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Blended Teaching in Early Childhood Education: what is it, what are the benefits, and how to apply it?

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Education has been undergoing several changes over the last few years, not only because of the health issues that were faced worldwide, but by the teaching methods themselves, jointing technology and traditional tools as a way of composing education in all stages of children’s development. 

Thus, thinking about active education, hybrid teaching models are transforming pedagogical plans and the educational process broadly.

What is blended teaching?

Blended teaching is an educational perspective combining different techniques of learning constitution, making the student an active agent in constructing his/her knowledge. 

This modality will satisfactorily combine face-to-face and online teaching practices, using digital tools that align with the child’s practical development, involving the family, the school, and mainly the student him/herself in his/her learning process in a collaborative way.  

Thus, blended learning, or hybrid teaching, as it became popular in Brazil, involves the idea of technological innovations as the main factor in bringing content to students in different ways, involving other languages and expanding the concept of active subjects in the learning process to from active teaching methodologies.

Some schools around the world were already implementing this form of teaching even before the global pandemic.

Blended learning proposes flexibility regarding the place and time of classes, besides opening a range of learning possibilities from the tools currently available.

Thus, hybrid teaching allows the student to be a researcher, a subject who participates in the process, not just a receiver of information, but someone who can participate and reflect on the content he/she is learning. 

How does blended learning work? 

In the blended teaching model, didactic pedagogical techniques are worked together with technological resources,  improving students’ cognitive capacity, and allowing them to develop teamwork in a cooperative and empathetic way. At the same time, their individual needs are observed by the teacher within the pedagogical practice.

One of the highly functional characteristics of hybrid teaching is the decentralization of the teacher as the holder of all knowledge, in this way, students can actively participate in the construction of knowledge.

One of the major concerns of parents and guardians is that students will not be guided in the learning process, given the autonomy of this teaching way. However, this perspective does not correspond to the characteristics of blended teaching.

There is, however, an individualized and directed concern for students. Through new technologies and various technological sources of information, the student can feel active in this process, generating more and more interest in learning.

What are the models, and how to apply them in early childhood education?

Given these clarifications, we can demonstrate ways of implementing hybrid teaching in early childhood education from the most used blended learning formats. 

Rotation by seasons

The teacher will plan several stations, with different objectives, which the students will go through them, acquiring additional knowledge in each one.  

In early childhood education, station rotation can be a super fun activity for children, considering that they develop some socialization and cooperation skills with peers. 

Dividing the stations with the directed, collaborative and individual functions, all must be formed by groups of students, however, respecting their functions for the composition of learning.

Check out a thematic activity to compose the rotation by stations with the children, where the teacher is a guide of the process: 

  • Individual station: students will be at the same station, however, carrying out different tasks. For example, we can think of learning with a focus on different letters, where the children are all there with the same objective; however, each one learning about the initial letter of their name. 
  • Collaborative station: within this station, the teacher will work on the student’s ability to perform different tasks to compose a collective result at the end. Thus, an example of collaborative activity with the children would be the assembly of a poster with words and figures that have the same initial letter of their respective names; each child has a function, such as finding the pictures, the other cutting them, the other writing or cutting the letters of the word and pasting them. 
  • Directed station: at this station, the teacher will be more present with the students in the development of activities, being able to meet the needs individually according to the proposed activity, which must follow the same theme for the whole class, just be divided differently. One suggestion would be to work on the name of each student, on letter recognition, and on initial and final letters, among other ways to help children develop this learning.

The teacher is the mediator of this process and must know the individualities and needs of each student to direct the construction of this knowledge.

Rotational laboratory

When we talk about a rotational laboratory, we should think of the classroom divided into two groups, where theory is applied to one group while the other receives practical guidance on a given subject. 

After completing the objectives of each group, in each place, the order of the groups is reversed, and whoever received the theory will receive the practice and vice versa. 

