District: Columbus City Schools (OH)
I was inspired to become a French teacher because I loved my French teacher in high school. He focused on learning to communicate and write, not on rote memorization. He made me feel successful in his class and I wanted to help other students experience this type of learning.
My Innovation in Action Helped Me:
- Be successful in meeting the learning needs of my students, who come from a variety of backgrounds and have different content knowledge, an environment that did not lend itself to using traditional whole-group instruction with a textbook. By using blended learning strategies I learned with my LINC coach, I am able to meet students where they are in their learning pathways and enable increased student agency and ownership over their learning.
- Realize that by relinquishing control from the traditional stand and deliver model, you enable huge growth for yourself as an educator and for your students. Even if you mess up the way you implement strategies, it is okay because you are also learning. My students provided feedback which allowed me to tweak and improve my instruction.
- Reduce disciplinary incidents because of the strong relationships I build with my students and modeling that we are all learning new things together. I’ve learned how crucial it is to keep communication open with my students.
The Most Important Lesson I Learned:
I was more successful with my instruction when I implemented blended learning strategies more slowly. In my first year, I rolled out different strategies too quickly and my students weren’t ready to move at that pace. In my second year using blended learning, I started slowly introducing tools, and they moved to small-group instruction and using stations. This helped my students build their confidence and I have observed tremendous growth in their content knowledge and ability to learn in a variety of models. By creating a comfortable environment and letting my students know that it is okay no matter where they are in their learning and that I am here to help them get better, my students were all able to grow in their French knowledge and feel supported and more confident.
My Coach Reflects:
Angela is a teacher who dove right into blended learning. She has a mindset that if it doesn’t work, she will iterate and try it again. She got her students on board and then when she felt like she was overwhelmed, she decided to take a step back, not quit, but step back a bit to continue this work. I recently spoke with Angela and she is thrilled with her progress and the progress she sees in her students. She says she isn’t the one doing all the work in her classrooms and she doesn’t take grading home. Her students are doing the work and she now has time in class to meet with students to give them feedback. What’s especially nice is that during the last school year, she had to take an extended leave. Her students were already moving towards the mindset of owning their learning. Angela was able to set up an incredibly engaging playlist for her students while she was gone. She didn’t have to worry about sub plans and her students knew what to expect. This year she has started out with a blended lesson to introduce her syllabus. This has set the culture of a student-centered classroom. I’m looking forward to seeing Angela progress this year! (Charity Dodd, LINC Coach)
Resource to Share:
Angela uses an 8-station rotation plan to introduce her students to blended learning and the new year in her classroom. Download the instructions here to see how you might do this in your own classroom.