By Sofia Alberga
Hybrid learning (also referred to as blended learning) is a new approach to education that has become increasingly prevalent in this new age of Covid-19. This year, Harbord students may not be affected by it, although they still have many opinions on this learning structure. Hybrid learning incorporates both online and in-person classroom methods while not being completely virtual nor completely having a physical presence.
This year's grade 12 graduates only had one full year of in-class instruction, which was their grade 9 year. When the pandemic became very current and relevant, the safety of face-to-face school was questioned. For them, this questioning resulted in their grade 11 year having an option between being completely online or using the hybrid system (virtual and in-person classes). Last year at Harbord, as the rise of Covid-19 cases began to increase, virtual learning was all of Harbord students’ only choice for specific quadmesters. Even today, schools still incorporate hybrid learning as an option for students who do not feel comfortable being in a classroom every day.
As we have all experienced, the whole world can turn upside down in an instance. Consequently, the return of hybrid learning is always on the horizon. After being questioned, some of the first years at Harbord share a common opinion about the subject. Their unanimous opinion was overall unfavourable towards this way of learning. Some have stated that “Pivoting between online and in-person classes would very quickly become confusing and disorganized. [This constant change of learning style] would add additional stress as the worry of being late to school would stay consistent.” Another student also shared, “That the disorganization would not only [intervene] in the life of a student but also the life of a teacher. As a teacher, you would have to juggle the physical work and virtual work for students all on the same day. Overall, I am not a huge fan of this system”. As the students themselves may disagree with this form of schooling, the Ontario government and a handful of professors believe that this practice allows some flexibility for students and helps them develop multiple responsibilities along with new learning tools.
Hybrid learning was first introduced as the “solution.” The solution to helping limit the risk of Covid-19. The solution that gives students to practise both virtual and in-person learning. The solution that grants easy access to learning. Though this way of learning may have some negative effects and personal dislikes towards it, it is still the form of academic education that helped us through these alarming times in our lives. We have all practised the act of adaptability. We have the willingness to learn, make mistakes, and then learn some more. We adapt to going to high school, having new teachers, wearing masks, recognizing our new normal, and finding new ways to learn. We take the issues in our lives and find solutions for them - we adapt. Hybrid learning has become well-known in this past year and a half as a temporary learning tool, but this system may carry on for those who benefit from it. As our lives change and we learn to adapt to change, we shouldn’t focus on everything we feel adverse about. We should take on new challenges that may come in our lives, and who knows, maybe hybrid learning will soon be a normal way of education.