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I know the moment you read the heading, the question 'what is blended learning?' definitely popped in your mind.
Blended learning is combining e-learning or digital content and activities with face to face content and activity. That is, there is a teacher in a class but the students learn through the aid of physically mounted computers or other gadgets online configured. There are other terms used same as blended learning, which are hybrid learning, technology- mediated instruction and so forth. This change has been brought about by the fact that technology has been integrated almost everywhere. English teachers too are trying to infuse this for easier learning.
Blended learning strengthens the student personal advantage at any learning environment.
Introducing blended learning in your class may not be easy but I am here to give you a few tips on how to teach in such an environment.
PLAN FOR RESOURSES AND ACCESS
As I said earlier it may not be easy trying to incorporate technology especially if the resources are few, but you can bring the BYOD (bring your own device) strategy. This is where you encourage your students to bring their own phones, tablets, and other devices to class. This will make it easy for you to share for example, stories created with pinxtell, and also useful video lessons you got from you tube that are useful for you and your students to improve your English skills. Your students too can do the same and let me ask, can learning be easy and fun as this?
The school may not offer enough computers and when the students also add to the existing technology with their devices, you still find some students missing out on devices. How do you deal with that? Stage rotation is how you go about it. Put your students in groups, or stages like let’s say six groups and make like three of them for online learning and then keep rotating the students to make sure the students learn what is in every stage. I am pretty sure that with this all students will feel equal and be able to learn swiftly.
FLIPPED MODEL (FLIPPING OUT)
This is where you as a teacher record a short English video lesson and you let the students engage in online discussions outside class. This is supposed to prepare the students for a lesson next day or understand more after that's day’s English lesson. How will this help, you may ask? Well you may get surprised to find out that some students who are dormant in class get very active online. This clearly shows that not every student is comfortable with face to face learning. Thus all students are engaged and more with the same pace.
In blended learning make sure all students are engaged during an English lesson. Remember you do not need to always stand in front of the class and pour all your knowledge to the students. All you have to do is give them what you want them to learn and let them do it at their own pace. Help them with the procedure on how to go about with the English app's to work with on that particular lesson. You will see how magical this will be.
FACE TO FACE OR DIGITAL?
It is clear from some points above that the moment you introduce digital learning it might slightly affect the face to face learning. But can all English stages be taught online? I bet your answer will be no! Well identify those topics effectively taught through face to face and let the others go digital. Remember this is a process that you have to build up with time thus start from one topic, see how your students respond and then go ahead and add if it is necessary.
BLEND LEARNING WITH PARENTS
Introducing blended learning is a bit new from most parents and you can be sure that the moment they hear of it, they will want to understand exactly what the contents of the same are. Be in a position to explain to them what blended learning really is. You can send those videos and links that they can view to learn more about blended learning. After introducing it to your class you can invite the parents in a class session for them to physically see how their kids are faring. Try to make the parents love it and you can be sure of their full support, which of course is the ultimate goal.
Do not be shocked by my subtitle. What I want to say is, blending technology with the normal face to face English teaching do not mean you have to be a master in technological skills. All you need to know is, can you be able to communicate through those mediums, explore or identify? It is also good to have basic trouble shooting skills in that you can help a student reset their passwords, and many more. It can be a bit challenging but remember you have app's that you can use to help you as an English teacher, teach effectively and app's like you tube are there. I am pretty sure you cannot lack some of these lessons.
Blended learning at the end can be the best thing that you as a teacher can do with your students. It is easy, students learn easily and fun too. But remember it is all starts with one step at a time don't panic if blending technology with face to face teaching has never crossed you mind. Good luck dear teacher.
English can be highly scaled in terms of quality and impact with blended learning. I look forward to that day which all schools shall be covered in blended learning.
We can support blended teaching and learning for the betterment of the future of English.