The Relevance of Flipped Classrooms for ESP Courses in the Post COVID-19 Scenario
This study is the result of testing the concept of a flipped classroom (FC) in an ESP class in the aftermath of COVID-19 scenario at a private university in Oman. The recent shift from online classes to face-to-face classes in the university exposed a significant knowledge gap that existed in the learners of English for ESP courses. To address this challenge, the authors decided to experiment on the concept of the FC in an ESP class for business administration students. As a result, instead of a classroom lecture, the simplified summary of prescribed lessons along with useful illustrations were posted online for the students to read at home before coming to the class. Consequently, the class-time was mainly used for solving application questions individually or in groups of mixed ability students. Additionally, special attention was given to slow learners during the experiment. This experiment proved to be very beneficial for the students as there was significant improvement in their grades for both ongoing and final assessments compared to the grades of students in another section of the same course that followed the traditional lecture method. The focus of the experimental class was on making students solve critical homework tasks during the class-time with appropriate teacher intervention. The first part of this paper describes the important FC concepts and their implementation in an ESP classroom and the second part analyses the final grades of both FC and traditional classes to understand the relevance of the FC model for ESP students. Therefore, the research goal of this study is to determine the effectiveness of the Flipped Classroom methodology by critically evaluating its pros and cons compared to the traditional lecture method. The novelty of this study consists in recommending complete inversion of the role of the traditional lecture method and homework tasks. In other words, FC believes that traditional lectures should be replaced with critical home-work tasks during the class-time to achieve the goal of education. The revolutionary concept of solving critical home-work tasks and exploring the practical applications of fundamental theories during the class-time can empower students to reconstruct and apply knowledge in practical and personally meaningful ways instead of spending their time listening passively to lectures. Therefore, implementing Flipped Classroom methodology in ESP classes can enhance the critical and cognitive skills of learners effectively.
Keywords: critical thinking, ESP course, flipped classroom, problem-solving, traditional class.
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