In the middle of the advanced technology and internet development, where everyone can easily access various kind of information and knowledge they want, a teacher still has an important role in learning. Even, in blended learning model which combines the concept of online and face to face learning at once, a teacher still also plays an important role in determining students achieving learning competence. Although we use the most sophisticated technology in teaching and learning activity, still, there are some teachers’ role which can’t be substituted by the technology. It is because an ideal learning activity is not only about achieving academic scores but also internalizing good character including self-management and motivation so that they can accomplish their assignment on time. Of course, it cannot be done by technology without any work of the teachers.
Basically, teachers have some roles in supporting the success of blended learning. The following parts of this article will discuss about the role of teachers in blended learning.
Understand the Technology that will be Used
The first role of teacher in blended learning is understanding the technology that will be used. The teachers should have strong willingness to learn all about the platform and its features. It is because understanding the technology which will be used is one of the important requirements for teachers to make a good and appealing learning design.
Expectation should always be made in the beginning of teaching and learning program. It functions to show students about the things and target they should achieve during the learning period. Besides, giving high expectation proceeded by motivation from teachers will make students feel confident and have high willingness to involve in learning activities.
Design Face to Face Meeting
Teachers’ role in blended learning is more complex than traditional teaching since the teachers must provide both online and offline/face to face learning design. Design of online learning that using sophisticated technology is usually always attract students. In blended learning, it must also completed by an attractive design of face to face learning. Research showed that the success of blended learning is almost achieved when the attractive and challenging online learning is also completed by good activities in face to face learning which is managed well by the teachers.
Learning activities in face to face learning should be relevant with the online learning. Besides, the activities should be designed to facilitate and provoke students to think critically, show their creativity, and collaborate with classmates. The activities can be in form of coaching and mentoring, work in small group, role-play, simulation, debate, problem solving, analysis, and reflection.
Teach metacognitive and Skill of Self-Management
Students’ ability to manage themselves to involve in blended learning optimally is one of the factors that support the success of blended learning. In this model of learning, indeed, students have bigger responsibility of their independence. As teaching and learning activities is done more online than face to face, therefore, the control of students’ learning and accomplishing assignment is in themselves. The control from teacher is not as high as in traditional face to face learning. Teachers in blended learning work more as a mentor, coach, and help students who state their problem. Hence, metacognitive aspect is necessary to be taught such as the skill of questioning, monitoring, and explaining. The goal is to make students be able to decide when should they ask, how to explain, etc. although they are apart with their teachers. Students must also learn about how to manage themselves so that they can accomplish assignment and submit it on time.
Give Positive Feedback and Appreciation to Students
Feedback is one of the most prominent aspects in teaching and learning program. Feedback from teacher which is usually given by heart cannot done by the technology. Hence, this is still become teachers’ role to give students feedback for their works. Positive feedback from teachers will make students feel that their work is totally appreciated by others. In other hand, feedback can give direction to the students to revise their works as well.
In giving feedback, teacher should always use positive and motivated words. Although students do many mistakes, the teachers should appreciate them for their hard work in doing their work or assignment. Then, teacher show which part of their work that must be revised and encourage them to revise it so on.
Feedback is not only about commenting on students’ mistakes. Students who have no mistakes in their work must be given feedback as well to make them more motivated to learn and involve in learning process.
Lead Online Discussion
According to Swan (2003) in a research about online learning, online discussion give students opportunity to do reflection toward their classmates’ works and their own works. It means online discussion which is led by teacher will make students try to analyze the accuracy of their classmates’ work toward theory they have learned or even just comment on their classmates’ opinion and experience. Then they will try to express it by proper words as well. Teachers should keep atmosphere of the discussion conducive.
Instead of making reflection, the online discussion can be about discussing something that students have not understand yet as well. In this case, the teachers should be flexible as the students have various kind of characters and different need. During the discussion, teachers should be ready to assist the students with their problem. Show them attention since the more teachers understand the students and their experience the easier teachers to help them. The teachers should not hesitate to contact the students as well. When there are students who do not replay email or give respond at all, it is teachers’ duty to contact and motivate them to participate in the discussion. Hence, the discussion run well and the goal of discussion will be achieved.
The success of blended learning need teachers to involve and play their role properly. As explained above, the role of teachers in blended learning are understanding the technology being used, making expectation, designing face to face teaching and learning activities, teaching metacognitive and skill of self-management, giving positive feedback and leading online discussion. Besides, teachers should also do evaluations toward students’ outcome of learning. When the teachers are able to play their role properly, the technology usage which is usually always appealing for students will work more optimally. It will support us to achieve the success of blended learning.