Teaching style is determined by the way a learning experience is conducted. The style is built from the behaviour and actions the teacher takes. The strategy chosen by the teacher can ensure that the appropriate method is used for effective learning to take place. The teacher’s behaviour can dictate the pupils and their relationships with them to be distant, friendly or show enthusiasm for the subject. The teacher’s can adopt particular forms of behaviour to facilitate certain types of learning.
The behaviour of the teacher may have to change as the teacher may sense boredom creeping in, therefore the enthusiasm from the teacher may be needed to keep the pupils on task, to sustain motivation. Teaching strategies are the range of different methods to accommodate certain situations. In a single lesson the teacher may use more than just one strategy depending on the situations that arise. During the lesson different strategies may need to be used as at the start of the lesson a very strict and command strategy may be used to give instructions.
Pupils can then experiment with the task, strategy changed again, at the end of the lesson the pupils may be asked to self check the work as the teacher adapts a further change in strategy. Witnessing and precisely defining a teaching style can be very difficult, as the boundries can be very blurred. Some terms often used to describe ways of teaching are: experimental, didactic, chalk and talk, teacher-directed, pupil-centred, practical, theoretical, traditional, progressive, transmission, content-based, process-based, whole-class-based.
These are general self-explanatory descriptions to indicate how teachers may conduct a lesson, as suggested by Capel, Leask & Turner (1999). Mosston’s continuum of teaching styles state that there are ten different styles that can be adopted when carrying out a lesson, each of them depend on the situation, attitude and behaviour of the pupils. The Command style is a style that is known and described as teacher-centred. The command style is when a teacher would stand in front of a class of pupils and just give instructions not asking any questions just giving commands.
The command style is suitable when teaching safety of equipment or giving rules to a game. There is only the need for the teacher to talk, giving important instructions and pupils listening to understand the commands. The command style has advantages and disadvantages. The learning outcome from pupils when being taught how to use dangerous equipment, by a teacher using command style is very effective the pupils understand and take on-board the information given. During my school experience it appeared that the command style was very commonly not only the physical education (P.
E) staff, but all subject areas. The command style was most frequently used at the beginning of most lessons. The evidenced witnessed during the school experience seemed that the P. E staff used command style more frequent than areas such as Mathematics, English, Science, French etc. During a French lesson that I observed, it was clear that the teacher used command style to start the class “Sit down, open text book on page 52” once class had sat down he then began asking many questions to different pupils related to the task. This use of common style occurred frequently.
The practice style is similar to the command style but it allows more scope for the teacher to visit different pupils while the rest of the class to continue concentrating on the task in hand. The practice style is very good at accommodating differentiation as it allows the pupils to work at there own pace. In an English lesson that I attended the teacher explained the task and allowed the pupils to work at their own pace as they were doing small comprehension’s, the teacher then travelled around the class helping individuals who had difficulty in the task.
The practice style worked very well in a P. E lesson, pupils were doing curcuit training at there own pace. The objective was to complete all ten tasks, while the teacher went around the room answering any questions and given advice. The learning outcome is that the pupils are able to work independently, but the disadvantage is that the practice maybe carried out completely wrong which doesn’t allow the pupils to learn the task correctly. This style of teaching may only encounter if the pupils are controlled and disciplined.
If the situation was to change and the pupils were enable to concentrate the practice style would not work, as the class would gradually slide out of control. Therefore a different style of teaching maybe adopted. The reciprocal style is when the teacher gets the pupils into pairs to evaluate each other’s performance. The reciprocal style is where one of the pupils carries out the task and the partner evaluates the performance by observing.
The teacher then will help the partner to observe the performance and advise the feedback that should be given back both a good and critical extrinsic feedback, to give ways to improve the task they next perform. This is important, as feedback is an individual skill, the reciprocal style is the best way to involve this aspect and give them a chance to improve. This style is idea for increasing communication amongst the pupils to break barriers with in the group. During teaching practise a P. E teacher used reciprocal teaching to warm each other up in the class and tried to break up the groups of friends within the class.
The pupils were very reluctant to start off with but responded once involved in the lesson. The same style was used in a Spanish lesson the class was divided into pairs, one pupil was the shopkeeper and the other the customer. They both had criteria to follow, but they were able to judge their own partner’s performance. The learning outcome from both examples enabled them to learn how to give appropriate extrinsic feedback. The disadvantage of this style is that the wrong feedback could be give back and the partner may lose confidence or the feedback is offensive.
