Blended Classrooms – Engaging Students In-Class and Online

COVID teaching, COVID schooling, Social distancing, Self-isolation, N-95 masks ……. phew!  As educators, we know in the past 6 months we have added these additional words and many more to our personal vocabularies.  As well, who knew that our  best friends would be called Zoom and Bongo!

This is how we started last month’s blog, and the environment has not changed.  So here we are a couple of weeks into the New School Year and teachers are diligently preparing for a successful year and safe September.  With preparation, it has been identified that the new ‘virtual’ way of living life includes a Blended style of classroom (inclass and/or online) has given us the opportunity to explore and promote the variety of teaching deliveries that benefit Diversity in Learners.  Many educators incorporate the VARK model of the four learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic.  These learning styles fit very well in developing both classrooms:

The Visual Learner has the opportunity to visually see the material either in the classroom, online, or through recordings of the everyday physical classroom.  Our SPARK online training provides an attractive and varied visual, including images, videos and written text.

As for the Auditory Learner, this student comprehends by listening to the content through pre-recordings, in class, and online.   If pre-recordings are incorporated, there is an opportunity to listen as many times as needed.  If the educator is using online streaming, the student is able to ask questions immediately.  SPARK online training is based on videos with varied auditory opportunities, including music and teaching.  FLAME virtual sessions also provide an opportunity to both see and hear from industry experts.

Reading/Writing Learners benefit when they are able to participate in reading the material and application of knowledge is demonstrated through the exercise of writing.   With the blended style of classroom, there may be the opportunity of Discussion Boards and written assignments to engage these students.  SPARK online training also includes written exercises and optional additional written exercises to deepen the learning.

Kinesthetic Learners need to have the “hands-on” experience.   Such exercises that would benefit this type of student is the use of media technology and exercises such as re-creating scenarios to illustrate the comprehension of the content.  FLAME Virtual sessions are LIVE training opportunities with lots of interaction and space for questions and dialogue.

By remembering that each student does not learn the same way, the question that comes to mind is, “Will this take more time to create lesson plans?”  …potentially.  However, with the Blended style of classroom, the focus is to engage each student and provide the opportunity for them and the teacher to connect, whether they are physically or virtually in the classroom.

As professional role models for students and a supportive partner for schools, we  keep an open mind and enable flexibility, adaptability, perseverance and transparency.  We promote teachers helping teachers, students helping students, teachers helping students, and students helping teachers.   This period is an opportunity to increase open dialogue and allow each person to have a voice in a safe place.  We are here to lean on one another as “we are all in this together!”