Teacher working in hybrid classroomIn a time of COVID-19 uncertainty, adopting hybrid learning for children will only stress students and teachers further, warns an education professor.

Prof pens article on pitfalls of hybrid learning

Hybrid learning is more about politics and saving money than it is about what’s best for kids, says a UWindsor professor who specializes in online teaching methods.

Prof. Bonnie StewartIn an article published this week in The Conversation, Bonnie Stewart (pictured at left) writes that forcing educators to teach online and in person simultaneously robs kids of quality education and heaps additional stress on teachers and students.

“Virtual education piggybacked onto classroom learning and relationships demonstrates disrespect for teachers, for equity in Ontario schools, and for public education generally,” writes Dr. Stewart, an associate professor in UWindsor’s Faculty of Education.

“At best, the hybrid mandate demonstrates a failure to value the high-quality legacy of Ontario education. At worst, it suggests ways that the province is looking at the pandemic as an opportunity to defund public education.”

In areas across the province, school boards have announced teachers will be expected to deliver content to students virtually, at the same time that other students are physically in the classroom. This is a change from the last school year, when most teachers taught either online or in person, not both simultaneously.

Stewart suspects the adoption of hybrid learning is about saving money.

“Hybrid learning collapses virtual and face-to-face classroom options under a single teacher’s salary, instead of having to hire additional teachers for virtual learning,” she said.

“Hybrid learning, then, isn’t a choice so much as an abdication of responsibility by the province. And it doubles demand on teachers, in the process.”

The Conversation is an online publication that shares news and views from the academic and research community. Read the entire article, “Hybrid learning — teaching kids in-person and online at the same time — robs children of quality education.”

—Sarah Sacheli

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