Sharing what you know, or asking someone else to share what they know, may not seem like such a big deal, but peer knowledge sharing can be a powerful tool to help educators teach more effectively in the blended classroom. This often overlooked strategy is one of the best ways to uncover problems, discover best practices, and find new or better resources for teaching.
Bring shared challenges to light and develop solutions.
Have you ever been in a situation where you ran into a problem but didn’t want to say anything because you thought you were the only one? Did you discover later on that, in fact, other people had the exact same problem? This happens more often than you think. If you’re having trouble overcoming a challenge, talk to your peers about it. There’s a better than even chance they’re having the same problem in their classrooms, so you can work on solving it together. And even if they haven’t run into the same problem, they may still know of a solution that can help. Either way, by talking to a fellow teacher about it, you gain a partner who’s committed to helping find an answer and who may be able to offer ideas or perspectives you hadn’t considered.
Talk with your peers about what’s working for you.
Remember what I said about getting new ideas and perspectives from your peers? There’s more to it than just solving problems. It’s also a great way to learn how to be more effective in the blended classroom. By sharing strategies that work, you can discover new ways to get students more involved in academics, promote deeper understanding of difficult concepts, or even create more engaging lesson plans. Peer knowledge sharing of best practices can improve teaching methods and student outcomes school- wide. That’s why it’s crucial for individual teachers and schools as a whole to make time for these kinds of exchanges to take place.
Peer knowledge sharing extends to resources too!
Sharing what works applies to more than just day-to-day instructional methods. The Internet offers a huge wealth of resources, and not all of them are good. Most teachers don’t have the time to weed through everything that’s out there, and there’s a lot out there—from apps, lesson plans, and worksheets, to forums, mailing lists, and even professional development support. When peers come together and share their best teaching resources, it takes all of that sifting out of the equation and allows teachers to connect directly with resources that are already helping their peers.
Making room for peer knowledge sharing is worth the effort.
When teachers come together with their peers to solve problems, share best practices, and exchange helpful resources, students reap the benefits. Schools can encourage this kind of sharing by setting aside a time and place where teachers can meet on a regular basis to do just that. Setting up online forums or websites for teachers to exchange digitally with each other is another option. And with technology making it easier than ever to share and communicate, there’s no reason districts, schools, and blended learning programs shouldn’t encourage peer knowledge sharing!