Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Teaching Styles

Although there is no one “right way” to teach our students, we do determine how we will facilitate and what we believe are best practices for teaching based on how we view our students.  So, what do teaching and learning styles have to do with it?  Our personal teaching and learning styles influence the way we facilitate our courses although most of us adjust our styles depending on the instructional environment.

What has helped us develop our attitudes about learning and teaching?  How are our attitudes made evident in the way we teach?  Why do we teach the way we do?  Apart from the learning environment, the students, and our teaching styles, can we still accommodate the various learning styles of our students?

Have you ever had students in your class who seem to be uncomfortable, who demonstrate problems in learning, or who do not want to participate? Could it be that your teaching style has an impact on the students' ability to learn?  Although we don't realize it, we have a tendency to prefer a particular teaching style which may also reflect our own learning style.  If we limit our teaching to fit our own learning style, we may inadvertently alienate students with a different learning style. By recognizing our preferences in teaching and learning, we can work toward creating more effective learning opportunities for our students.

We all have preferences for how we teach and learn.  But based on the situation, these preferences can be modified and adapted to produce a better outcome.  It is important for you to understand your teaching style and how that may affect your students’ learning before you go into the classroom or begin an online class.  Furthermore, understanding your style will help you to adapt to the learning needs of your students.

How we were taught is often reflected in how we teach.  But no matter how engrained our preferences, they can be modified based on our teaching successes.  The successes influence our attitudes toward teaching and the methods we embrace when seeking information and attempting to identifying our personal skill level.  Just as with teachers, these methods also vary significantly among learners.  Luckily, just as teachers can adapt their teaching style, students can adapt their learning style.  Therefore, the first step is to identify both your teaching and learning styles.

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