With children, an exemplary activity designed for this form of application of hybrid teaching would be a study on insects, where half of the class receives theoretical guidance on insects, based on a previously selected documentary; and the other half of the class goes through the experience in an environment outside the classroom, in the garden, in a vegetable garden.

This lab requires the participation of other employees in collaboration and can be enriching for the entire participating team. This activity would be a rich experience for the child to do with his/her family and bring perspectives to the classroom in the online modality.  

Individual rotation

Within this modality, we can notice similarities with the rotations per station; however, the student will have a study itinerary according to his/her needs. Thus, he will only go through the station that covers the content he/she needs and interests him/her.

Distributing technology, artistic resources, teaching materials, and handicrafts can lead children to realize the infinite ways to learn about subjects.

Flipped classroom

The flipped classroom has been gaining ground in Brazilian education, mainly due to the great versatility of this form of hybrid teaching, where students are led to have direct participation in the learning process. 

This form of teaching works with students placed in the role of research subjects and, consequently, participants in the teaching-learning process. 

The teacher suggests a theme for the students, and they will do previous research involving digital tools, access to books, films, and various research sources that can be shared with the class and the teacher in this process. 

The name ‘inverted classroom’ arises due to the prior research that the student does on the subject before arriving in the classroom. 

Thus, the student already begins to formulate his/her ideas on the subject in question and takes his/her opinion and information to the classroom moment that will be demystified, improved, deconstructed, and complemented, according to the formal reality of the subject addressed. 

There are numerous possibilities to guide children to observe behaviors, places in their homes, or other social experiences and compose rich research. 

What is the difference between blended learning and remote learning? 

Given the clarifications on hybrid teaching, and all the protagonism of the student and the decentralization of the figure of the teacher, the difference in remote teaching is soon perceived, which refers to synchronous classes with an expository bias, where the teacher is a transmitter of content, and the student continues in the role of receiver. 

What are the benefits of blended teaching in Early Childhood Education?

As in most things and situations that make up our lives, blended learning has notable advantages in student development, from the earliest stages of school life, as well as disadvantages. 

With that in mind, the student’s independence as authors of their knowledge is undoubtedly one of the great advantages of blended learning in general.

Another advantage is the demystification that only the teacher is the holder of educational knowledge. The co-participation of students within the teaching-learning process has become fundamental for knowledge production necessary for a good school education.  

When we are talking about kindergarten children, we can see, with blended teaching, a huge advance in terms of the development of technological skills, as well as in the flexibility of their schedules, and also, the direction of pedagogical actions for the particularities of learning of each child, with personalized activities that add to the great advantages of blended teaching in early childhood education.

Among the numerous benefits linked to blended learning, we can list some advantages and disadvantages that fit into the different school stages and clarify many doubts parents and teachers may have about blended teaching and its benefits and difficulties in implementing it in the children’s routine.

Advantages of Blended Learning

  • Greater student autonomy
  • Curriculum ally
  • Teaching Personalization
  • Connecting digital technologies to the school curriculum
  • Interactive learning
  • Dynamism
  • Time optimization
  • Increased creativity

Disadvantages of Blended Learning

  • Requires better organizational planning on the part of teachers, which applies to school and family.
  • It is necessary to control distractions so that the digital interaction process does not deviate from educational objectives, especially when we are talking about children and the countless games and entertainment present in digital tools. 

The school should be the development space that, added to digital tools, makes up the children’s learning process, placing the student as the protagonist of their development, guiding individually and at the same time allowing the advancement of collective skills from the incentive of teamwork. 

St. Nicholas School has an international teaching proposal that provides its students with safety and enhances their learning process, uniting digital tools to a complete environment for children. 

Come, visit St. Nicholas School and bring your child to the best private children’s school in São Paulo.

Click on the link to apply now!

https://stnicholas.com.br/admissions/.

Author

  • St. Nicholas School

    St. Nicholas School is a school with an international education with the aim of developing responsible, confident and caring citizens. Teaching students to ask the right questions, to get to the right places for them. You can find St. Nicholas School in Pinheiros and Alphaville.

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