The learning process is an integral part of the life of any individual. However, what kind of knowledge a person will receive is mostly determined by the teacher’s personality. Therefore, high demands are placed on these people, and the learning process itself is extremely complex and multifaceted. This paper focuses on the study of various teaching styles and the importance of developing a unique approach for educators.
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Variety of Learning Styles
There are many teaching techniques in the world, formed over the years of development. Each era provided its requirements for the educational process, and scholars changed with time. This accumulated experience has allowed creating a vast number of variations in teaching approaches, which enables solving several critical tasks. Firstly, a large number of methods provide scope for creativity in the educational process. Teachers in the modern world are not constrained by the strict framework of style requirements and can choose an approach based on situations. Besides, no one forbids them to combine well-known methods to create personal, unique communication styles.
The second factor is an increase in the quality of education itself, thanks to a comprehensive system of teaching knowledge. A vast number of existing methods help maximize training effectiveness (Jones et al., 2018). The more different techniques there are, the easier it is to choose an approach and style for a specific audience. Teachers can flexibly change their teaching style, adapting to students, thanks to the accumulated and studied base of teaching knowledge. Since teaching is now available to a diverse population, this factor is critical, and considering the core of teaching styles is extremely important for new teachers.
Methods of Learning
Learning styles can be divided into many categories for different criteria. However, the most significant is the teacher’s interaction with the audience, how the relations are built in the classroom, and what position he or she takes. According to this criterion, the types of teaching can be divided into four categories. The first is closest to the traditional kind of training, which was overwhelming in most educational institutions until recently. The teacher in it is compared with an authoritative coach, a figure who stands at the center of the class, both literally and figuratively (Mohanna et al., 2016). The main task of such a teacher is to convey facts to the audience, conduct an informative lecture.
In this case, teaching is primarily based on the authority of a particular person, which directly determines the quality of education. In many cases, this type of training is accompanied by strict discipline and adherence to the rules (Mohanna et al., 2016). In a sense, such practice can be called formal since it is closely related to compliance with norms and the fulfillment of established tasks. The teacher points the students to the goals, gives the knowledge necessary for their achievement, after which the reverse process of the survey and feedback begins. This type of training, as mentioned above, is inherent in many traditional educational institutions, where the figure of the teacher is an indisputable authority.
However, this teaching method has its strengths as the technique works best when working with a broad audience. If the teacher, due to the large class, does not have the opportunity to personally address each scholar, to maintain order in the classroom, a discipline based on authority should be established. This method also works in those educational institutions where control is essential, for example, military academies or colleges. However, it is worth avoiding using such a technique in a small circle of students or individual work, since when using this type, the pupil’s personality can be suppressed.
The second type of teacher is a person whose main task is to motivate students. Unlike the first type, such teachers do not provide students with knowledge in the form of facts. Instead, they teach people critical thinking, analysis, and research (Mohanna et al., 2016). That type of teaching helps students gain skills in studying materials, regardless of the area in which this knowledge is located. In a way, the technique is similar to the methods of work of ancient Greek philosophers who sought answers by asking the right questions. Similarly, the same approach is aimed at studying such things as, for example, Socratic questioning (Mohanna et al., 2016). Thus, the main emphasis is on the study of applied knowledge that can be implemented in practice.
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Besides, the task of such a teacher is to motivate students by personal example and their speeches. Lectures based on this technique should not only give knowledge but also inspire people to receive it, study the material, and move forward. This process can be built based on the teacher’s speech, and through active discussion between students and the tutor. The main subject of these conversations is the construction of strategies and the correct setting of goals (Mohanna et al., 2016). Unlike the previous one, this teaching technique assumes a much lower formality due to its particular focus. Since motivation often proceeds in more personal contact, the teacher and students can become much closer here. This type of training can be very beneficial for any courses where people interested in the subject are already located. At the same time, large audiences should be avoided, since, in this case, the degree of inspiration will very much depend on the speakers’ ability to keep the focus of attention on themselves.
This type of teaching is the least formal of all presented since the teacher is actually on the same level as students. As the name implies, the teacher is an intermediary between students, acting as a liaison in any discussion or group project (Mohanna et al., 2016). Learning of this kind is more about collaboration than the direct process of transferring knowledge. In this case, experience and skills are acquired by them in cooperative work, through a discussion in which the teacher has the same rights as all students. The only difference is that the teacher has more practice and can guide pupils in the right direction, giving the essential tips and explaining key points.
The main difference from all other styles is exceptional informality, as the learning process takes place in a small circle of equal people. That is why the manifestation of emotions and the expression of personal opinion are appropriate here. Due to its specificity, this technique is best suited for developing any values and morals that can be discussed during the workshop (Mohanna et al., 2016). An example of such a topic can be a discussion of professional ethics or standards, controversial moral issues, as well as those that are raised in a more trusted environment.
