12/29/2020 12:00:00 AM
2020 Review: The Ballad of Blended Learning
It is impossible to deny that 2020 has been a game-changing year. Every corner of the world and almost every aspect of our lives have been impacted by the global pandemic, with both opportunities and challenges. In the education industry, it has been a year of unprecedented change, with online learning evolving exponentially.
It has also been a year in which we have seen teachers and administrators go to extraordinary lengths to provide support and learning continuity for their students. The compassion and dedication shown by educators around the world is astounding and we have been so proud of the hard work demonstrated by teachers all over the globe. That is why we wanted to take a moment to look back at what has been accomplished in 2020, to celebrate the efforts of our educational colleagues and to consider what the lasting impacts of this year will be on education moving forward.
A New Frontier
At TELLAL we have long championed the benefits of blended learning and how learning and development will drive technology to shape and support the way we educate. We couldn’t have predicted that 2020 would have pushed the limits of our digital team to provide virtual learning solutions. As our classrooms were closed, schools, teachers, parents and students scrambled to adapt to a new frontier in education that was entirely virtual. Even the most tech-savvy teachers had to reinvent instruction with new software or programmes that would ensure their students learning outcomes. Science teachers had to be more innovative with their lesson plans to engage students who were separated from their Bunsen burners. PE teachers had to devise new ways to keep students active and healthy remotely. Music teachers had to get creative with online programmes so melodic devotees didn’t miss out on the sounds that bring them joy. What initially felt for many like a temporary fix, has actually opened our minds to the endless possibilities when it comes to curriculum delivery. Many teachers have discovered techniques or technology during 2020 that they will continue to use beyond the pandemic. It will be fascinating to watch which of those become part of mainstream teaching and how they improve a students’ overall experience in the classroom.
Earlier this year, TELLAL launched our #VirtualApple campaign. It was intended to honour and highlight the amazing work being done by remote teachers across the Emirates and their ability to impact students, parents and the wider educational community remotely. We received hundreds and hundreds of nominations, from teachers, principals, parents and students. The overwhelming message was one of thanks and wonder. Teachers at all levels made extraordinary efforts to adjust to online delivery. Administrative aids helped to facilitate essential communication between parents and schools. Teachers of children of determination took it upon themselves to schedule extra time with their students, so they would feel supported when they needed it the most. Leaders and principals researched best solutions and provided training, access to remote platforms and insights that would help teachers find the best approach to teaching their subject specialty. Every one of them went above and beyond so that their students wouldn’t suffer, and they still are. Even after we were fortunate enough to be able to return to the classroom, teachers had to adjust to new sanitising guidelines, hybrid classrooms, and timetable changes, while keeping their students’ well-being at the heart of blended learning. No matter what 2020 has thrown at our teachers, they have endeavoured to meet these challenges head-on, coming together as a team to provide for our students, every single day. Congratulations again to all of our award winners and for those still making a difference.
How our educational system will evolve following the impact of 2020 still remains to be seen, but there are certain features that look likely to shape its future moving forward. Undoubtedly, the role of technology and blended learning will be crucial. Innovative techniques, new systems and approaches are not only essential for improving our student outcomes, but they also allow us to broaden educational horizons around the world and make learning more accessible for those who struggle with traditional methodologies. We know that not every child learns effectively in the same way; by utilising smart software and fresh pedagogical approaches we can provide a fuller experience and a more engaging environment so that no student feels left behind.
At TELLAL our core mission is continuous learning and development for teachers that is affordable, accessible, and adaptable to the current conditions and the future of education. Our digital team has been busy reinventing our teacher professional learning and development delivery to meet the needs of teachers right now. We have free virtual teaching resources to support remote instruction, novice teachers can gain classroom experience through our mixed reality teacher training simulations and we have expanded our range of High Leverage Teaching Practices courses in Arabic and English. New this year is the launch of our “bite-sized” learning series Pedagogical Praxis Short Courses which combine online teacher competency skill-building and virtual classroom simulations. Our Languages Academy and Early Years Academy have developed fully online, blended learning and face to face programmes for teachers to build their specialist skills. Supporting teachers is at the heart of what we do. We want to thank teachers for their unwavering efforts in a challenging 2020 – it is clear that teachers are capable of even more than they could imagine.
If you would like to talk to one of the TELLAL team about any of our courses, please get in touch via +971 (0)4 403 5146 or [email protected]