We Are Asking So Much From Our Teachers
Blended learning aims to combine the best of two worlds: face-to-face and online instruction. It is never about doing both at the same time. Doing face-to-face and distance education at the same time is hybrid learning, and this could easily be the worst of two worlds. Yet, here we are. We have teachers who meet face-to-face a group of students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a different set of students on Thursdays and Fridays, while at the same time, broadcasting the lesson to another class of students who have opted to stay virtual all week. It is true that a teacher has one pair of eyes to see and one pair of eyes to listen, but a teacher has only one heart. Back in September, Julie Mason at WeAreTeachers described this predicament quite vividly, "She wears an earbud in one ear so she can hear her kids online and her face-to-face learners at the same time." Of course, there are some who claim they could help teachers with this dilemma:
|Above copied from Dyknow|
The challenges that hybrid learning is so much more than just classroom management. It is true that what works in face-to-face instruction is not necessarily the same for what works in a virtual setting. Hybrid learning therefore requires two different lessons. With merely this point, it becomes clear that the job of a teacher has at least doubled. It is true that the teacher now has a divided attention. A teacher needs to listen to those who are physically present inside the classroom, but at the same, also pay attention to those who are at home. But the problem still lies deeper than any of these. Teaching and learning is a relationship. Students are under the care of their teachers. This is a deep relationship and one can only imagine the angst when a teacher only sees a small fraction of his or her class in person. This is an excellent recipe for frustration. The physical and financial damages of the pandemic are real. We are adding to this dreadful list psychological damages.
There is a room for hybrid learning in education. This could be part of differentiated instruction. We must, however, keep in mind that differentiated instruction is done on the basis of learning. What we have right now is differentiated instruction based on a pandemic. It has nothing to do with learning, and students are being divided into in-person and virtual for reasons other than learning.
We are simply asking way too much from our teachers, and in the long run, we may be doing much more harm than good to everyone.