different kinds of teaching methods
No two teachers are alike, and any teacher with classroom teaching experience will agree that their style of teaching is uniquely their own. An effective teaching style engages students in the learning process and helps them develop critical thinking skills. Traditional teaching styles have evolved with the advent of differentiated instruction, prompting teachers to adjust their styles toward students’ learning needs.
What are the different styles of teaching?
The following list of teaching styles highlights the five main strategies teachers use in the classroom, as well as the benefits and potential pitfalls of each respective teaching method.
Authority, or lecture style
The authority model is teacher-centered and frequently entails lengthy lecture sessions or one-way presentations. Students are expected to take notes or absorb information.
- Pros: This style is acceptable for certain higher-education disciplines and auditorium settings with large groups of students. The pure lecture style is most suitable for subjects like history that necessitate memorization of key facts, dates, names, etc.
- Cons: It is a questionable model for teaching children because there is little or no interaction with the teacher.
Demonstrator, or coach style
The demonstrator retains the formal authority role while allowing teachers to demonstrate their expertise by showing students what they need to know.
- Pros: This style gives teachers opportunities to incorporate a variety of formats including lectures, multimedia presentations and demonstrations.
- Cons: Although it’s well-suited for teaching mathematics, music, physical education, arts and crafts, it is difficult to accommodate students’ individual needs in larger classrooms.
Facilitator, or activity style
Facilitators promote self-learning and help students develop critical thinking skills and retain knowledge that leads to self-actualization.
- Pros: This style trains students to ask questions and helps develop skills to find answers and solutions through exploration; it is ideal for teaching science and similar subjects.
- Cons: Challenges teacher to interact with students and prompt them toward discovery rather than lecturing facts and testing knowledge through memorization.
Delegator, or group style
The delegator style is best-suited for curriculum that requires lab activities, such as chemistry and biology, or subjects that warrant peer feedback, like debate and creative writing.
- Pros: Guided discovery and inquiry-based learning places the teacher in an observer role that inspires students by working in tandem toward common goals.
- Cons: Considered a modern style of teaching, it is sometimes criticized as newfangled and geared toward teacher as consultant rather than the traditional authority figure.
Hybrid, or blended style
Hybrid, or blended style, follows an integrated approach to teaching that blends the teachers’ personality and interests with students’ needs and curriculum-appropriate methods.
- Pros: Achieves the inclusive approach of combining teaching style clusters and enables teachers to tailor their styles to student needs and appropriate subject matter.
- Cons: Hybrid style runs the risk of trying to be too many things to all students, prompting teachers to spread themselves too thin and dilute learning.
Because teachers have styles that reflect their distinct personalities and curriculum — from math and science to English and history — it’s crucial that they remain focused on their teaching objectives and avoid trying to be all things to all students.
What you need to know about your teaching style
Although it is not the teacher’s job to entertain students, it is vital to engage them in the learning process. Selecting a style that addresses the needs of diverse students at different learning levels begins with a personal inventory — a self-evaluation — of the teacher’s strengths and weaknesses. As they develop their teaching styles and integrate them with effective classroom management skills, teachers will learn what works best for their personalities and curriculum.
Our guide encapsulates today’s different teaching styles and helps teachers identify the style that’s right for them and their students. Browse through the article or use these links to jump to your desired destination.
Emergence of the teaching style inventory
How have teaching styles evolved? This is a question teachers are asked, and frequently ask themselves, as they embark on their careers, and occasionally pause along the way to reflect on job performance. To understand the differences in teaching styles, it’s helpful to know where the modern concept of classifying teaching methods originated.
The late Anthony F. Grasha, a noted professor of psychology at the University of Cincinnati, is credited with developing the classic five teaching styles. A follower of psychiatrist Carl Jung, Grasha began studying the dynamics of the relationship between teachers and learning in college classrooms. His groundbreaking book, “Teaching with Style, ” was written both as a guide for teachers and as a tool to help colleagues, administrators and students systematically evaluate an instructor’s effectiveness in the classroom.
Grasha understood that schools must use a consistent, formal approach in evaluating a teacher’s classroom performance. He recognized that any system designed to help teachers improve their instructional skills requires a simple classification system. He developed a teaching style inventory that has since been adopted and modified by followers.
- Expert: Similar to a coach, experts share knowledge, demonstrate their expertise, advise students and provide feedback to improve understanding and promote learning.
- Formal authority: Authoritative teachers incorporate the traditional lecture format and share many of the same characteristics as experts, but with less student interaction.
- Personal model: Incorporates blended teaching styles that match the best techniques with the appropriate learning scenarios and students in an adaptive format.
- Facilitator: Designs participatory learning activities and manages classroom projects while providing information and offering feedback to facilitate critical thinking.
- Delegator: Organizes group learning, observes students, provides consultation, and promotes interaction between groups and among individuals to achieve learning objectives.
Although he developed specific teaching styles, Grasha warned against boxing teachers into a single category. Instead, he advocated that teachers play multiple roles in the classroom. He believed most teachers possess some combination of all or most of the classic teaching styles.
How does differentiated instruction impact teaching styles?
Carol Ann Tomlinson, a professor at the University of Virginia, is an early advocate of differentiated instruction and a pioneer in the development of learning-based teaching styles. If Grasha laid the groundwork for 20th-century teachers to adopt styles tailored to match their personalities and strengths, Tomlinson has advanced this theme into the 21st century by focusing on differentiated instruction.
In the simplest terms, differentiated instruction means keeping all students in mind when developing lesson plans and workbook exercises, lectures and interactive learning. These student-focused differences necessitate instructional styles that embrace diverse classrooms for students at all learning levels and from various backgrounds without compromising the teacher’s strengths.