Socialization: It's a Matter of Quantity vs. Quality

We receive many questions from parents regarding the number of opportunities for socialization when a student is in enrolled in a blended learning program such as Method Schools. As a mother of a child enrolled in blended learning programs throughout her educational career and as an experienced administrator in blended learning, I have found that socialization within flexible blended learning programs becomes a matter of quantity vs. quality.

When a student attends a traditional seat-based school, opportunities for socialization are on the most part, dictated to them. They are able to socialize within limited parameters in between classes and at break times throughout their required five days a week on campus. There may be time built within class time that allows for meaningful social interaction, but often that time is spent receiving information from the teacher. This educational model and opportunities for socialization within it, are by no means meaningless, as thousands of students attend and do well in these environments. The quantity of opportunities for socialization are numerous, as the students are together all day, every day. The quality, however, is open to question. How valuable are the social interactions between students racing from one class to another before the bell rings, or during a class while taking notes on plate tectonics?

For those looking for a different educational approach, such as a flexible blended learning program, the social interaction is dictated by the student and the parent. The student and parent decide how many days she is on campus. The student and parent decide how many extra- curricular activities they want to participate in aside from attending school. The student and parent decide just how many opportunities for socialization they want or need each day or week. The opportunities for socialization look differently within a flexible blended learning program such as Method Schools. Because we operate small sites, less time is spent racing from class to class and more time is spent collaborating with others on meaningful projects. Because we implement small class sizes, less time is spent on regurgitating information and more time is spent on problem solving with peers. Because we offer a variety of scheduling on site tracks, less time is spent on memorizing information and more time is spent on spending time with peers that share the same interests.    

Blended learning programs have the flexibility to refine how instructional time is spent, allowing for increased opportunities that promote social interactions of quality, not just quantity.

Dr. Jessica Spallino
Dr. Jessica Spallino
Jessica has a demonstrated track record of building schools that are forward-thinking, high-performing, and often unconventional. She is particularly experienced at building online and blended learning charter schools, and has a passion for improving K-12 education through new and innovative models and concepts. She’s regularly asked to speak on change management and building positive and innovative cultures in schools and in the workplace. Jessica holds a BA in English, an MA in Educational Leadership, and holds PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University.

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