By Alan Goode, CEO and co-Founder, Global Teletherapy.
The only way a school system can truly excel is if the three main components are working in harmony, and each is holding up their end; after all, the triangle is the strongest geometric shape.
If the teacher, student, and parent are all working together, the results will be outstanding. Once this “triangle of trust” has been established, the potential to grow continues to grow even stronger.
The Role of Teachers
While the teacher’s primary focus and responsibility is the students, it would be a mistake for a teacher to define his/her role in such narrow terms. For teachers to help students reach their potential, a healthy relationship with the parents is beneficial, and frequently the critical ingredient that will enhance the student’s chances of success.
Teachers need to share their goals with the parents so they can work in tandem to achieve them. And they need to reach out to parents early in the year before there are problems. This outreach sends the message to the parents that the teacher cares about the students, and lays the foundation for future communication with parents.
The Role of Students
Students must accept that they are ultimately responsible for their education. No one can force them to do anything. It is up to the parents and teachers to support and encourage, not to carry the child’s load. Some students tend to put the adults in their lives against each other, but once they see that there is communication between parents and teachers, they will feel supported and most likely perform better.
The Role of Parents
Together with teachers, parents serve as the base of the triangle, securely supporting the student. Parents must feel comfortable enough to contact their child’s teacher if there is a concern. And at times, they will be called upon to become even more proactive in their children’s education, serving other functions as well to ensure that that their children derive maximum benefit from the education being provided by the school.
Hybrid Education Model
The Learning Triangle, while always essential, has become even more critical in the world redefined by COVID-19. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, most schools across the country seem to be looking at another year of distance learning, while a few brave school systems have declared their students will return to in-person school.
Still, others are working hard to offer students a mix of the two by creating a hybrid learning model. That’s an arrangement where students attend school a few days each week and engage in distance learning on the other days.
Both face-to-face and online learning have their benefits and weaknesses. The goal of hybrid learning is to combine the two formats to create a singular learning experience without weak spots.
If done correctly, a hybrid learning scenario can be beneficial for everyone involved. Aside from the importance of in-person learning for kids, the opportunity to develop social and emotional skills, get physical exercise, and have access to mental health support, regular meals, internet access, and counseling; another significant benefit of the hybrid model is the long-awaited socialization the kids will get.
Although “blended courses and “hybrid courses” are used interchangeably, there is an essential difference.
A blended course involves face-to-face class sessions accompanied by online materials and activities – primarily a “blend” of both live and online learning. A fundamental component of a blended course is that these online materials are not intended to “replace” face-to-face class time; instead, they are meant to be supplemental.
On the other hand, hybrid learning is intended to replace a portion of face-to-face class time. In the hybrid synchronous model, which will be employed in most schools, students interact online in real-time via Zoom or similar real-time meeting platforms. Hybrid learning will impact all three points on the entire Learning Triangle, in different and unique ways.
Leading a successful hybrid learning experience requires a different set of strategies than working strictly remotely or strictly face-to-face.