Just as there are different learning styles – VARK, Kolb’s (and Social interaction based (http://www.theprofessor.in/blog/teachers/understanding-the-mind/ ), there are various types of teaching styles. One of the classification is how the teacher manages the class – Authoritarian (too rigid), Authoritative (expert but flexible), Laissez-Faire (too lenient) and Indifferent. You can take a survey here http://www.pedagonet.com/quickies/yourstyle1.html
Another classification is the role a teacher plays – Authority, Motivator, Delegator and Facilitator. You can take a survey here http://longleaf.net/teachingstyle.html
These styles match in varying degrees to self-directed learners, dependent learners, involved learners and interested learners.
Why is teaching style important?
The classroom is a space shared by the teacher and students. It’s like a theatre where actors and audience share the space. And actors need to connect with their audience. But unlike theatre, teachers have to also ensure learning outcomes are achieved and they don’t just receive appreciation and applause.
If students share our personality characteristics, then they are apt to learn effectively from us. If they do not, then as teachers we might unintentionally prevent their learning. Some of the important personality characteristics which affect both students and teachers are:
- 1. degree of organization
- 2. degree of control over others
- 3. subjective sense of time (ability to focus on past, present, or future, which affects how well one plans ahead)
- 4. ability to control one’s focus (vulnerability to distractions)
I have always been showing a beautiful video called ‘Teaching Teaching – Understanding Understanding’ in my workshops in colleges. This is an award-winning DVD from the University of Aarhus, Denmark, written and directed by Claus Brabrand. (http://www.daimi.au.dk/~brabrand/short-film/)
John Biggs classified teachers as
Level 1: What the student is.
This is the horrible “blame the student” approach to teaching. I’ll keep doing what I do. If the students can’t learn then it is because they are bad students. It’s not my fault. Nothing I can do.
Level 2: What the teacher does.
This is the horrible “look at me and all the neat, innovative teaching that I’m doing”. I’m doing lots of good and difficult things in my teaching. Are the students learning?
Level 3: What the student does.
Obviously this is the good level. The focus is on teaching and leads to learning. Biggs (2001) uses a quote from Tyler (1949) to illustrate that this is not a new idea
[learning] takes place through the active behavior of the student: it is what he does that he learns, not what the teacher does.
He then talks about constructive alignment which is nothing but Outcome Based Teaching.
Here is a small 4- question analysis of what kind of teacher you may be. Take it just as fun or to give you insight into your personality.
Complete each sentence by choosing the phrase, which most accurately describes you. Then look at the answers below.
1) When shopping at the grocery store I
- A. shop strictly from a list
- B. walk the aisles in order
- C. walk the aisles in a non-organized fashion
- D. end up on some aisles more than once
2) When working with a group to complete a task, I typically
- A. vanish into the background
- B. take a leadership role
- C. am forceful with my opinions
- D. let others do the thinking
3) When under pressure to make a deadline, I would describe myself as
- A. cool and collected
- B. a stress ball
- C. indifferent
- D. annoyed
4) My maximum attention span is:
- A. 30 seconds
- B. 10 minutes
- C. hour
- D. 3 hours
Personality Function Answers to four questions
- A. you read from your notes or need a written outline from which to lecture, regardless of the audience.
- B. you prefer following your lecture notes in the order in which you wrote them, regardless of what is happening among the students
- C. you tend to digress during your lectures or get lost as to where you are in your notes.
- D. you can repeat yourself or that you need to return to a previous topic so as to emphasize a point.
- A. you are not likely to encourage class discussion and prefer a formal lecture.
- B. You enjoy taking charge of a discussion, injecting comments and ideas, but fail to see the responses of the class.
- C. your students are relatively quiet, with only a few openly challenging your ideas, or that you don’t convey interest in their ideas.
- D. you become passive in guiding discussion or find yourself easily swayed by your students.
- A. You probably return papers and exams promptly.
- B. You probably dread grading papers or exams.
- C. You take longer than students expect to correct exams or you fail to notice the approaching deadline.
- D. You may show irritation to students about returning assignments and exam papers.
- A. You are vulnerable to distraction, regardless of your interest in something. This may affect how effectively you use your time to prepare lectures, to grade, to understand a question.
- B. You might still be vulnerable to distraction, which will affect how effectively you use your time to prepare lectures, to grade, and to understand questions.
- C. You might have a tenacious ability to remain focused on whatever you are doing.
- D. You might have a tenacious ability to remain focused on whatever you are doing.