Types of Teaching Styles

A quick review of the literature reveals a seemingly endless series of frameworks for classifying teaching styles. Daniel Pratt (2002), for example, defines five different approaches towards learners and content. Fischer and Fischer (1979) identify six categories which include Task Oriented, Cooperative Planner and Subject-Centered. There are numerous other classifications of teaching styles.

For the purposes of this orientation, we'll examine the theories of Grasha & Grasha, who divide teaching styles into four areas. After reading about these teaching styles below, you can take a quiz, which will give you some information about your preferred type of teaching style.

  • Formal Authority - The Formal Authority approach focuses on content and can be very instructor-centered. The instructor defines the theories, principles, concepts or terms that the student needs to learn and organizes them into a sequenced set of goals or objectives. Evaluations are a necessary part of course planning as they allow the instructor to ascertain the amount of student learning that has taken place.
  • Demonstrator - This approach concentrates on the performance of an academic procedure. The instructor defines the steps an expert in the field would use to accomplish necessary tasks as well as defines the standards which would indicate mastery in applying these procedures. The instructor then develops situations in which these steps can be performed and results observed. The instructor may be the one who demonstrates the procedures; students may be the ones practicing the procedures, or some combination of both.
  • Facilitator - Teachers who have a facilitator model teaching style tend to focus on activities. This teaching style emphasizes student-centered learning and there is much more responsibility placed on the students to take the initiative for meeting the demands of various learning tasks. Teachers typically design group activities which necessitate active learning, student-to-student collaboration and problem solving.
  • Delegator - Teachers who practice a delegator teaching style tend to place control and responsibility for learning on individuals or groups of students. This teacher will often give students a choice in designing and implementing their own complex learning projects and will act in a consultative role.

What's Your Teaching Style?

Please take this online quiz in order to assess your teaching style.

References & Resources

Fischer, Barbara Bree and Louis Fischer (1979). Styles in Teaching and Learning. Educational Leadership 36 (January), 251.

Grasha & Grasha (1996). Teaching with Style. Pittsburgh, PA: Alliance Publishers.

Pratt, D. D. Good Teaching: One Size Fits All?. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education no. 93 (Spring 2002): 5-15.

Smith-Mitsuhashi, C (April 13, 2001). Teaching Styles. Retrieved January 30, 2008, from Online Teaching: Have You Got What It Takes Web site: http://members.shaw.ca/mdde615/tchstyles.htm

2011 CSN Online Campus - 6375 W. Charleston Blvd.- W2C, Las Vegas, Nevada 89146
T: 702-651-5619 / F: 702-651-5741 / E: elearning@csn.edu