According to Jack C Richards, ‘the particular configuration of strategies a teacher uses constitutes his or her “teaching style”‘. Our teaching style is also influenced by our previous learning experiences and styles. For instance, a teacher who learned well from authoritarian teachers at school may consciously or unconsciously copy this style. A teacher who has an auditory learning style may unconsciously choose to do more listening activities and rely less on written board explanations than a teacher with a visual learning style. The way we teach reveals our teaching style, which in turn influences our lesson planning.
What teaching styles are there?
A popular teaching styles classification in education was developed by Anthony Grasha. According to Grasha, there are five teaching styles: Expert, Formal Authority, Personal Model, Facilitator, and Delegator.
Expert: This teacher is very knowledgeable about his/her subject. S/he provides students with a lot of information and pushes them to learn more and more effectively. The drawback of this teaching style is less confident students can feel intimidated, as some of the information may not be at their level of understanding.
Formal Authority: This teacher is concerned with providing students with the structure they need to learn: learning goals, feedback, rules of conduct, etc. If predominant, this teaching style will lead to inflexibility in dealing with students’ needs.
Personal Model: This teacher believes s/he can teach by personal example: s/he models example behaviors and encourages students to follow suit. This teaching style may give students the impression that there is only one way of doing things, and this may hinder participation, if student doe not think s/he is inadequate.
Facilitator: This teacher encourages student participation by asking questions, exploring options, and suggesting alternatives, so as to promote student-teacher and student-student interaction and more control over their own learning. There is no clear disadvantage to this teaching style, apart from the high degree of involvement of teacher, which can be time consuming.
Delegator: This teacher is concerned with learner autonomy. We can say that the delegator is a step ahead of the facilitator. Students will be team working in projects and the teacher will act as a resource person for students. If students are not ready for this type of teaching styles, they may feel anxious and not confident to perform the proposed tasks.