What Is the Role of a Teacher?
Blending learning was never conceived to replace the teacher, but how does it affect what teachers do in the classroom? What is the role of a teacher in a blended learning environment?
Blended learning shifts the teacher’s role from knowledge provider to coach and mentor. This shift does not mean that teachers play a passive or less important role in students’ education. Quite the contrary—with blended learning, teachers can have an even more profound influence and effect on students’ learning. How?
Traditionally, classroom instruction has largely been teacher-directed, top-down, and one-size-fits-all, with a bit of differentiation thrown in, but with blended learning, it now becomes more student-driven, bottom-up, and customized, with differentiation as a main feature. Much of this new learning dynamic is due to the enhanced role technology plays in instruction.
Blended learning provides an appropriate balance between online instruction, which offers the interactive, tech-based learning, individualized pacing, and privacy that keep students continuously engaged and motivated, and teacher-led instruction, which personalizes the learning experience and adds the human elements of encouragement, compassion, and caring guidance that only teachers can give.
This new learning dynamic benefits students and teachers alike. Giving students permission and space to become active learners who gain knowledge directly lets them assume some control over their learning and helps them develop self-reliance. As more students are working independently, time opens up for teachers to provide face-to-face support and individualized instruction more frequently for more students, effectively improving differentiation.
Blended learning provides teachers with a fuller, more accurate picture of how each student is doing. The data gathered from students’ work in software programs such as Reading Horizons Discovery™ and Reading Horizons Elevate™ contains detailed information about the specific skills students are struggling with, which teachers can use to inform instruction, intervene in a timely manner, and give the targeted support students need.
Because blended learning yields more frequent and more personal teacher interaction with individual students, teachers have the opportunity to deepen and strengthen student/teacher relationships. The trust that comes with close relationships can give teachers insights into students’ personal struggles and needs—insights which empower teachers to comfort and coach students through challenges that often serve as obstacles to learning.
In summary, blended learning combines the best aspects of online learning with the best aspects of direct instruction, helping teachers easily manage to do much more to meet student needs without adding to an already weighty workload.
Given the effectiveness of this instructional innovation and its many obvious benefits, you may be thinking about beginning a blended learning program in your school. Yet you may not be sure where to find a high-quality reading program that is designed to work in a blended learning environment. Allow us to make a suggestion: Reading Horizons.
Reading Horizons is a Perfect Fit for Blended Learning
Reading Horizons interactive software and accompanying teacher-guided direct instruction materials are proven effective, easy to use, and fully integrated, making Reading Horizons a perfect fit for reading instruction in blended learning environments.
Multisensory, Teacher-Led Direct Instruction
All learners, but especially beginning and struggling readers, English Language Learners, and special needs students, benefit from the direct instruction of Reading Horizons. What makes our direct-instruction materials stand out from the crowd?
- Reading Horizons teacher’s manuals provide a simple, streamlined framework of strategies and skills that effectively teach students how to read. By learning the 42 Sounds of the Alphabet, Five Phonetic Skills, and Two Decoding Skills in the framework, students are enabled to read the vast majority of words in the English language.
- Our method is based on multi-sensory, Orton-Gillingham principles of instruction and a unique marking system. Students employ all the modalities used in learning to read—visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic—which not only satisfies different learning styles, but also facilitates building new connections in the brain that help students quickly grasp and remember each concept.
- Our manuals are flexible in design, allowing teachers to provide instruction to the whole class, small groups, or individual students. Each lesson contains easy-to-adapt activities that provide students with the practice they need to build their current skill level and help them transfer decoding skills to connected text.
- The manuals are designed in a user-friendly, two-tone format that clarifies lesson organization. Step-by-step, scripted lessons help ensure instructors teach each skill explicitly, systematically, succinctly, and in the correct sequence.
Individualized Software Instruction
Reading Horizons software-based reading instruction helps emerging readers, struggling readers, and English Language Learners in powerful ways:
- Reading Horizons software differentiates instruction to cater to the specific needs of every student. The software adapts to each student’s individual performance, delivering targeted reinforcement activities for struggling students and faster pacing for advanced students.
- The content in our software aligns perfectly with the content in our direct instruction materials, ensuring that students receive high-quality, consistent reading help even when they have substitute teachers, miss a class, or enter the school year late, or when a teacher is new or has not yet been trained in the Reading Horizons method.
- Our software is beneficial for struggling students because it delivers the lesson material they need in a non-threatening, age-appropriate way, while encouraging them to become more self-reliant and independent in their work. By learning apart from their peers and teacher, students aren’t embarrassed by their poor reading skills, making them less resistant to instruction and more open to learning.
- Reading Horizons software helps teachers maximize the effectiveness of their direct instruction by providing detailed information about the specific skills students are struggling with. The report data can also be used to organize small group instruction that matches student skill.