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French teacher motivates online and in-person students amid hybrid learning

Andrew Horning is using technology to help Kuna students actively participate wherever they are learning.

KUNA, Idaho — Andrew Horning says French has always been his passion, but he never thought he would be teaching it. Now, teaching at Swan Falls High in Kuna is his second career, and he can't imagine doing anything else.

"I really show up to work every day hoping that I can make a difference," Horning said.

Students at the high school are on a hybrid schedule, but in Horning's class, it's like they are all physically in class every day.

"I'm able to teach to everyone at home as well as everyone in front of me in the classroom, so the faces in front of me will change but thanks to technology I'm also able to reach out and involve students from their homes as well," Horning said. "I can call on a student to respond to a question in class just as easily as I can call on a student who is at home." 

Horning says when he first started teaching the hybrid schedule, students in the classroom could hear the students at home, but the students at home couldn't hear the in-class group. Now, thanks to a lot of help, it's not an issue.

"I had a new microphone installed in the middle of the ceiling in my classroom, so I feel like the technology is really great now," he said. "We could just continue like this for quite a while if we have to."

He knows the setup doesn't work for every class, but for foreign language, it has worked like a charm.

"This method lets me teach something new every single day rather than to wait for all students to be physically in front of me," Horning explained. "We're very discussion-based, very communicative, so in this environment, it does work very well."

Starting the first week of April, secondary students in Kuna can choose whether they want to start attending school full time. Students can opt to continue in the hybrid model as well, meaning Horning will be continuing with some remote learning every day until the end of the school year.

"I just hope that my passion for what I do and for educating my students - I hope they can feel that, and I think they do,"  he said.

If you would like to nominate an Innovative Educator email us at innovativeeducator@ktvb.com. If you would like more information on submitting an application for a classroom grant visit capedfoundation.org.

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