Table of Content

Flipped Classroom In Nepal - Ramji Acharya

Flipped classroom is a systematic pedagogy to establish the relationship between classroom and outside world (Harmer, 2015, 205). Nepalese Context

Flipped Classroom In Nepal

A flipped classroom is a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school. This is the reverse of the more common practice of introducing new content at school and then assigning homework and projects to be completed by the students independently at home.   The flipped classroom is a systematic pedagogy to establish the relationship between the classroom and the outside world (Harmer, 2015, 205). The major assumption of flipped classrooms is to give more access to the students about content to be delivered in a particular class. It is a blended mode of lesson delivery during the class as students are given materials to study beforehand. While talking about the blended mode of language teaching we can't ignore the role of technology. The term technology keeps a certain area secure within the flipped classroom so that while talking of defining the flipped classroom pedagogy we can’t keep technology aside as the flipped classroom is the essential component of blended language teaching.  Giving space for the student's understanding in the class is one of the major characteristics of flipped classrooms. The attractions of the flipped classroom are especially evident when we consider CLIL-based curricula (Harmer, 2015, 206).

The idea of the blend is that the teachers and students work with an interconnected mix of books, classroom presentations and activities and digital resources. In the blended learning approach of teaching the teachers deliver the lesson with the help of a textbook and finally lead students towards the digital tools and resources prepared for the day's class. The four basic pillars of flipped learning model [F-L-I-P] are namely; flexible environment, learning culture, intentional content and professional educators. A flexible environment refers to an environment that adjusts lessons or units according to the need. Learning culture is a model which shifts the teacher-centred traditional model with the student-centred model, where students are provided opportunities to explore, learn and evaluate. Intentional content is a method used by educators to maximally utilize the classroom time using active learning strategies, peer instruction, problem-based learning, case-based learning and others. (Shrestha et al., n.d.) Professional Educators are reflective in their practice, accept constructive criticism and tolerate controlled classroom chaos.

Practices in Nepal

The flipped pedagogy is a widely accepted phenomenon, even though teachers are not well aware of its basic principle. The way people understand flipped pedagogy and its basic principles have a wide range of distances. As flipped classrooms demand a more flexible learning environment for the students and teachers are more likely to provide ample opportunities and resources to explore the topic by the students, teachers are confined to students in Zoom and video conferencing, and Students have only the textbook in the name of references. Teachers are more likely to rely on the prescribed textbooks. Even some teachers never look into the broader objectives of the National curriculum. In this scenario, the practices of flipped classroom pedagogy have been limited in the following points.

Online Learning

As the philosophy of flipped classrooms is structurally connected with technology (Mitra & Rana, 2001) the influence of current practices in pandemics can be viewed as flipped classroom practices. During the COVID Pandemic, teachers faced a wider range of tension to run online classes. They even run online exams. The validity and reliability of the exam during the pandemic, using online tools are a matter of research however in my understanding until the teachers are well trained for the online assessment the ICT integrated evaluation has low reliability in comparison to the traditional evaluation systems as teachers followed the same pattern of evaluation system though they use different technology like Google Docs and Forms.

The tools for Online learning are emerging like a burning fire in a jungle and competing in the market for commercial purposes however in the case of Nepal except for some well-paid institutions they have been using freely available learning management systems like Zoom (basic) |Google Meet and other similar video conferencing tools. Though they use technology in their classroom are they aware of digital literacy and the philosophy of blended learning and more specifically flipped pedagogy.

Though the pandemic has compelled us to use technology teaching-learning is always the same as traditional. However, teachers prepare the PowerPoint presentation and deliver the lesson virtually but the students' engagement and interaction are ignored. The flipped pedagogy demands more engagement and interaction in class but in online classes, it has not been possible. Students are found to be shy and not interested in participating in the classroom, speaking and opening videos during the classes.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Classes

Synchronous classes are real-time video conferencing whereas asynchronous classes are considered to be assigned tasks in which students are expected to do assigned tasks. Watching videos, reading tasks and doing the given homework. In General Understanding the philosophy of blended learning or flipped classes can be viewed from these perspectives as well. Synchronous classes are expected to be more practical, interactive and participatory whereas asynchronous classes carry the major principle of flipped learning as we can assign the task (reading, writing and other materials) in advance so that students can share their understanding later in their real class.

Synchronous and asynchronous learning can occur in any mode of learning it can be applied in real-time teaching in which students psychically attend the class and virtual teaching in which students attend the class via a different medium like Google classroom, zoom. Moodle and so on. The perfect example of synchronous classes online is Zoom and Google Meet whereas Moodle is the perfect example of asynchronous.

