According to Anthony Grasha, there are five primary teaching styles that describe the prevalent approaches in the classroom.
Expert – This style is common known as the “Sage on the Stage” model. The expert possesses knowledge and expertise that the students need. This style of teacher seeks to maintain his status as expert with his students. He is primarily concerned with disseminating knowledge and making sure that the students are well-prepared.
As with the Formal Authority style of teaching, the Expert has little inclination to develop relationships with his students. He is more interested in maintain his status as experts with his students. He also does not feel that developing relationships among his students is necessary to their acquisition of the knowledge he is transmitting.
Advantage: The information, knowledge, and skills such individuals possess.
Disadvantages: If overused, the display of knowledge can be intimidating to less experienced students. May not always show the underlying though processes that produced answers.
Formal Authority – The formal authority style of teaching is also teacher-centered and focuses heavily on content. Teachers using this teaching method are more concerned with providing and controlling the flow of content than interacting with their students. These teachers are concerned with providing positive and negative feedback and the structure they need to learn. They emphasize learning goals, expectations, rules of conduct, and correct/acceptable ways to do things.
Teachers using this teaching style are not as concerned about having relationships with their students or building relationships between students. These teachers rarely require student participation in class.
Advantage: The focus on clear expectations and acceptable ways of doing things.
Disadvantages: A strong investment in this style can lead to rigid, standardized, and less flexible ways of managing students and their concerns.
Demonstrator –The demonstrator’s class is also teacher-centered. The demonstrator believes in “teaching by personal example.” Teachers using this method see themselves as role models and will demonstrate the skills needed to complete the learning objective(s). This teaching style puts emphasis on demonstrations or providing models. When helping the student to learn the new skills, they will coach or guide students in developing or applying the required skills. Their focus is on showing the student how to master the skill and encouraging the students to participate in the learning process.
Although this style is still teacher-centered, instructors with this style encourage student participation and adapt their presentation to address different learning styles. The demonstrator expects students to take responsibility for learning what they need to know and to seek assistance when they don’t understand something.
Advantage: An emphasis on direct observation and following a role model.
Disadvantage: Some teachers may believe their approach is the best way leading some students to feel inadequate if they cannot live up to such expectations and standards.
Facilitator – This student-centered style of teaching emphasizes the personal nature of teacher-student interactions. She guides and directs students by asking questions, exploring options, suggesting alternatives, and encouraging students to develop criteria to make informed choices. This teacher focuses on activities with more of the responsibility for learning is placed on the student. The teacher often develops group learning activities which require active learning, student-to-student collaboration, and problem solving. The activities designed by the teacher often require the student to apply the course content in an original way to solve the required activity. The goal of the teacher is to develop in students the capacity for independent action, initiative, and responsibility. The teacher’s role is to provide as much support and encouragement as possible.
Advantage: The personal flexibility, the focus on students' needs and goals, and the willingness to explore options and alternative courses of action.
Disadvantage: Style is often time consuming.
Delegator – In the delegator’s classroom, the primary responsibility for learning is placed on the students. The goal of the teacher is to develop the students’ capacity to function autonomously. The teacher often creates a project and then gives the students choices in the design and implementation of the learning activity needed to complete the required activity. Student may work independently or in groups. This style requires that students be able to maintain motivation and focus for complex projects as well have the necessary interpersonal skills to work in group situation. The delegator’s style is to act as a consultant or resource person, providing direction only at the request of the students.
Advantage: Helps students to perceive themselves as independent learners.
Disadvantage: May misread student's readiness for independent work. Some students may become anxious when given autonomy.
Grasha-Riechmann Teaching Style Survey Do you know what style you prefer? If you know what your preferred teaching style is, you should be more aware as to whether it suits the learning style and needs of your learners. Then you should be able to adapt your teaching style to engage with them more effectively.