It works very well in P. E compared to classroom based as in P. E the pupils have more scope. The feedback is clearer and easy to give as the pupils are witnessing the performance with their eyes. The reciprocal style is dependent upon behaviour of the pupils and attitude have towards the task otherwise a different style may have to be adapted, perhaps command style to ‘cramp’ the behaviour and the early stages. The self-check style’s aim is to enable pupils to evaluate their own performance. The self-check style develops the pupil’s intrinsic feedback.
The pupil has boundaries that have to be met and they evaluate them self against a criterion, then new targets are set with the teacher. During teacher practice (TP) the self-check style was demonstrated in a P. E lesson, each pupils visited each area, which had a poster giving instruction on how to complete the task. There was a marking criterion and they had to record their own scores. It frequently occurs in Mathematics as it allows personal development, all the pupils start at the same level and work at their own pace to gain higher levels, which are discussed and decided upon by the teacher.
This was witnessed during teaching practice. The learning outcome of the self-checking style can have advantages as it allows the pupils to work at their own pace and ability. Promotes differentiation to take place, it can improve their own self-motivation skills. The disadvantages are that the pupils may fall behind on the work as the have low self esteem, which can amount through poor motivation. This can show weakness to their peers as in mathematics it is apparent what level each pupils is on by the colour and number of the book they’re working from.
It appears from observations made, that the self-checking style works better in a classroom based situation compared to the P. E outside conditions, this is because the teacher is able to keep the pupils in a control area and the task the carried out are limited to using this style. The inclusion style caters for differentiation within a class as it determines the starting point at which the pupils want to start at. It’s aim is to ensure that every pupil feels comfortable about performing the task at their own level and increasing when they have built up their confidence to do so.
While observing at teaching practice I have perceived the inclusion style during an indoor athletics lesson, which included high jump. Pupils were able to put the pole at their desired height. This allowed the pupil to feel comfortable and get the correct technique. During a French lesson the teacher displayed five different work sheets ranging in difficulty and the pupils were able to start any of them. This allowed them to either start, from the easiest and work through or for the more confident start at the hardest, it demonstrated differentiation.
The learning outcomes from the inclusion style vary depending on the ability of the pupil, but what the style does offer is differentiation amongst the group. It is a very good method as it allows them to feel comfortable while they improve. It saves embarrassment and helps curve worry of the task. The disadvantage to the inclusion style is that some pupils have low motivation and don’t strive to improve, they are comfortable with just doing the task, therefore they are not using they full ability.
The reverse can happen where a pupil is full of confidence goes out of their depth and results in a loss in confidence therefore a decline in performance. The inclusion style works well in both classroom and out of classroom environments although this style excels in outdoor environments as the opportunity to improve and decide on conditions to feel comfortable are more able to be equipped. The Guided Discovery style is probably the hardest to control as it depends on the pupil’s development of learning and imagination.
The teacher gives the bases and guide-lines to the task and it is up to the pupils to relate and attempt the task in their own individual way. If the pupils have any difficulty starting or keeping on the task the teacher will advise them in a subtle way, allowing them to think for themselves. This type of teaching style would be best used in practical situations as was witnessed on teaching practice, the teacher split the pupils into groups of three with a ball asking the pupils in the middle to turn with the ball and pass to the pupil behind them.
This allowed the pupils to use their own imagination to turn any way, it also facilitated differentiation as the pupils were able to turn with the ball as simple or as complicated as each pupil desired. It is also very good at keeping the pupils interested and on task, although activity must keep changing to prevent boredom. The learning outcome from any task taught in a guided discovery style will display self-motivation, imagination, individuality, enthusiasm and the ability of the pupils, because it allows them to make decisions.
The style can be taken advantage of by pupils becoming disruptive or explore the licence of freedom. This teaching style can be used in a classroom situation as seen in a Mathematics lesson when pupils were able to work individually inwards a problem-solving task. When comparing the success of the guided discovery style between classroom and outer classroom situation including practical, the style is more successful in outer classroom practical as it allows more freedom for the to explore. The Divergent Style is when the pupils are encouraged to find alternative solution to tasks their set.
