Hybrid Learning Is Killing Teachers and Students; It Does Not Have To Be.

“Nothing is impossible” is a lie that we educators often tell ourselves and our students all the time to create hope and optimism. However, it is not a 100% lie, rather it is conditional. We know there is a possibility out there somewhere; we just have to find the right tools and methods.

For the moment, creating equitable success from hybrid learning seem impossible. It’s impossible because we are asking teachers to build houses with straws and mud. It’s impossible because expect teachers to teach using traditional teaching methods in a challenging learning setting. It’s impossible because administrators are looking for traditional outcomes in non-traditional learning.

Impossibility are clearer than ever in this new era of learning.

In this new era of learning, teachers are required to teach two groups of students in different settings: at home and in-class.

Restricted by limited budgets and required by safety pre-cautions, this new era of educations bring new expectations and challenges that demand teachers to learn new skills and doing the impossible.

In this new era of teaching, teachers have to teach students in their class and students behind the screens. Teachers are forced to do two jobs at the same time for two different groups of students in two different setting. There is only one teacher.

We mentioned that “Nothing is Impossible” is a conditional lie. It’s impossible until we have a solution for it, using the right technologies, methods, and strategies. The only question left is: Will teachers be dedicated to learn it?

Before you answer the previous answer, we have to know that COVID-19 is affecting affecting everyone in our community. It’s killing the elders and immonocompromised people. It is killings business and laying off people. It is the normalcy that we knew.

As educators, our jobs affect every single aspect of our community. Education is the common thread in our society.

The answer to the above question is not yes or no; it is “we have to.”

Implement student-centered direct instructions.

If we think at all students will pay attention to use when lecture from the center of the stage or behind the screen than we are just lying to ourselves. If administrators who still think that it is the best the form of direct instruction, then you are clueless too. In this new era of teaching, direct instruction have to be redefine as much as expectations from their administrators.

Using today’s technology, teachers can deliver their lecture our direct instruction to promote students to be an active owner of learning the content by allowing students to learn and self-assess at their own pace while allowing teachers to provide individualized supports for all students from different settings in hybrid education. For example, teachers can collaborate to create high quality video lecture and embedded interactive questions, so students can watch it and actively engage. Each student is accountability for the learning task, and they would get individualized support from their peers or teachers through live-chat or from ad 24/7 support forum. Advance students is no longer restrained by the slow pace of the lecture, nor the struggling students is left behind.

Because students know their efforts and answers are graded in real-time, they immediately acknowledge the ownership of their learning. At the same, teachers can enjoy the meaningful discussion with their students as they provide one-on-one intervention and support. Using the right technology and strategies, we can divide and provide learning equity for all students.

Most importantly, the learning opportunity is not restricted by boundaries of schools or deadlines. Students who procrastinate will still have the opportunity to make up the learning loss at their convenience. Students do do not have to wait for their teachers to provide missing works. It is all online. For parents, they also have more control of their child’s learning at home as well. They don’t have to email their child’s teachers to ask for missing work or extra credit assignments. Parents can sit down with their child and look at their child’s grades and efforts and incentivize their child to making the learning loss. Altogether, this process create collective culture of learning for teachers, students, and parents.

Create auto-graded and adaptive practices and assessments

In this new era of learning, the validity and effectiveness of practices and assessments are not the same. If we hope students would genuinely answer questions on a hyperdoc and turn in for a grade, then your hope will be nothing but an unwanted reality. You would find yourself grading blank hyperdoc, unrelated documents, and copies of other students’ hyperdocs. We all know that most teachers do not have the time to grade most students’ work for correction when we assign them. You will find yourselves blaming students for their academic dishonesty and lack of effort. You will find your students failing on most assessments and ultimately your classes.

Using the right technology, can collaborate to transform their worksheets and hyperdocs into interactive, engaging, and adaptive activities that allows students to answer questions and get instant and meaningful feedback. It seems like a lot of work at first, but it will be the most rewarding investment in your teaching careers. Unlike grading, the time you spent on grading is lost forever. The time you invest on creating questions will be rewarded hundreds and thousands times over the course of your teaching careers, for you and all of your students.

Most importantly, all students’ grades and responses are recorded, organized, and accessible in a comprehensible online gradebook. Students and their parents can monitor and assess students’ progress to identify strengths and weaknesses. Teachers can provide intervention and support quickly data and analysis of students’ learning outcomes and progresses. Students and their parents would not longer have any misunderstanding about students grades, and teachers are no longer blamed for the students’ failures. It is about promoting students to be an active owner their learning, and we are here to individualized support.

Organize students’ work

This new era of teaching with COVID-19 expected teachers and students to be more flexible, yet comprehensive, about organize students’ work. Teachers cannot touch students’ notebook and work anymore because COVID-19 can be spread easily.

Fortunately, all students and teachers have access to all essential technology to capture, store, and organize students’ tangible works electronically. For example, we have our students take pictures of their notebook and organize them in a Google Slide for each unit, and we grade students based on the pictures. Now, students have an electronic copy of their notebook that they can access and view at anywhere or anytime. Most importantly, students and teachers are not at-risk of spreading the COVID-19.

Final Thoughts

As educators are navigating for solutions to overcome the challenges in this new era of teaching, we have to be more empathetic of the process. Sometimes, administrators and educators only look at what they know best and assume everything else is wrong. This close-minded thinking and leadership create a school culture of doubt and fear. Now, it is not the time to be fearful; it is the time for bravery.

We know what it is like to innovate with fear; to be the first walk in uncharted ocean, to be the first to make the impossible possible.

Amy, one of our teachers, lost her job during her second year of teaching because she was the first in her school to redefine her teaching. You can listen to her story in this podcast episode:

Edu-Oppression Episode 3: Innovating Without Fear – Amy's stories Win Elements

John Hattie claims that "the most powerful single modification that enhances achievement is feedback" This is based on his study of 1400 meta-analyses. To sum it up, the best teaching strategies focus on empowering classroom educators to provide personalized and student-centered learning that builds on students' prior knowledge and provide individualized and multi-tiered levels of interventions and supports based on evidence and data. For many new teachers, we came into the teaching profession with many exciting and innovative ideas. However, how many of you, including veteran teachers, dare to test out your innovative ideas. In this episode, we share Amy's story as she took the risk to redefine her teach as a new teacher.

Nevertheless, we never let that fear give in to the impossibility; for “Nothing is impossible” is only possible if we too afraid to try and innovate.

About Us: We are current teachers who co-founded Win Elements LLC to solve schools’ problems with effective and sustainable solutions. We provide StreamlineED as an all-in-one, sustainable, and effective solution to streamline education equity by providing and training teachers on how to use the provided Learning Management System website and Blended teaching strategies that integrate their current technology and resources. We also provide Safe Pouches for phones to create a phone-free learning environment and  to provide a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support

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