Hybrid Considerations: Teaching and Learning

During hybrid learning, it is important to make the most of limited face-to-face time. For hybrid instruction to be effective, teachers and school leaders must plan carefully to prioritize instruction that is most powerful when young people are face-to-face.

Guiding Questions:

  • What tools can your district provide to schools to help teachers plan in ways that maximize student interaction and student voice during hybrid learning?
  • How has the school or district supported teachers in identifying teaching strategies that are most effective for hybrid learning?

Plan for Remote; Adjust for Hybrid

For teachers toggling between remote and hybrid learners, planning can be overwhelming. Administrators can support this work by providing templates and examples on ways to modify remote learning plans to maximize hybrid learning.

This template (FHI 360) can help teachers modify their lessons for remote, hybrid, or in-person instruction.

The Council for Chief State School Officers created “Steps to Align Curriculum to Remote and Hybrid Scenarios” to help educators prepare each curricular unit for in-person, remote, and hybrid scenarios.

Teaching Lab’s “Distance and Hybrid Learning Principles” is a guide that helps educators plan to deliver instruction in fully remote or hybrid learning contexts.

Name and Focus on a Few High-Impact Hybrid Pedagogical Strategies

District or school leaders can provide professional development on a small number of pedagogical practices that the school or district uses to maximize hybrid learning. Those practices should specifically focus on connecting young people to one another in ways that work with the limitations of hybrid learning (social distancing, etc.).

Overall rule of thumb: Encourage teachers to use in-person and any other synchronous times for active learning and interactive class engagement (Supporting Learning in the COVID-19 Context: Research to Guide Distance and Blended Instruction, PACE).

Using a flipped classroom approach can provide a structure for students to work independently while remote and collaboratively when in school. Schoology offers a Beginner’s Guide to Flipped Classroom.

Schools have also taken advantage of small hybrid classrooms to have rich, structured discussions or debates, where students can prepare in advance while remote.

In this hybrid or remote version of Station Rotation, students can either physically move or stay in place as they progress through a series of learning activities at a teacher-led station, an online station, and an offline station (Dr. Catlin Tucker).

Christensen Institute’s Blended Learning Universe is a website dedicated to helping classroom, school, and district practitioners. It includes:

  • Seven models that range from “Station Rotation” to “Enriched Virtual.”
  • Design help for developing blended learning approaches and strategies for implementation.

Provide Guidance for Student Grouping

While teachers have long used strategic pairing and grouping to maximize learning, hybrid classrooms offer new challenges. Education leaders can provide models and examples to help teachers rethink how they can encourage collaboration in hybrid classrooms.

Teachers can use technology tools already available in the school’s learning management system to pair or group remote and in-person students.

Take Advantage of In-Person Assessment Opportunities

Across the nation, education leaders feel a sense of urgency around understanding how students are progressing and where they need more support. While teachers are sometimes inclined to push assessment to remote days, there are advantages to districts strategically assessing students face to face and via remote learning. Districts can provide guidelines to teachers on how and how often students should be assessed.

For more information, visit the Formative Assessment section of this guide.

This Edutopia article provides four assessment strategies that can help maximize teachers’ in-person time and promote rich, engaging assessment:

  • One-on-one conferences
  • Higher-order thinking assignments
  • Digital quizzes (Common Sense Education has a “best of” list)
  • Digital writing discussions

Simultaneous Remote and Hybrid Instruction

While some districts prohibit teachers being assigned to simultaneous remote and hybrid instruction, many others are trying this strategy. Districts that have invested in technological supports (extra mics in classrooms, cameras that swivel to the speaker, etc.) find those technologies supportive, but teachers report being stretched in these classrooms.

How Do I Teach Online and In Person at the Same Time? Your Questions, Answered gives an array of technology solutions and other strategies to support teachers doing simultaneous remote and hybrid instruction (We Are Teachers).