An example of this style in practice is Design and Technology where the pupils are frequently given design problems to solve. This style is a very useful as it gives pupils the opportunity to be challenged. This can be used in practical situations where the teacher give the pupils equipment to design a game although the teacher may give certain rules that need to be incorporated with in the game, but it is up the pupil or pupils to produce there own individual game. During teaching practice the teacher gave the pupils two cricket bats, a ball and two stubs and the guide-lines were to have a striking and fielding game with a points scheme.
The teacher assisted with the ideas to stop arguments and they came up with a game similar to football and short cricket. It was fun and it allowed the pupils to solve the problem they were confronted with. The learning outcome is that the pupils get the opportunity to overcome tasks to relate to future adulthood, to build confidence of solving problems. The style works better in the classroom based situations as the pupils are able to concentrate and focus upon the task and they are able to successfully complete task in a closed environment.
The Individual Programme, known as the learner’s design. This is when the pupil and the teacher together design a programme for which the pupil will attempt to tackle. The teacher will need to monitor the pupil’s progress and develop of the task set. The programme allows the pupil to work alone and demonstrate their earlier learning experiences and relate them to the task. This type of teaching would have to be well monitored and controlled as it is important that the pupil does not become a danger to their self by attempting the task in an unconventional way by putting themselves at risk.
The learning out come of the individual programme is that it challenges them. It will relate to future employment, giving them knowledge of understand and confidence to work individually to complete given tasks. It tests their ability to listen and abide by rules and instructions. This style of teaching is able to achieve the goals it is aiming for better in a classroom-based situation compared to other situations, as the individual programme needs to be monitored closely in a closed environment.
An example of this style in good practice was illustrated in a science lesson during my time at teaching practice. The teacher explained the instructions and rules that needs to be endured, then showed the pupils the equipment they could use. The pupils spoke to the teacher to discuss their open-ended investigation. Learners’ initiated style is where the pupils work mainly on their own and the teacher acts as a supportive role, but doesn’t give the basis or framework as did the in the individual programme.
The pupil is able to design and carry out the task independent with the teacher there as support when required. This style of teaching allows the pupils to work on their interests and hobbies and gain further knowledge the their desired areas. The teacher must be able to give the pupils, as much freedom as possible, but at the same time is close enough for support. If the pupils requires a lot of support then the teacher may have to design an individual programme, although the aim is for the pupil to be successfully complete the task independently.
The learning outcome of the learners’ initiated style is similar to the individual and divergent styles as it will stretch their confidence and knowledge of working individually further. The learners’ initiated style can be used both in classroom based and outer classroom based situations by giving the pupils homework, which the pupils are able to decide what they do. In football the teacher may say practice when you go home, it is then up to the pupil what skill to practice, when to practice and how long to practice for. The style works well many different situations.
The self-teaching style is the style of teaching that depends completely upon the pupil. It is when the pupils work on their own teaching them self an skill. The older and more able the pupil practices, the more frequent this type of teaching takes place. The style would only be used if the pupil has been practising for long periods on frequent occasions to gain past knowledge to detect errors that occur. Learning out come of this type of teaching is that the pupils improves their error correction technique, this it can hinder the performance by the pupil thinking that they have corrected the task, but they are still wrong.
It is important sometimes to listen to external views or watch a video of their self to correct errors. The self-teaching style works in outer classroom situations such as practicals as it allows more opportunity for the style to take place. The knowledge is easier to gain while doing outer classroom compared to classroom based situations, because knowledge is gain quicker when physically demanding activities are carried out. As Mosston and Created by Ashworth (1994) defines the ten different styles with in continuum. The teaching style of any teacher will always depend on the pupils.
If the pupils are disruptive then the command style may be needed, once the control has been gained then reciprocal style of teaching could be used to introduce the factors of high jump to the lesson. Finally using the inclusion style to allow the pupils to put the task into practice, by allowing them to attempt the high jump at the height they feel comfortable with. Teaching styles are a continuum that will constantly change to suit the situation. Some teachers are very good at teaching in certain styles as long the objective of the lesson is achieved.
The style used by a teacher may depend on the importance, for example command style used when taking about safety aspects. The teaching styles as defined in Mosston’s continuum, inter-link and over-lap with each other as the continuum moves from teacher contact being complete as command style to nothing self-teaching style. There are many other ways of defining different ways of teaching as mentioned in the introduction, although the Mosston’s continuum describes them in the clearest and most defined fashion.
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