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Proactive learning

Sep 12, 2013 :

When students walk into their classes well prepared, having an idea of what is going to be discussed, their  participation in class deepens their understanding of the topic, writes Alice Mani.

Imagine you walk in to an interview where you already know what is going to be asked. Heaven! Isn’t it? This somewhat describes the concept of flip learning or reverse instruction. This method provides a blended learning experience which enables student to learn new content at home and understand its application in classrooms. When students walk into their class, they already have an idea of the topic that will be discussed and how to apply that topic to an extent under this method.

Reverse teaching


Flipping the classroom basically means taking lectures home and bringing homework to school/college. Teachers who follow this method offer personalized guidance and interact with students through self-made videos which are posted on class sites. In these videos the teachers explain the topic in 15-20 minutes. The students are only supposed to watch these videos at home and understand their matter. In this concept of reverse teaching, the students can come to class and ask their doubts in the beginning of the session and are involved in practicing sums, and conducting activities for a deeper understanding of the subject during the class.

Tackling disadvantages 

Usually during a lecture, all students are not generally attentive. However if you send them a small 15-20 minutes video explaining everything, they will be willing to go through it. The problem lies in the fact that students might not be willing to watch 5-7 subject videos on a daily basis and feel lazy and monotonous. To motivate students, teachers can conduct small question-answer rounds in class or conduct activities which make it mandate for the students to watch the videos. The second problem is that some students might not have internet access, in such case, teachers can provide students with DVDs or CDs containing the videos.

Enhancing student-engagement

Lectures in the end become one-way communication as they are basically explaining with less scope of interaction from the other side. This method provides the much needed face-to-face interaction between the student and teacher.

The teacher can explain the content in deep during the class, focus on students individually and spend time on designing more comprehensive activities, which help inculcate an interest for the subject in students. We as teachers, try to imbibe in students the values and methods which made us passionate about our subjects. In today’s technology-driven world, we are not the only source of information.

The availability of various sources of information through Google, Wikipedia, online videos etc., can help us play our roles as teachers and professors in a more enhanced way. If we provide students with interesting videos on our subjects, new innovations and ideas, we will expose them to not only what we know but also wide possibilities of what the subject can provide. This will engage students in a more critical thinking, understanding and interpreting process.

Benefits

This method has a lot of benefits. It allows teachers to spend more time on helping the student and clearing their doubts, thereby, building a stronger relationship.
It offers an easier way of sharing information for the teachers, and parents can also keep a better track of their child’s studies and the methods of teaching. It also plays an important role in the process of revision.

Usually when teachers discuss a topic in class they ask students to go back home and revise, but how many students actually do that? Approximately none. In this method it will be necessary for students to watch the videos/ lessons at home so that they can understand in class.

The class session will facilitate as revision lessons and help in a mastering and retaining the subject matter.

Student-oriented exposure

There is a slight difference between backward classrooms and normal classroom teaching. The former provides a more flexible environment facilitating a culture shift. The classroom in this method becomes more student-centered. The teacher needs to accept that there will be a certain level of chaos and noise in the classroom as the students will have to engage in activities during class-time.

These activities will develop a thinking brain in students and increase their confidence in themselves and the subject. Under flip teaching, teachers need to decide beforehand the topics that can be covered through videos, and the content that would require face-to-face explanation. Lastly, videos cannot replace an actual class environment so teachers should also be ready to explain what they provide in videos briefly in the class as well.

Reverse teaching helps in designing hybrid courses and creative exercises to engage students in classrooms and allows teachers to focus on students individually. This method is not as widely used as of now, but has found tremendous appreciation by the students and teachers who exercised it. It assists students in keeping a collection of all classroom lectures to refer to whenever they like and understanding the content more comprehensively; and helps the teacher in creating a more collaborative teaching environment.

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