peter-west-blended

Blended learning and the paradox of the experienced teacher


Blended learning delivered through an OLE requires the resources to be placed into a system that can be accessed any time and from anywhere. As a result, the teacher loses control of the resources.

For some, this is confronting. Whether we like it or not, some teachers just do not like to share and thus resist moves to place “their” resources online.

The gift of giving

Effective teachers are often hard working, investing heavily on a number of levels in the success of their students. This is excellent, and nobody is suggesting this should change.

However, this can also provide feedback that the teacher is reluctant to lose. The “my students need me” approach can seem to be threatened by the increased independence provided by blended learning. This can be a concern for some teachers, even though it might not be explicitly stated.

Another aspect of this is time. The “my students need me for extra help outside class time, and I am vital for their success” feelings exist with some. Teachers like to give, and it’s good for their self-esteem. Handing some of the education process over to technology can be seen to threaten this.

The paradox is that removing this reliance and “time bottleneck” of the capable teacher allows even more valuable interaction and richer teaching experiences. However, for some, this is counterintuitive and needs to be handed carefully.

The move to blended learning can be threatening, even for good teachers. Being aware of their possible concerns is vital for those leading change in organizations.

Peter West is director of eLearning at Saint Stephen’s College in Australia. He has more than 15 years’ experience leading K-12 schools in technology enhanced education, particularly blended learning using online learning environments. He can be contacted at pwest@ssc.qld.edu.au.

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