What Every Teacher Should Practice for Blended Learning

Benjamin Franklin wrote a few centuries ago “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn”. Blended learning is perhaps the best way to have an involvement centric learning experience. However here, it is not only the student

 who is more involved, it is also the teacher who has to experiment and expand traditional pedagogies.

If you are a blended learning teacher or want to incorporate blending learning into your practice, you have come to the right place. This article provides teachers and educators with the tips for blended learning, the knowhow and skills.

Blended learning, as the name suggests is a blend of technology mediated education and classroom learning. Hence a student’s day would typically consist of a combination of online learning and small group instruction time with teachers. As a result, a teacher has to rather work with data and provide individualized support to students than focus on routine administrative and curricular objectives that are necessary in traditional teaching.

Therefore instead of only sharing content and grading papers, a teacher’s role is open for experimenting with many more strategies to enhance learning. Here are a few skills for teachers for blended learning.  

(a)  Learn your way through teaching:  As a blended learning teacher, one must be willing to learn as well. Your work must encompass the following:
(i)   Access, analyze and aggregate data
(ii)  Use data as a part of the planning process for each student, groups of students and the whole class
(iii) Use benchmark tests and other assessments to direct instruction at different levels (individual, group, class)
(iv) Grab an online class for yourself too: Many blended learning programs require teachers to take classes and mentoring to be able to efficiently execute this new learning model and also develop skills in data management. With proper professional development, it’s easier for a teacher to slip into the blended learning mode from the traditional mode.

(b)   Expand your Horizon: Be open to new strategies
(i)    Work on your content knowledge to be able to deal with multiple subjects
(ii)   Focus on student needs, as determined by the data and then shape instruction
(iii)  Focus on academic intervention  and enrichment

(c)   Lead the way: Guide students into this new learning mode
(i)    Demonstrate the Hows of finding information and answers, esp. inculcate the skills to ask the right questions
(ii)   Ability to manage project based learning activities
(iii)   Incorporate handy strategies to keep students motivated, on-task and engaged

As mentioned before, blended learning accommodates much more student involvement as they need to learn to reason, integrate information and demonstrate knowledge through application unlike traditional methods where analysis and interpretation is only done by the teachers. Thus a blended learning teacher has to make the learning experience application based thus reducing the “regurgitation” of rote responses.
Blended learning enables teachers to continuously learn and improve their work strategies. Also technology allows access to crucial information that helps them to understand individual student needs.  Lastly, when used effectively, technology helps teachers to gain expertise in their content areas.
Sir Francis Bacon said, many years ago, "Knowledge is power." So why not gain more power in your classroom by building your expertise in the use of technology?

About the Author
Author: Keerti Arora

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