No two teachers are alike, and any teacher with classroom teaching experience will agree that their style of teaching is uniquely their own. Teachers need to account for students’ various learning abilities and must adapt their teaching styles to benefit each individual student and the classroom as a whole.
Common teaching styles used in the classroom
Here are five common classroom teaching styles that help teachers better connect with their students.
The formal authority strategy is one of the most popular and widely used teaching styles. Also known as “sage on the stage”, authority figures act as the center of attention, demanding all students to focus on the teacher’s direct instruction. In order to maintain control of the classroom, any type of misbehavior must be dealt with quickly. The teacher maintains power through negative punishments in a swift and severe manner. This style of teaching is most common in disruptive classrooms, and may produce short-term gains. A teacher’s potential influence, however, may degrade as the student moves on.
Also known as the “demonstrator”, the teacher models or demonstrates certain behaviors that are beneficial to the students. Instruction is provided in a similar fashion as the authority figure, but model behavior is shown by example–not demanded of students. There is often a clear cut discipline structure that is communicated to both parents and students. The teacher finds satisfaction in the strides that the students make each day. In return, the students begin to build a trusting relationship with their teacher that lasts beyond the classroom year.
A student-oriented teaching style focuses heavily on each particular student, as this style assumes every student learns in a different capacity. Teachers must spend more time with each individual student, accommodating the lesson plans to fit the student’s needs. This teaching style is ideal in smaller settings, but may not suit a larger classroom.
Teachers create several activities and provide the classroom with materials and an outline, placing the impetus on students to complete assignments individually or in groups. Teachers may walk around the classroom to help facilitate thoughts about the subject matter, or they may stay at their desk answering questions when necessary. Facilitators trust students to help their peers and derive answers mostly on their own. At the end of each activity, the teacher may gather the classroom for a joint discussion.
This type of teaching style is known as the “hands-off” method. The delegator is very similar to the facilitator, but much more emphasis is placed on student-driven learning. The teacher prepares complex situations or problems that students must resolve individually or as a group. The teacher allows students to design and implement their own assessments and projects, and reinforces the friendships and relationships amongst the students. The teacher acts as a consultant, providing guidance and support only in times of great need.
No one teaching style will work in every situation. Remember, even though you may prefer one teaching style over another, you must find the style that works best for your students! Try different styles to meet different objectives, and always challenge yourself to find ways to reach each student.