Classroom or Homeroom?

By Chinedu Okere. Chinedu is 17 years old and lives in Lagos, Nigeria

There is a quote by a great man Epictetus that goes ‘He who opens a school door, closes a prison’. Have you sat down and asked yourself this question: What would a person opening a prison be doing? It is one thing for someone to open a school; it is another thing to perform the operations of a school. One sentence every guardian is proud to say is ‘My child is schooling…’ but we do not have the time to check our wards’ activities at school. Though no knowledge acquired in any place, not minding the environment is a waste. We still have schools where things are done the wrong way. One of such includes students listening to lectures at home and doing home work in class – otherwise called flipped classrooms. This did not work for me.

My name is Chinedu Godsent Okere; I started schooling at a very tender age. At primary level, academically I was very well above average. At that level, whenever we were given homework, we were expected to do it at home and submit the next day or at the appointed date. I became used to it, and I stand to testify that it helped me so much. In the year 2008, I graduated from primary level to junior secondary level. In my new school, I discovered that whenever we were given homework, my classmates would do theirs the next day in the class especially when the period of the subject teacher is yet to come. Gradually, they stopped submitting the following day; they now wait for the time the subject teacher would come to teach the class. I became discouraged and disappointed, with time, I keyed into their system.

A flipped classroom would still not work for me and I don’t think it would for anybody. Firstly, it brings about laziness. Our day has been programmed for us to be active from the break of the dawn, till the early hours of the evening. As a student, after school has been dismissed, what would come to your mind is: I need to rest so as to prepare for tomorrow. A student that has in mind that he is going home to listen to lecture is no doubt filling a basket with water because there is every possibility that he forfeits his lecture for the rest. During the course of my secondary education, I became so disorganized that sometimes I even forgot I was given homework. I became lazy to the extent that I did not know I was; because being among the best four students, I felt okay. I heard my friends say that some students do not attend classes but when it is time for examination, they make good grades. I asked them how that was possible, I received a shocking response; they go home and copy notes. When it is exam time, they read the notes and their text books. But I discovered that the knowledge acquired through that process does not last. It is temporary, perhaps just for the duration of the exam and then wears off.

Thirdly, why flipped classrooms would not work for me is that it leads to low academic performance. Just imagine a child who has taken a seat to study at home and the mother calls on him ‘Emmanuel, go and cut the fire woods’. ‘Emmanuel go to the river and fetch us water in the drum’. Would that child still have an interest to study at home? No because, he will be preoccupied with chores, therefore there will be little or no time for lecture. Once again, imagine yourself as a student-ready to do his homework in class, just then a subject teacher arrives, you have to suspend the work until he leaves. He leaves, you were about to continue, just then another teacher arrives to take the class. Now tell me, would you concentrate on what is been taught?

Finally, my teacher told me that the reason for home work is to do research at home, and this research broadens our knowledge. It is known that of the knowledge we possess, most of is acquired on our own while the rest is that which we were taught. Most of the knowledge we acquire on our own is from the homework done. You might want to ask where, my answer would be in the class. With these few points, I hope I have been able to convince you that flipped classrooms would not work for me and as well, for anybody. Thank you!

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