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How blended learning can help teach world languages

Two schools share their keys to success with teaching world languages in a blended learning environment

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What matters most is that “the student has time to self-pace his or her own learning.”

Blended learning allows students to learn at their own pace, but there are a number of challenges to making it work. During a recent webinar sponsored by Middlebury Interactive Languages, participants learned how two exemplary schools have overcome these challenges and have made blended learning a success in teaching world languages.

Aline Germain-Rutherford, chief learning officer for Middlebury Interactive Languages, began the webinar by citing a 2010 study from Blackboard K-12 and Education Week, suggesting that 86 percent of school district leaders believe students need more learning time outside of school—and 95 percent believe students need more personalized pacing.

Blended learning can help with both of these needs, she said, and there are a number of ways to implement blended learning in schools.

Germain-Rutherford described four blended learning models in particular, including the rotation model, in which students rotate as a group from teacher-led instruction to online instruction and back again; and the flex model, in which students rotate on a customized schedule between online instruction and small group discussions or one-on-one tutoring.

Any of these models can be successful, she said; what matters most is that “the student has time to self-pace his or her own learning—and also that we recognize that learning doesn’t happen only in a classroom.”

(Next page: Two schools’ keys to success teaching world languages in a blended environment)

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