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Juggling ‘Roomers’ and ‘Zoomers’? How Teachers Make Hybrid Learning Work

After making a major shift to remote learning at the beginning of the pandemic, some teachers had to adjust to another unfamiliar environment when their school buildings reopened: teaching students online and in-person at the same time. Engaging, monitoring and supporting two sets of students with very different needs is a complex juggling act that some teachers have described as their biggest challenge ever.

Dallas ISD’s Director of Personalized Learning Kristen Watkins noted that with challenges of hybrid models like simultaneous learning, the driving question for her team this year is, “How might we design learning experiences so that students in any environment get equitable learning opportunities?”

From the beginning, it was clear that teachers needed support. To address this, The Learning Accelerator interviewed educators around the country in order to develop concrete guidance on the subject and capture and share specific strategies that have helped teachers and students succeed. Here are three pieces of advice from teachers at Personalized Learning Prep:

Build a Strong Culture

Teachers share that it is crucial that they create a culture of learning so that students feel connected no matter where they are. “You have to build the culture first. If the culture isn’t there for kids to collaborate in a productive way, if you don’t define that and what it looks like and coach that, it won’t work,” Watkins advises. “Slow down. Set norms, set your creed, do whatever works for you.”

  • Hold Morning Meetings and Closing Circles
  • Build in Joint Fun Time
  • Do Full Class Video Sessions

Foster Ownership Accountability

With so much to balance, trying to monitor every single student at all times and provide individual support is impossible. Personalized Learning Prep teachers opted to maximize their time by allotting less time to direct instruction or having students learn from a video in a “flipped” way to free up class time for targeted instruction in small groups. This structure means that students must take more ownership of their learning with less teacher oversight. Here are ways they are achieving this:

  • Set Daily Goals and Provide Reflection Opportunities
  • Check the Work
  • Provide meaningful, engaging work

Clarity Is Key

Simultaneous learning is a new model for teachers but also for students and their parents/guardians, so making things simple to start is key.

  • Use a Central Structure that Houses All Materials
  • Make Sure Activities Can Be Done by All Students

Teaching in this different model is challenging and is just one of the many hardships caused by the pandemic, so be kind. “Know that links will fail. Zoom will crash. Just give yourself grace and give your students and families grace too,” Second grade teacher Angie Lee says.

Excerpted from “Juggling ‘Roomers’ and ‘Zoomers’? How Teachers Make Hybrid Learning Work” in EdSurge. Read the full article online for additional details on each of the strategies.

Source: EdSurge | Juggling ‘Roomers’ and ‘Zoomers’? How Teachers Make Hybrid Learning Work, https://www.edsurge.com/news/2021-03-17-juggling-roomers-and-zoomers-how-teachers-make-hybrid-learning-work | © 2021 EdSurge Inc.
 School photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

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