by Sofia Amador-Brenes, EdD - Definition: Concurrent instruction is a term used to describe a hybrid teaching & learning approach where one teacher delivers instruction to a group of in-person students and a group of remote students simultaneously.
For over a century, teaching and learning took place in the comfortable spaces of brick-and-mortar buildings that accommodated classrooms. This traditional space evolved at a rhythm that allowed teachers and students to adjust to change, until 2020 hit us with the worst pandemic in modern times.
Through the pandemic year, schools were forced to transform education. Teachers had to face unimaginable changes to their teaching styles. Students found themselves “alone”, facing a screen and having to develop skills that went beyond academic standards expectation: self-control, time management, self-evaluation, accountability, and metacognition. These and other executive functions became as important as the learning expectations demanded by the academic standards. Let’s not forget parents, who were forced to become teachers at home, while learning to work remotely, managing multiple tasks at the same time.
By mid 2020, the world echoed thousands of questions regarding the future of education and the future approaches to learning: Was it going to be hybrid learning, in person learning, remote learning? If so... when?, how?... Teachers' fears and uncertainty increased!
Educational associations, accrediting agencies and other organizations have stood up in support of teachers, students and parents. They have developed strategies, approaches and frameworks that became the foundations of apps, webinars, conferences and seminars offered as free resources or at affordable prices to the scholar world.
At the awake of a new school year, education was still facing big challenges, one of which is embedding technology in every lesson to make learning a significant experience. Concepts such as student engagement, collaboration and assessment have become huge concerns among world-wide school faculties.
One fourth into the 2021 school year in some countries, or into the third quarter of the 2020-2021 school year in other countries, we are still struggling to implement much more innovation in the classrooms than there is time to conduct research. Teachers gather in collaborative learning groups, observe one another, and do research on best practices to meet the needs of students sitting in the classroom and those connected remotely.
We still have a long way to go! We have not quite gotten to the point of engaging our students 100% with exciting and challenging learning experiences; we sometimes miss the point of true embedding of technology in our daily teaching; we still lack in our attempt to provide the right amount and kind of feedback, assess for learning and help students develop expertise for self and peer assessment. Nevertheless, today’s education finally allowed students to take the front seat of the learning expedition through a more personalized learning.
Flexibility, transparency, communication, collaboration, executive functions, and reflection are concepts that concurrent learning fosters through playlists, for example, that include a variety of elements, offline activities, video instruction, online quizzes, conferencing, gamification, peer evaluation and self- evaluation, among a myriad of other activities.
Covid-19 brought suffering, uncertainty and vulnerability into our lives, but it also awoke humans’ potential to recreate ourselves and to fight for our beliefs. We teachers of the 21st century believe in what we do, therefore we will move on, fight some more until we finally meet the needs of every single one of our students. We will not give up!
LA Cognia's Conference Leading the Way. March 5, 2021