The art of engaging students

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Feb 2018 14:23:23

Many of us will recall the school or college days, where we found ourselves sitting compulsorily in the classroom, half listening to the monotonous teacher centric lectures. The teachers were more focussed on conveying information, assigning work and leaving it to the students to master the material.

Even today we find the same scenes of traditional model of learning (teacher centric) where students are mere receptors rather than participants of active learning. Thus giving rise to a major problem faced by today’s Two-tier B-schools; ‘low attendance’ or students ‘physically present mentally absent’.

It is thus necessary to increase student involvement in the teaching- learning process by bringing about a change in teaching pedagogy- a shift from traditional teaching (Direct Instruction based One Way Monotonous) to modern teaching (Exposure based)This concept of reversal of traditional teaching is called flipped classroom (popularised by Aaron sums & Ton Bergman in 2007).

This was a result to a realisation that class time should consist of guiding and providing feedback rather than delivering only direct instructions.Actually “Flipping the classroom” means that the student gain first exposure to new material outside the class usually through reading or video lectures and applying the same in the class through problem solving, discussion or debates. The key purpose of flipped classroom is to engage students in active/ learning where there is greater focus on student’s application of conceptual knowledge rather than factual recall.

The flipped classroom focuses on
l Increase student engagement
l Leverage technology
l Active learning
The students today want to access the content at their own convenience and look for the pedagogy which suits their pace and learning.
How to flip a class:

Step 1: Identify the courses where flipped classroom model will apply. Course outcomes/ learning outcomes will give an idea to design a pedagogical model which suits the particular course/ topic.
Step 2: Divide the course into different sections. The topics which can be completed by in-class activities. Topics where external data collection and explanation is needed, Topics which are important from examination point of view, topics which can be given in the form of written assignments.
Debatable topics which can be learned through group discussions.

Step 3: Role of teacher as facilitator: the teacher’s role in the classroom is crucial. The class time should be utilised for engaging students in application activities with feedback. He should have thorough knowledge about the course and display his expertise as a coach or guide.

Step 4: Elaborate the relationship between classroom learning and its application in real world.It is very essential for a course teacher to emphasise the connect between the learnings in class to its utility in the real world issues. This can be done by providing case studies or stimulation exercises which brings the complex business issues in the classroom.

Step 5: Appropriate learning material: The course teacher should be equipped with a variety of learning material to be used for the course delivery.
Ex. Lecture videos, Ted Talks, Podcasts, Simulators, case studies etc.The students should go through the lecture videos/ read study material for the particular topic before they come to the class.In management courses it is not expected that at PG level the teacher will start from scratch or definitions.

Step 6: Learning beyond the class.Things to take care when using the flipped Classroom model:
1. Recorded material or lectures will be monotonous as the classroom lectures unless they contain certain innovative graphics or real live cases or reflective activity which will bind and engage the students.

2. Before application of flipped classroom, it is necessary to know the best pedagogical model which suits to your content either a PBL (Project based learning)-usually used in courses like Entrepreneurship development or Production & Operations Management or GBL (Game based learning)- usually used in courses like Strategic Management.

3. Technology forms an important aspect in flipped classroom model. The educator needs to think about the existence of any technology gap if any.Never-the –less, one should be very cautious while applying the flipped classroom model as its success depends on the efforts and expertise of the faculty. As rightly quoted by Mark Frydenberg, “Teachers must relearn how to act as the guide on the side rather than sage on the stage. n