Starting a blended learning program can be a challenge. Not everyone may be ready for these changes. Parents may fear that their students won’t get the same level of attention in the classroom, while teachers may fear that their role is changing: will online resources take over their responsibilities? How will they support students moving forward?
The blended learning model is a fusion of new technology and traditional teaching methodology. With blended learning, teachers are not replaced by digital courseware because they are still the primary drivers of the learning experience for students. In fact, this model creates an opportunity for teachers to explore new and engaging teaching methods that, when implemented well, can provide students with access to a great deal of content at their own pace of study.
Additionally, this learning model requires both teachers and the content developers to pay close attention to the individual and unique learning styles of students, paving the way for a better understanding of the teaching-learning dynamic.
Here are some ways you can help teachers and parents better understand and accept the transition into a blended learning classroom:
1. Stick to the facts (and debunk the myths!)
As you enter into conversations with teachers and parents, chances are they will already have their opinions about blended learning—what it is, what it means, and how it affects students. Take the time to listen to their concerns, but have your facts ready so you can provide feedback that may help them better understand the blended learning model, and debunk the myths and rumors that circulate. For example, if a parent reports hearing that blended learning places students in front of computers “all day,” reassure the parent that teachers are still engaging students and encouraging classroom discussions away from the computer.
2. Provide a demonstration
Get creative by putting teachers and parents through a blended learning lesson. This gives them an opportunity to experience the session from a student’s perspective, which may inspire more positive conversations and questions about the process. If a live demo is not possible, put teachers and parents in touch with other users of the blended learning model to discuss the experience that other adults had.
3. Establish parent-teacher work groups
Giving teachers and parents a safe and collaborative way to connect can allow them to express and share their misgivings and questions in a safe environment. A work group is an effective way to get people on board with the implementation of a blended learning program in the school. Work groups should be led by school faculty, PTA members, or any teacher or parent volunteer who can keep the meetings on topic and structured. Involving teachers and parents in discussions about blended learning can help curb concerns that arise from lack of knowledge or a misunderstanding about these academic models. It also lets teachers and parents hear the same, trusted information.
Giving these three strategies a try can help improve the experience that teachers and parents have with the blended learning implementation process!