Theoretical Ground

In the flipped classroom pedagogy teachers are expected to be facilitators where teachers should not make more interventions in the students' understanding (Mitra & Rana, 2001). Mitra & Rana proposed ‘school in the cloud’ on paper and they used the term ‘hole in the wall’ for the experiment in which they designed a computer box in a hole where students can see the materials in their group and are free to discuss the given topic.

SOLEs

Self-Organized Learning  Environment is Another discussion about digital-based learning provoked by Sugata Mitra’s ‘hole-in the- wall’ experiment (where computers were put at child height on walls and in schools, and where groups of children appeared to be able to work out what to do with them by themselves. (e.g. with minimally-invasive education (MIE)).  Students work in groups (without instruction) of four or five around an internet-connected computer in SOLE Observing these children’s ability to learn collaboratively without traditional teacher input, Mitra proposed ‘schools in the cloud’ – in part to meet the educational deprivation experienced by many children all over the world. In such a scenario, and with the help of an encouraging adult (who does not have to be a qualified teacher), students work in groups of four or five around an internet-connected computer in self-organised learning environments (SOLEs). They try to find the answers to ‘big questions’ such as ‘do we have a soul?’ (Mitra 2014) and they do this collaboratively, without instruction.

MIE and MOOS

Minimally-invasive Education is another proposed by Mitra for flipped classroom pedagogy. In this pedagogy, teachers are expected to facilitate the students or no intervention is expected by the teacher until students are active and going with the assigned task (Mitra & Rana, 2014). Massive Open Online Courses (MOOS) are another theoretical ground for the flipped classroom which is similar to the ‘school in cloud’ as proposed by Mitra & Rana 2014. Many automated resources are available on the internet. In the early stage of Open Online Courses had gained wider acceptance however later some educators these resources are not ready for cap and gown (Drake 2014, cited in Harmer, 2015)

Challenges

The challenge of flipped classrooms is not limited to the research papers as it's been burning issues in the Nepalese context and even in the global context as the COVID pandemic has affected all the academia. Along with the rapid development of technology in education the challenges are also increasing. Digital literacy, teachers' qualifications, teachers' training accessibility of digital tools and learning management systems, Student variation and Misuse of digital resources; Open access to all sorts of materials like videos and pictures.

Students are assigned the material from internet-connected LMS (Mitra & Rana, 2014) students are free and teachers' intervention is not expected in this case the role of Digital Literacy should be to matter to highlight. The Teachers are expected to be more resourceful and aware of the assigned materials. Along with the teachers, the role of parents and communication between teachers and parents should be established at least once if they are assigned some materials in an internet-accessed learning management system. Sometimes the variation of students might be challenged as the class is a miniature of society and expected to have multiple levels of students and diversity of learning. If a teacher assigned a task to the students the learning differences of students may not always help teachers of the students. Students may not understand the prescribed task as the teacher's interventions or assistance is not applicable while they are learning in a self-organized learning environment (Mitra & Rana, 2014).

Conclusion

The flipped class is not a completely online class rather it is a blended model in which students are given the topic or materials to read through different media and are supposed to present the class (Harmer, 2015). If the students are given the materials the time of the teacher for preparation can be minimized. Students are more free and excited about learning and are ready to own their learning. The students are free to utilize the resources in their free time and in their choice of the way. The flipped class is a bridge between the traditional teaching approach and the online class. Flipped classes are more than synchronous and asynchronous classes as they can be applied in any mode of teaching. Teachers are expected to be highly skilled teachers for fully-interactive classes in using the technology and assigning tasks in available resources in the cloud. Students are well informed about the content in advance via different materials (Digital Materials)

Ramji Acharya 
M.Phil Scholar 

Kathmandu University, Nepal

References

Berger, A. (n.d.). Flipped, tipped or traditional: Adaptive technology can support any blended learning model. Flipped Classroom Archives. https://www.knewton.com/tag/flipped-classroom/

Harmer, J. (2015). The Principal of English Language Teaching (Fifth ed.). Pearson.

Mitra, S., & Rana, V. R. (2014). Children and the Internet: Experiments with minimally invasive education in India. The British Journal of Educational Technology, 32(2), 221-232.

Shrestha, B. K., Gautam, N., & Shakya, M. (n.d.). Flipped Class: New e-learning Object in Nepal and Perspective of Teachers

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