In Honor Of Our Hybrid Future Of Education
Intelligent people like ourselves once believed the earth was flat. We also once held a belief that the earth was the center of the universe. Scary to embrace change, society at that time punished and disliked forward thinkers.
Today’s global pandemic is scary, but our ability to adapt is key and must involve the consensus of the entire community. Fear cannot stop us from making the changes that are needed in our thinking. The planet is round. The sun is the center of the universe and a global pandemic requires re-thinking how we educate young people.
As a small business owner in Redding since 1991, Cresswell Physical Therapy and Hand Rehabilitation, Inc., has suffered frequent interruption of our ability to serve the community just in the last 5 years. Prior to that time, we never closed except for weekends and holidays. In the past, our ability to help people in our community was seldom interrupted.
The Carr fire of 2018, the snow storm that followed in February 2019, the frequent power outages, and now the global pandemic has challenged us in providing health care and school services to Shasta County. It has also scared us in our ability to meet our bottom line, pay our staff and pay our bills. The experts tell us all that these environmental interruptions will continue, not lessen in the years ahead.
Now is the time to give thought to changing an out of date assumption that a large group of people can consistently gather in the same place at the same time. They can’t. We can’t. There are too many unforeseen variables impacting our society.
We need a “Plan B”. Actually, we need a hybrid model, an alternative to everything we do, including our education model.
In the traditional model of teaching, the teacher positions themselves at the front of the classroom, and students listen with varying degrees of attention. Since not all are at the same level, teachers ask themselves if they should teach to the smartest level of students, those that tend to be more behind, or the child in the middle? Any of these choices loses some students and reduces the learning experience for most.
New tools like digital learning platforms allow the teacher to change the classroom dynamics in order to enhance learning across all levels of students. New technologies allow a different mode of teaching, which permits teachers to tailor learning individually to each student. Each student can learn at their own pace.
We need to embrace technology as we prepare our students to face the challenges posed by technological change. To function in tomorrow’s world, the new technology and careers in automation do not require everyone to get a PhD, but they do require everyone to have a solid basic education, which prepares them for lifelong learning.
The teacher can continue to work closely with the student. Class time can be freed up for the teacher to motivate students with interesting projects, help students individually or in groups, and go over any issues the students find particularly difficult.
The new technology has altered the skills and capabilities that people need. Equally important, it also allows for different ways to meet those needs. The teacher’s role changes from lecturer to coach and mentor. Teachers will combine students, computers and the process of learning to create a better experience for all their students.
I would like to express my greatest respect for thinkers in our community, entertaining a hybrid model of education. As a physical and occupational therapist, I look forward to being a part of this community as we work together to promote enrichment in education, health care, and in business so that we can continue to move forward through a variety of hybrid models.
Suzanne Cresswell is a physical and occupational therapist with a private practice in Shasta County. She is the author of, Unique Learner Solutions, an easy to read book on the learning style of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia. She can be reached through this website and at her office in Redding, California.
To purchase a copy of her book, Unique Learner Solutions, please click here.