[Itech] Fwd: Three Teaching Styles

Teresa Franklin franklit at ohio.edu
Tue Oct 8 05:12:58 EDT 2013

Hi Graduates,

I thought this might be of interest to everyone who teaches or plans to
teach in the future in higher education.


Dr. Franklin

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From: Faculty Focus <ezine at facultyfocusemail.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 2:18 PM
Subject: Three Teaching Styles
To: franklit at ohio.edu

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*September 30, 2013*

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   Three Teaching

By Paul B. Thornton

 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.

*The directing style* promotes learning through listening and following
directions. With this style, the teacher tells the students what to do, how
to do it, and when it needs to be done. The teacher imparts information to
the students via lectures, assigned readings, audio/visual presentations,
demonstrations, role playing, and other means. Students gain information
primarily by listening, taking notes, doing role plays, and practicing what
they are told to do. The only feedback the teacher looks for is "Do you
understand the instructions?"

Suggestions for using the directing style:

   - *Start with the big picture.* Provide the context before launching
   into specifics.
   - *Be clear and concise.* Students need to know exactly what they must
   do to succeed and by what criteria their work will be evaluated. Clear
   goals, specific deadlines, and concise directions increase student
   motivation and eliminate confusion. Wordy, sloppily written, and poorly
   organized instructional materials confuse, overwhelm, and discourage
   - *Provide sufficient detail.* Communication breakdowns occur when
   important details are omitted or instructions are ambiguous. For example,
   when I once neglected to specify the font size students should use, the
   papers they turned in had font sizes ranging from 8 to 14!
   - *Don't sugar-coat the message.* There are times when teachers need to
   be very direct and candid to get through to students.

*The discussing style* promotes learning through interaction. In this
style, practiced by Socrates, the teacher encourages critical thinking and
lively discussion by asking students to respond to challenging questions.
The teacher is a facilitator guiding the discussion to a logical
conclusion. Students learn to have opinions and to back them up with facts
and data.

Suggestions for using the discussing style:

   - *Prepare questions in advance.* Great discussions don't just happen.
   Ask one question at a time. Be open, curious, and interested in learning
   what each student thinks.
   - *Don't allow one or two students to dominate the discussion.* Solicit
   everyone's ideas and opinions. Gently draw out students who seem insecure
   and reticent to participate. I sometimes start my classes by saying, "I
   want to give each of you one minute to discuss your views on this topic.
   Let's go around the room and hear from everyone." Get closure by reviewing
   the key points you want to make.
   - *Have students create questions.* I like to have my students read a
   case study and formulate three questions to ask their classmates. We then
   discuss their answers in class.
   - *Utilize clickers.* Clickers are an easy way to get students involved
   during class. Pose a multiple-choice question and their responses are
   tabulated on the screen. You can then open it up for discussion as students
   share why they selected a certain answer.

 *The delegating style* promotes learning through empowerment. With this
style, the teacher assigns tasks that students work on independently,
either individually or in groups.

Suggestions for using the delegating style:

   - *Assign research projects.* In my management course I require students
   to interview a manager of a local business to get answers to questions like
   the following:
   - What are the main performance measures your company uses to evaluate
   each employee's performance?
   - What are the key lessons you, as a manager, have learned about
   conducting effective performance appraisals?
   - *Assign team projects.* Have each team select a team leader, define
   roles and responsibilities, and hold each other accountable for completing
   the project on time. In my management class, I have teams of students
   analyze the management and leadership behaviors on movies like *Remember
   the Titans* and *Crimson Tide*.
   - *Assign a capstone project.* Let students show you what they can do
   when working independently on a topic that's important to them.

 *Use an appropriate mix of each teaching style.* I typically structure
each of my classes to include some amount of each teaching style. However,
during the first part of a semester I use more of the directing style. In
the middle part of a semester I typically rely more on the discussing
style. And in the latter part of a semester I generally lean more heavily
on the delegating style.

Using an appropriate mix of teaching styles helps students learn, grow, and
become more independent. Too much reliance on one style causes students to
lose interest and become overly dependent on the teacher.

There is no one best teaching style. Effective teachers use a variety of
styles, and they know how and when to choose the most appropriate one for
the specific situation. In essence, the three teaching styles boil down to

   - Direct – Tell students what to do
   - Discuss – Ask questions and listen
   - Delegate – Empower students

 *Paul B. Thornton is speaker, trainer, and professor of business
administration at Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, MA.
He teaches principles of management, organizational behavior, and
principles of leadership. He is the author of Leadership—Off the Wall and
twelve other books on management and leadership. He may be contacted at
PThornton at stcc.edu. *


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© Copyright 2013

*"A teacher affects eternity; [she]he can never tell where the influence
stops." - Henry Adams
*Dr. Teresa Franklin
Professor, Instructional Technology
313D McCracken Hall*, *Dept. Educational Studies
The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education
Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701
740-593-4561 (office)
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