A Guide to Effective Teaching Styles

Michele Snoke
Michele Snoke
Elementary school principal; M.S.E. in Educational Leadership
A math teacher points to a student who is raising their hand to answer a question.

Every teacher has a style in their approach to teaching. The main objective guiding a teacher toward the best teaching style is the potential effectiveness it will offer the students in a teacher’s classroom. Teachers may find it necessary to change teaching styles from time to time based on the needs of the students in the classroom or when teaching a specific subject. Teachers can also build upon the primary style chosen throughout the school year with another style to get the best learning results from students. Here a few of the most popular teaching styles teachers might use in the classroom.

The Authority (Lecture Style)

The authority style is teacher-centered and involves lengthy lecture sessions. Students are not active participants but are expected to maintain long periods of attention while absorbing all information shared by the teacher. A teacher in high school settings and some middle school subject area teachers may use this style and find it effective. This style is mostly popular among most college professors. Students respond well to this style when learning history and are expected to remember specific facts. Elementary teachers usually avoid this style as it requires students to have strong attention capacity and can take notes, which is not a mastered skill in elementary school This style is most effective for mature students.

The Demonstrator (Coach Style)

A teacher using the demonstrator style may still rely upon lectures, but usually enhances the delivery of the content with multimedia tools, student activities to practice concepts taught, and may include demonstrations only involving the teacher or possibly with student participation. This teaching style allows students to be more active with learning the information. The teacher still relies upon the students’ attention levels, so teachers in higher education may use this style more than an educator of younger students.

The demonstrator style does not lend itself to meet the needs of students at various leaning abilities, hence elementary students would respond differently than an older student. Math, music, and physical education teachers might find success using this style since the content and skills among these subjects relies on some memorization and visual demonstrations.

The Facilitator (Activity Style)

Teachers using the facilitator style in the classroom are promoting critical thinking among students and developing a learning model that allows for maximum retention of knowledge. Students are encouraged to participate during instruction with questions and share thought processes used to problem solve. Students are encouraged to explore various techniques to answer questions and accomplish greater tasks pertaining to the content or skill being taught. This style can be used at all levels of education from early to higher education. Teachers are challenged by this style when determining the best assessment to use in the classroom. Teachers may need to create the assessment to pinpoint exactly what needs to be assessed.

The Delegator (Group Style)

Teachers using the delegator style probably find it most effective in a laboratory setting. The teacher takes on the observer role leading students through inquiry-based learning. Cooperative group learning is a popular method used by teachers relying on the delegator style. A criticism of this style is the possibility of a teacher relinquishing a sense of authority in the classroom. Teachers using this style must feel comfortable allowing students to lead the direction of the instruction and feel confident with subtle guidance that steers students toward mastering an understanding of the content or skill within a subject area.

The Hybrid (Blended Style)

Elementary teachers are most likely to rely upon a hybrid teaching style. These teachers blend the academic and the developmental needs of the students with the teacher’s personality. The last ingredient with a blended style involves the necessary and various curriculum-appropriate methods to guide academic success. This style requires more teacher lesson planning than many other styles.

However, the opportunity to meet the needs of diverse learners in the classroom is more likely with a blended teaching style, than with some of the other teaching styles. When teachers use a hybrid style, teachers are forced to focus on the objective and create different instruction routes to meet the needs of diverse learners. A hybrid teaching style is used more by teachers that desire to provide differentiated instruction among students at various levels in the classroom.

Each of the five teaching styles offer advantages and disadvantages for both the teacher and the students who make up the classroom for the school year. An effective teacher should begin the school year by determining the learning needs of the students before selecting the best teaching style to use for instruction. Students’ needs will potentially lead the teacher to the best style needed for successful instruction.

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