Each teacher is unique in their teaching style. As traditional teaching methods evolve with differentiated instruction, teachers are adapting their approach to meet the learning needs of their students.
There are some basic teaching styles that educators use. Which one are you?
You have style
These five teaching styles are a summary of the main strategies teachers use in the classroom. They also highlight the potential pitfalls and benefits of each.
The Authority or lecture style
The authority model is teacher-centered. It often involves lengthy lectures or one-way presentations. Students are expected take notes and absorb information.
- Advantages This style is suitable for certain higher education disciplines and auditorium settings that have large numbers of students. For subjects such as history, where key facts and dates must be memorized, the pure lecture style is best.
- Cons – It is a poor model to teach children, as there is very little interaction with the teacher. It can also be a bit sleepy. It’s an ideal approach for mature, older students.
The coach style is the Demonstrator or demonstrator
While the demonstrator is not a formal authority, he or she shows students what they should know. Although the demonstrator looks a lot like a lecturer, their lessons are multimedia presentations, activities and demonstrations. (Think: Math. Science. Music.)
- Pros – This style allows teachers to include a variety formats, including multimedia presentations and lectures.
- Cons – Although it’s great for teaching math, music, or arts and craft, it can be difficult to accommodate individual student needs in larger classes.
The Facilitator or activity style
Facilitators encourage self-learning, and students are taught critical thinking skills. They also help them retain the knowledge necessary to achieve self-actualization.
- Pros – This style encourages students to ask questions, and helps them develop the skills to search for answers. It is perfect for teaching science and other related subjects.
- Cons – This challenge requires teachers to engage with students and encourage them towards discovery, rather than lecturing and memorizing facts. It’s not easy to quantify success in concrete terms.
The Delegator or group style
This style of delegator is most appropriate for curricula that involve lab activities (chemistry and biology) or subject matter that requires peer feedback (debate and creative writing).
- Pros – Guided discovery and inquiry based learning allow the teacher to be an observer, inspiring students to work together towards common goals.
- Cons – This style of teaching is often criticized for eroding teacher authority. The teacher is more of a consultant than a traditional authority figure when acting as a delegator.
The Hybrid or mixed style is the Hybrid.
Hybrid, or blended style, follows an integrated approach to teaching that blends the teacher’s personality and interests with students’ needs and curriculum-appropriate methods.
- Pros: Inclusive! It allows teachers to adapt their teaching styles to the needs of students and to provide appropriate subject matter.
- Cons Hybrid style is at risk of being too many things to students. This can lead to teachers trying to be too much to all students.
Teachers have different styles and teaching methods that reflect their personalities and curriculum. It is important that teachers remain focused on their teaching goals and not try to be everything to everyone.
Here are some things you should know about your teaching style
While it is not the job of teachers to entertain students, it’s vital that they engage in the learning process. To find a teaching style that meets the needs of students at all levels, it is important to take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the teacher. Teachers will discover what is most effective for them and their curriculum as they improve their teaching methods and learn how to manage classrooms effectively.
This guide helps teachers and students identify the best teaching style for them. You can browse the article or click these links to get to your destination.
- What’s a teaching style inventory? How have teaching styles changed over time?
- Which teaching method is most effective for today’s students.
- How can classroom diversity impact teachers?
Inventory of emerging teaching styles
What has changed in teaching methods? Teachers often ask this question as they begin their careers. Sometimes, they pause to think about how they are doing. It’s important to understand where the modern idea of classifying teaching methods came from in order to appreciate the differences between teaching styles.
Anthony F. Grasha (a prominent professor of psychology at University of Cincinnati) is known for creating the five classic teaching styles. Grasha, a follower of Carl Jung’s psychiatrist, began to study the dynamic of teachers and learning in college classrooms. His groundbreaking book teaching with style, was written to guide teachers as well as help administrators, students, and colleagues in systematically evaluating an instructor’s effectiveness within the classroom.
Grasha knew that schools should use a consistent and formal approach to evaluating teacher performance in the classroom. Grasha recognized the need for a simple classification system to aid teachers in their teaching skills. He created a teaching style inventory, which has been modified and adopted by many others.
- Expert – Similar to a coach experts share their knowledge, demonstrate expertise, advise students and give feedback to help improve understanding and foster learning.
- Formal authority : Authoritative teachers use the lecture format but have less interaction with students.
- Personal model – Incorporates blended learning styles that combine the best teaching techniques with the most appropriate learning scenarios.
- Facilitator – Design and manage classroom projects, while offering information and feedback to foster critical thinking.
- Delegator Organizes group learning and provides consultation to students.
Grasha did not advocate for limiting teachers to a particular teaching style. Instead, he advocated for teachers to play multiple roles within the classroom. He believed that most teachers have a combination of some or all of the traditional teaching styles.
What does differentiation mean for teaching styles?
