Sandra Huh, a Toronto mom, compares the “hybrid” style of school learning in epidemic times to a swim teacher teaching those in the water, those on the deck, and those who aren’t even near the pool – all at the same time.
With the start of the new school year just around the corner, numerous school boards in Ontario are reverting to the so-called hybrid learning model, in which one instructor teaches both pupils in the classroom and those who log in from home at the same time. Even distant students who study on their own time are sometimes included in the session.
During the COVID-19 epidemic last year, the system was widely tried in K-12 schools as a remote learning option, and it’s back on the table this year when the province announced that online learning will continue.
However, critics, including parents, teachers, and some education experts, argue that it requires teachers to accomplish too many tasks at once, compromising student learning quality. They want distinct virtual and in-person learning, with specialized teachers for each, rather than combining the two in the same classroom.
Continuing her swim analogy, Huh claims that in that situation, an instructor would have to perform numerous things at once: “Teach in all areas of the pool. Determine ways to keep them secure. Teach the lesson to them. Maintain their interest. When there’s so much going on, how do you do that?”
According to Huh, whose nine-year-old son Ashton learned remotely under the York Catholic District School Board’s hybrid method last year, “maybe one kid is in danger of drowning just as students on the deck raise a fuss.”
“There are a lot of different things going on in a classroom, especially in the hybrid model,” Huh said. “How do you persuade the teacher to perform all of these things at the same time?”