Teachers need guidance and training when moving into a blended learning environment
Some teachers initially view self-paced blended learning as a process where the “computer does the teaching” and the role of the teacher is diminished. Practical experience with this style of learning with middle school students over several years indicates that this is not the case.
The teacher is still very important; however, the role changes. In short, this change could be described as a teacher moving from a lecturer to a facilitator, explainer to intervener, generalist to specialist and thus from content focus to content skills and mind-set focus.
Some evidence now supports this view.
Students involved in these middle school courses have been surveyed over the past few years. Results of the surveys have been consistent. The classes were operated by some teachers experienced in a blended learning classroom and some who were not. A recent survey produced varying results. The most significant differences in results were investigated further.
When the results were separated by class/teacher, the one set of results that showed a significant negative variation was of a teacher who was inexperienced in a self-paced blended learning environment. Even when support material is available, transitioning to a new style of classroom interaction takes time and experience and the challenge for a less experienced teacher or teacher bound to traditional teaching methods is significant. This is an indicator that support for teachers transitioning to a new style of teaching should not be superficial; it may need to be in depth and ongoing.
(Next page: Survey results)