Since the pandemic, many teachers have naturally moved into a hybrid teaching and blended learning model. Whilst some may still prefer more traditional methods, others have fully embraced the new approach. For many it has become second nature to use a mixture of online learning resources with homeschoolers, and face-to-face teaching with those in school. Learning has become more versatile to ensure those that may be isolating, or are unable to go to school, still receive access to education.
For many teachers, one of the top concerns they have is the wellbeing of their students. With a blended learning approach teachers can keep track of not only their students’ learning progress, but also their mental wellbeing. Some students have had no choice but to isolate at home, which can be very difficult in the long run, especially when many are able to go back to school. However, with hybrid teaching, teachers simply switch on the camera and then they are able to communicate with the rest of the class as if they were there. As one teacher expressed “you can truly see their faces light up by making them feel part of our class family, and that is my current priority. If this model had not been available, these children would have had a very ‘remote’ experience.”
Additionally, not only do students benefit from the approach, but parents too. Many parents feel more at ease with a blended learning option with the knowledge that their child can still receive teacher support at home without the risk of falling behind. Some teachers have even received requests for homeschooling from parents requiring that their family continue to shield at home for safety reasons. Furthermore, with social distancing measures in place, it can be difficult to fit a large class into a room whilst attempting to put these safety measures into practise. Therefore, by having some children homeschooling, it alleviates classroom overflow, making it a safer and more workable experience for all.
Overall, it seems that hybrid teaching and blended learning may be here to stay. The flexibility that the model provides ensures that no pupil gets left behind, giving many parents and teachers peace of mind. Some teachers have even observed how some students appear to be thriving even more since remote learning. As one teacher suggests “dare I say it but what if some children have come on leaps and bounds during this time, and not having the rigid routine, or time pressures, or the competitive nature of the classroom has perhaps allowed them to flourish?”