Carol Ann Tomlinson is a University of Virginia professor and an early advocate of differentiated teaching. She was also a pioneer in learning-based teaching methods. Tomlinson, who focuses on differentiated instruction, has built upon the work of Grasha by encouraging teachers in the 20th century to adopt teaching styles that are tailored to their strengths and personalities.
Differencing instruction, in its simplest form, means that all students are considered when creating lesson plans, workbook exercises, lectures, or interactive learning. This student-focused difference requires instructional styles that accommodate students from all learning levels and backgrounds.
Which teaching style works best for today’s students and is it the right one?
You can’t please all students, no matter if you are a first-year teacher looking to put into practice the pedagogical methods you learned in college or an experienced teacher who is looking at differentiated instruction and other learning methods. Although there are five types of teaching styles, the ideal teaching style today isn’t one or the other. It’s more of a blend of all that a teacher can offer.
It might seem that the traditional advice to teachers to not be too broad with their teaching methods may conflict with today’s focus on student-centered classrooms. It is possible to create a student-centered style of teaching by focusing more on the strengths and talents of students.
In short, modern methods of teaching require different types of teachers–from the analyst/organizer to the negotiator/consultant. These are just a few of the factors teachers should consider when deciding which teaching method is best for their students.
Empty container: The “sage on stage” lecture style is criticised by those who believe that students’ minds are essentially empty and must be filled with the “expert teacher”. Critics of this traditional teaching method insist that it is outdated and must be replaced for today’s diverse classroom.
Active or passive? Proponents of the traditional lecture approach argue that a greater emphasis on group-oriented participatory learning styles like facilitator and delegator favors gifted and competitive students over passive learners with diverse learning abilities. This increases the difficulty of meeting all learners’ needs.
Knowledge vs. Information: Knowledge refers to a full understanding or comprehension of a subject. The best teaching methods include facilitator, delegator and demonstrator. This helps students master a subject and gives them a broad range of learning styles. This is in contrast to passive learning which focuses on memorizing facts or information with the short-term goal of scoring high on tests.
Interactive classrooms – Today’s teaching methods rely heavily on the use of tablets and laptops, video conferencing and podcasts. It is crucial that teachers evaluate the knowledge of their students while they learn using technology. It is better to wait to see test results and discover knowledge gaps that should be detected during active learning.
Constructivist Teaching Methods: Modern teaching styles tend towards group-focused, inquiry-driven teaching. Subsets of other teaching methods are included in constructivist teaching methods, such as coaching, modeling, and rubrics scaffolding for test preparation. These methods are meant to encourage student participation, and require a hybrid approach to teaching. The constructivist approach has one drawback. It caters to group-oriented, extroverted students who are more likely to benefit from these teaching methods than introverts. However, this assumes that introverts don’t learn by watching.
A teacher’s preferred method of teaching does not have to be compromised in order to student-centric learning. Teachers must adapt their teaching style to meet the needs of 21st century classrooms.
The’sage on stage’ meets the “tiger mom”
It has become more difficult to combine teaching styles to maximize the strengths of teachers while meeting the needs of different students. Parents are now taking a proactive role in child-learning techniques.
The traditional authoritative/expert, or “sage on the stage” lecture style, has come under attack by some parents–and contemporary educational leaders–who emphasize that a more diverse approach to teaching is necessary to engage students. The rise of the “tiger moms” is a term that parents have used to describe educators who are dedicated to improving education quality and placing a laser-precision emphasis on A-list schools.
Age of the proactive parent
No matter what teaching style a teacher chooses, it is important that they have positive attitudes, set goals and set high expectations for their students.
Harry and Rosemary Wong, education authors, declare that students can excel. They are former teachers who have combined over 80 years of education experience. The Wongs’ best-selling book How to Be an Effective Teachers and the more recent The Class Management Book emphasize that successful teachers share three characteristics.
- effective classroom management skills
- Mastering the lesson
- positive expectations
When developing teaching methods, instructors should remember these three goals as well as the primary goal of education: student learning.
What does classroom diversity mean for teachers?
It is clear that teachers today are responsible for students with diverse learning abilities. The 21st century teacher is not able to pick the lowest-hanging fruits and leave the rest for specialists who are trained in learning disorders or behavioral problems.
Teachers must be able to adapt their teaching methods to work in diverse classrooms. Teaching methods that engage gifted students are also effective for slow-learning children or those with attention deficit tendencies. Differentiated instruction and a balanced mixture of teaching styles can reach all students in a classroom, not just those who respond best to one style.
It is the wonderment of teaching that Dr. Harry Wong, an educator, refers to as “that moment when a child gets it,” which is one of many rewarding but seemingly unattainable benefits of being a teacher. Transferring knowledge from an expert to a student is both an art and a skill. Both can be learned and improved upon.
The first step in engaging students is to choose the right teaching style for you. Remember that you don’t have to choose one style of teaching over another. You just need to find the best style for you and your students. You can try different teaching styles to achieve different goals, and you should always be willing to challenge yourself to find new ways to reach every student.