Teaching Styles and Methods: Which One Fits You?

Jul 5, 2018 by

Although all teachers share the same goal of enriching and developing student’s minds, every teacher has their own unique style and approach. Some teachers are fully aware of their style and strictly adhere to it, while others jump around from one method to another. The approach you choose also has a lot to do with the age of the students, the subject matter, and the classroom structure. Here is a little insight on several different teaching methods and approaches.

Lecture Style

This style of teaching is extremely popular in a higher education setting such as college or high school. The teacher lectures to the students who are expected to take extensive notes in order to absorb the information being given. Lecture style classes are very one-sided. The instructor does all the talking and the students listen. This style of teaching works well in larger groups where there isn’t the time nor need for small group work or interactive teaching. This is why it’s often seen in college settings. Certain subjects are also more conducive to this teaching style, such as history, where facts, dates, and static information is memorized. This style of teaching has no place in an early childhood education setting. Young students need hands-on interaction, small group experiences, and the opportunity to learn through play. Their attention span is also much too short for any type of lectured lesson.

Coaching Style

The coaching style of teaching is similar to that of lecture style except the instructor includes demonstrations, activities, and other presentations that are slightly more interactive than the more simplistic lecture style. This style of teaching works well for subjects such as science and math, where students benefit from seeing and doing experiments, solving equations, and using multimedia videos and other tools. The coaching style of teaching can also be used for teaching the arts, music, and physical education. This method is often used in higher level education settings as well and is fairly effective. But with any college setting, individualized teaching is often difficult to achieve in large groups. Some students may not understand the presentation or the exact steps being demonstrated and may not get the one-on-one explanation they require.

Group Style

There’s a lot to be said about group style teaching. This allows students to brainstorm, interact, and work with one another. These interactions lead to problem solving, in depth discussions, and the ability to learn from their peers. In a group style setting the teacher acts more as a facilitator than an authoritative voice. Students are encouraged to participate in hands-on activities and work together to solve a problem. The makeup of group style teaching lends itself best to subjects such as biology, chemistry, and creative writing. Although these subjects are geared more toward an older audience such as high school or middle school, group style teaching does have its place in the early childhood classroom as well. Small group activities in early education help students learn basic skills like problem solving, cooperation, patience, and teamwork. Based on the classical education model early childhood is where the foundation of skills are laid, which breeds further success.

Activity Style

The activity style of teaching is exactly as it sounds. It’s all about students actively learning through projects, hands-on activities, and interaction. These types of lessons allow students to work together but also individually. In both scenarios, students are encouraged to ask questions and explore their critical thinking skills. Activity style teaching works best with an older group of students who are capable of critical thinking, as well as retaining that information for use later on. This is a great teaching approach in the sciences because most information is gathered through experimentation and exploration. This approach also requires a lot of hands-on interaction from the instructor. Some students need prompting when it comes to critical thinking. Teachers can pose open-ended questions and make suggestions for further exploration to help facilitate the student’s learning process.

Blended Style

Blended teaching is one of the more flexible approaches and allows for teachers to incorporate some of their personality and personal teaching methods into the classroom. Their personal style is blended with the curriculum and other appropriate teaching methods. Another perk to the blended style of teaching is that instructors can also base their lessons and approach off of the student’s needs and interests. This works great for younger grades where students are constantly exploring new and different interests. Teachers can capitalize on teachable moments and tailor their lessons to what the students seem most interested in. This also helps meet all student’s individual needs. Teachers using the blended approach must be aware of trying to achieve too much at once. A good way to prevent this is to break the class into several groups and create beneficial lessons for those groups rather than try to meet every student’s individual need. This will lead to teachers spreading themselves too thin and could negatively impact the class as a whole.

Know Your Audience

The most important thing to consider when choosing a teaching style is the age and ability of your students. Certain teaching styles are clearly designed for older, more mature students, while others can be adapted to a younger audience. You must also consider the subject matter and class size. And don’t forget to add a little personality into your lessons. It will help keep students engaged and ensure they get the most out of their educational experience.

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