The most effective teachers vary their styles depending on the nature of the subject matter, the phase of the course, and other factors. By so doing, they encourage and inspire students to do their best at all times throughout the semester.
It is helpful to think of teaching styles according to the three Ds: Directing, Discussing, and Delegating.
I’ve been thinking lately about the relationship between what we teach and how we teach. Part of that relationship is pretty obvious: If you teach something with problems to solve, you spend time problem-solving when you teach. If you teach a skill (like writing or dancing), you spend time providing examples (of good sentences or dance steps). But what I’ve been trying to sort out is something on a different level—the interaction between content, character, and teaching style.
I keep one of my all-time favorite teaching books here at our place on the lake. It has a lovely title: Teaching with Fire: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach. It’s a collection of essays written by educators at all levels. In each essay, the writer introduces a favorite poem—one with significance for that teacher’s life and work. The essays and poems are wonderfully inspirational and motivating. It’s a great book for reading along side the lake.
Online courses are increasingly being developed by a team of instructional designers, curriculum specialists, and instructional technologists. In the majority of cases, these courses feature standardized content such as a common syllabus and assignments, and reusable course modules and learning objects.
When I started teaching 27 years ago, like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz I believed that just having a brain would make me successful. And so each class session I would literally “take the stage” on a raised platform to deliver what was in my head and on my papers. Even though there were 60 students in the class, there could just as well have been none because I basically ignored the students. They were objects, sponges whose task was to absorb course content.
Think about how you teach. Now think about how students learn. What are some things you can do to ensure that there is congruence between your teaching style and students’ preferred way of retrieving and processing information?
That persona we don when standing before students is what Jay Parini refers to as a “teaching mask.” “What I want to suggest here is that teachers…need to invent and cultivate a voice, one that serves their personal needs as well as the material at hand, one that feels authentic. It should also take into
I’m trying out content from my new book at some of the workshops I’m doing this month. The discussion we had about teaching style and teaching personae at Georgia State College and University got me thinking more about the topic. I’m convinced useful distinctions can be made between the two.