Understanding Hybrid Learning and 6 Ways to Prepare our Kids for it

This past year has been…well…unpredictable if I could say the least. If your child is of school-age you have probably felt or are feeling a lot of things with regard to what to expect from this school year. I want to assure you that it’s completely normal to be feeling this way. Things haven’t been easy and we as parents have had to shift our way of thinking and change numerous strategies to make these changes an effective and harmonious process of learning for our children. There are however some methods that can be implemented that aid ‘preparation’ by just making our children a little more comfortable with Hybrid Learning. Let’s look at some of them in this blog. 

Before we divulge further, it becomes crucial to gain a complete understanding of what ‘Hybrid Learning’ or a ‘Hybrid Classroom’ actually means. It is not merely just throwing a portion of the curriculum to an online medium and hoping for the best, NO! Hybrid learning is an all-inclusive method of blending in-person classes with online classes so as to achieve that quintessential experience for students thus making it more adaptable, more compatible, and most importantly accommodating in all scenarios. A well set up hybrid learning environment ensures minimal disruption and is not generally interrupted by circumstances out of our control. Teachers and educators also gain structure and enjoy the freedom to make use of tools to best carry out their lessons.

Although it is different (without a doubt) it may prove to be quite advantageous if organized correctly. Here are 6 ways to best prepare your child for Hybrid Learning:

1. Help your child create a designated space during online classes

For this to be an effective process it is so important that your child has a space devoted and conducive to really be able to focus on learning. With a number of parents ‘working from home’ and children ‘learning from home’ it may be difficult to transform your living space into a classroom and then an office simultaneously. Creating a separate space that is quiet, comfortable, and dedicated for your child’s online learning will be less distracting and less stressful.

Julia McFadden, an architect who has designed education spaces, suggests utilizing an extra room or guest bedroom, if possible. She believes that one must try to create 3 kinds of areas, either near each other or spread out. For studies, it is always better to opt for an academic area with a desk and a chair so children are able to associate it with a formal set up. It’s also great if you are able to create a comfy nook for reading and another corner for crafts, projects, etc. The intent is to make an ideal environment to improve focus and reduce risk thus creating a nurturing and inspiring environment for learning.

2. Encourage your child to have fun, interact during sessions, and be involved

Online learning set up may leave some children feeling more awkward or shy about interacting with their peers. This may be the case even when such classes are allowing for or inviting maximum engagement. But this is only a starting problem or hiccup if I may put it that way. Being a different way of learning, it’s quite likely that it may take some time to get used to. As a parent, ensure that you speak to your child about trying to make the most of online tools, schedules, and events to be able to make the most of this experience. Sometimes a little push in the right direction goes a long way!

Notice and praise their effort.

This type of learning can be a struggle for many children especially if it is a first. When they feel some sort of fear or uncertainty, learning could be a challenge for them. Try creating a safe space for them to share their feelings about their learning process. Listen to what they like or what they seem to be struggling with. When they feel safe they are more likely to learn optimally. Make sure they feel noticed and appreciated from time to time for the effort they are putting in; this will only motivate them to do better!

4. Take all necessary precautions and stay alert

A shift to Hybrid ways of learning from a purely online scenario means that you must take all necessary precautions and ensure that you stay alert of your child’s health when your child attends school. Although schools do take all necessary and foreseeable precautions it becomes important for you as a parent to inform your child of basic measures and rules that must be followed to ensure that they are safe. These could include washing their hands regularly, sanitising and disinfecting, using masks when necessary, not sharing food, maintaining comfortable distance with people around, etc. If you happen to notice any symptoms make sure to get the child tested.

5. Let your child go at their own pace

This process of learning may feel a little overwhelming to some children at the initial stage or when they are only getting used to it. Make sure that you are supporting your child and letting them know that it is completely normal and okay to go at their own pace. This will not only make the entire process more effective but will also make them more creative, engaged and give them opportunities to participate.

6. Embrace this process!

There are so many tools that aid this hybrid learning setup. Some of them, even making the process of learning more effective and enjoyable than it ever could have been before! Make sure that you are taking complete advantage of all the benefits that this new learning method has brought to our lives. 

We can’t stop this change so let’s embrace it in the best way possible!

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