Are We Ready for Blended Learning? Time to CHANGE “What to Learn?”


Blended Learning = Student Centered LearningPicture this:  Students sitting on the floor in groups in a classroom. Everyone is busy and engaged. Many are using computers or ipads. The teacher is circulating answering questions, giving guidance and most of all, stimulating creative ideas.

I just love this idea. Students learn what they need to learn through their own motivation and natural affinities. It will not leave gaps as there will be thought and problem solving and researching the necessary information for all of this learning. The new focus is HOW TO LEARN . . . SOLVE PROBLEMS  . .  FIND ANSWERS.  OUT WITH WHAT TO LEARN. That will happen as a by-product. No more memorizing stuff by sucking it in and then spitting it back out.

I love this. I must admit it excites me to think that all students can and will learn and they will experience knowledge is power by being able to learn anything.

Am I wrong?  Is this not going to work?  Do we need to live in a world where the teacher still stands up in the front of the room and talks, talks, talks and then shows everyone how to do “it”, everyone does it together, and then homework is assigned, understanding is assessed. I want kids to move around, have conversations and experience learning.

I envision the teacher as the true nurturer! The helper who guides the way but never dictates. The mentor who shows by example how to learn and asks questions that students are excited to answer. How? Why?

Am I wrong?  Is this dream possible to be reality? In my heart I believe it is best for learning. It will create life long learners with students who care and are responsible for their own improvement. It opens the door to creativity and innovation and as a result, mastery.

I am reading about it. I see signs of encouragement. Please tell me I am not dreaming.

Categories: 21st Century Education, arts and business, Arts Integrated Education, blogging, Bullying, creativity, Education reform, effort, extrinsic reward, foster workforce readiness, grades, Innovation, intrinsic reward, ipad, mastery, mentors, motivation, self-esteem, social/emotional wellness, STEAM, STEM education, student blog, technology, technology in the classroom, Uncategorized, web 2.0 for classroom, wikis, write to express, writing, writng for funTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 comments

  1. I think we have the same dream 🙂 How to get more educators to adapt it?

    Student centered learning and teaching also increase student accountability, transfer of learned and (critical) thinking, as the teacher becomes the facilitator of individual learning processes.

    I like your picture of blended learning.

    • I think that it all takes time. Educators as a group don’t like change and they were taught to teach in the way that they do and flexibility or adapting new ideas is scary. There will be a shift as higher education programs change. I think professional development helps but unless teachers have a presence of a coach or mentor on a regular basis to reinforce these ideas, I don’t think it will happen. I think we have to keep talking and try to make the changes in small ways and eventually people will get it. What do you think?

      • I agree! Talking about good quality education in a positive way without putting blame on anyone is definitely the best possible way to advocate the paradigm change. And I don’t want to discourage you, but I am afraid the higher education being the slowest to change, unfortunately. Early childhood educators are already embracing the student centered teaching – but the pressure from school districts is very tough and demanding.

        We really need those coaches and mentors, because while workshops and conferences are nice, they seldom have a long lasting effect. This is the way how we educators are exactly like the students we teach: new ideas need to be revisited approximately three times before they will root permanently into our thoughts and start to change the way we do things.

        How could we get more pedagogical coaches out there?!

      • I think the best thing to do is to create a positive relationship with teachers (and administrators) so that they do not feel threatened. The key is for them to feel like you are there to help and encourage what they are already doing (which you are!). So often teachers are defensive and don’t want to let outsiders in. I think districts need to hire more professional development consultants and title them as TOSA (Teachers on Special Assignment) so staff isn’t intimidated. I agree totally that workshops and conferences are great but very little of that makes its way into the classroom. Just like anything, repetition and presence are key. How to do this? Well, I think most administrators know it. Sell yourself and your ability to create these relationships and improve instruction. Administrators like to hear about improving instruction rather than student-centered learning etc. As you know, with budget cuts everywhere, it is hard to find funds for this. The admin must believe in it and use their resources to make it happen. I agree with you that higher ed is a slow route, but it would change things. Change usually works best when it starts from the smallest segment, is successful and as a result, grows. I would love to hear your ideas about this too. I believe if we work together, we can make this happen.

  2. OK, Ruth! May I call you Ruth as your nickname is ruthcatchen? What literature have you read on the picture you have drawn in your article above? How do you conduct such lessons yourself?
    As for me I find your idea very attractive. I`ve just found some info on blended learning and I just started opening the links on the blended learning on Google. So, your blog`s article is the 3rd I`ve read on the theme.
    Personally about me – I`m an English tutor in Ukraine and I`ve studied pedagogics at our institute and I have a teacher`s degree in English but I see that I need more possibilities to teach my students.
    I`ve read your passionate article on what I`m searching for and I`d like we to make some professional partnership.
    Best wishes, Sergey Larin. BTW I`ve just found your profile on facebook but couldn`t decide weather it`s all right to start conversation right this way.

    • Hello Sergey,

      Yes, please call me Ruth. Thank you for your nice comments about my blog. There are many more posts on blended learning, integrated curriculum and experiential learning. I think those concepts will help you to enhance your teaching as hand-on tasks and technology are great tools to improve language skills.

      You can like my Facebook page by scrolling down to that box on the right and that should take you to the right Facebook account. LinkedIn is also a great way to learn about these educational tools through groups and discussions. I would suggest you join if you haven’t yet.

      As you realize from reading my blog, I am very passionate about education and quality education for kids. I am happy that you want to improve what you offer to students. I am sure these ideas will have a positive effect on your students.

      Good luck,

      Ruth

  3. Thank you for dealing with me and I am glad to have a response from you (you know, I`ve read about your achievements when looked at your gravatar information).

    From what you`ve written to me I mostly noticed your key words and I have already written a big comment at this address.
    https://ruthcatchen.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/what-does-blended-learning-look-like/#comment-198

    Also I`ve noticed that you are passionate about education. I a expect to have some inspiration from you.
    Nowadays when there are so much courses for teachers and the science is so sophisticated I suppose I can find my ways and my style and what suits more to me. Possibly you will not know a lot of new things from me but the blog will have a new member with me. I`d like to know if there are any English teachers and tutors here.

    Thanks.

    P.S While searching for the key words you`ve given me I stumbled upon an interesting article partly on experiential learning.
    https://ruthcatchen.wordpress.com/incite-paths-to-excellence-mission-and-vision/#comment-199 (my comment included there).

  4. And what touched me the most was this page https://ruthcatchen.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/what-does-blended-learning-look-like/#comment-198
    Where you can read about my dream on my teaching style. In short – I want to apple blended learning to the schedule where modules of lessons are interchangeable and reusable.

  5. And what touched me the most was this page https://ruthcatchen.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/what-does-blended-learning-look-like/#comment-198
    Where you can read about my dream on my teaching style. In short – I want to applY blended learning to the schedule where modules of lessons are interchangeable and reusable.

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