these videos are for all kinds of students, teachers may not be able to make all students clear because sometimes they have to use very simple methods to explain. Second, there is not internet access in most parts of Nepal. People even do not know how to use websites and download them.
They may have to walk hours in remote places to get videos.
Even if they get access to them, it is costly. Third, the concept is new for many people so they may not believe in flipped classes. Parents may think that their children are being spoiled because of excessive dependency on the internet.
The children may depend on the explanation of teachers all the time in problem-solving instead of solving it by themselves. Last but not least, absenteeism of students can increase because they think that if they miss class, they can make up by looking at the videos.
Consequently, the student-teacher relationship may decrease.
The main focus of flipped class and its aims is providing flipped class materials to the underprivileged children throughout the country, especially in the countryside where the children suffer a lot owing to various reasons like scarcity of course books, lack of experienced teachers, lack of well-equipped classrooms etc.
Many students do not know even how to read Nepali and English texts.
The recorded video tutorials will help them to be adept in reading, writing and speaking appropriately.
A version of this article appears in print on June 24, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.