Due to this, such a technique cannot be applied to a broad audience, nor can it be a permanent basis for training. This format is more likely to resemble communication in social support groups, so it should be used in a narrow circle. Also, an essential factor is an obligatory presence of trust in the teacher, which will allow all participants in the conversation to open up. Thus, such a technique is suitable for carrying out informative discussions, group projects, and discussions of problematic issues. However, it imposes quite a lot of requirements for the implementation of such events.
This technique may have a different level of formality depending on the specific relationship between a teacher and student. Great attention is paid to both parties’ personal qualities since such a teaching method imposes strict restrictions on the number of scholars. The technique of counseling can be carried out only between one student and one teacher at a time. However, theoretically, nothing prevents the teacher from having several students whom he advises. The essence of this educational process is individual work of a different scale and nature. A characteristic difference is the nature of the work itself since it is mostly performed by the students themselves (Mohanna et al., 2016). In this case, the teacher only provides support by creating an educational environment, providing the pupil with the necessary materials. Pedagogical intervention occurs only when the student asks for it. Thus, a process of independent study of the content is formed. The second side acts only as a mentor and controller, monitoring the order of execution of the task and intervening only if necessary.
Due to its specific focus, the circle of implementation of such a technique is rather narrow. The most striking example of such a teaching style is dissertation writing under the guidance of a supervisor. Education of this nature is quite rare in high school due to the small number of personal projects. However, with children of this age, this technique can be implemented through, for example, tutoring and individual lessons. Such activities can be both complementary and forced, for instance, in the case of a student’s illness. As mentioned above, the basis of this style is the exclusive personal nature of the relationship between teacher and scholar. Therefore, this technique is closely related to a person’s ability to find an individual approach to a variety of students of different ages and in different situations.
The styles discussed above cover a relatively large number of possible teaching cases, considering both large classrooms, individual instruction, strict disciplinary methods, and informal communication. Naturally, this classification is not the only one, since the topic of teaching methods can be considered from various points of view. The techniques described above examined the relationship between teachers and students based on the former’s position to the latter. This approach can be combined with the following, which analyzes the teaching art from the classroom’s educational process. Combining these two approaches will not reveal all the difficulties in the field of education. Still, it will cover most of the features, allowing complementing the missing details based on experience.
First, lectures are the most common learning strategy that is closest to classical learning. During them, the teacher simply sets out the prepared material recorded in writing, for example, in a book (Cardino & Cruz, 2020). This type involves minimal interaction with the audience because often the only voice that sounds in the classroom is the teacher’s voice. Cooperative learning unites students in small groups to solve problems. In this case, the teacher only provides basic instructions, and the goal of this approach is to develop critical thinking (Cardino & Cruz, 2020). Another basic strategy is to use repetitive exercises designed to consolidate students’ knowledge of the material covered. Moreover, sometimes assignments given to students may go beyond the scope of one subject, and in this case, this technique is called integrative (Cardino & Cruz, 2020). Finally, the last in this classification are two opposing strategies of inductive and deductive learning. The first involves a student-centered approach requiring ingenuity to derive rules or a central formula (Cardino & Cruz, 2020). The deductive method is designed for the teachers to explain the basic concepts and then for students to perform workshops.
All of the above methods are primarily tools that can be used by the teacher, depending on the situation. Unlike the first classification, these strategies are much more flexible and can be implemented in different audiences. First of all, they can be combined rather flexibly depending on the task. Nothing prevents the teacher from giving a lecture first and then arranging teamwork on practical tasks. In this case, the choice of strategy is more connected with the purpose of the lesson, with what the teacher wants to convey. Nevertheless, such a variety of methods allows tailoring the teaching style to a wide range of audiences. Some classes are much better at hearing information, while for others, practical work is much clearer. Moreover, these methods can be combined with the previous classification. For example, an intermediary type of teaching can be mixed with teamwork in small groups, and authoritative coaching in its very essence combines very well with lectures. How and to what extent it is necessary to blend different teaching styles should be decided by the educator, depending on the audience and the task.
Importance of Personal Approach
It would seem that a considerable number of training methods allows choosing any, based on the provided situation. Even after considering only two concepts, an educator can get a relatively wide range of teaching strategies, which at first glance, are suitable for a large number of situations. If this list is expanded further, then, in theory, there should be an answer to any pedagogical situation. However, in the real world, teaching doesn’t work like this way. Educators can’t just memorize a few typical cases and hope they can apply them while working.
It is primarily because teaching is associated with working with people in general and very often with children specifically. At the same time, each of the students in the class is a unique personality, with a massive number of personal characteristics, as well as character traits that manifest themselves in entirely different ways. Any audience, especially at school, is an organic, living system that has many internal connections. Education consists of a vast number of various components, only a small part of which is on the side of the teacher. Still, each of these elements affects the overall quality of the educational process (Jones et al., 2018). That is why developing a personal, individualized approach is much more critical.
As mentioned above, any audience is unique, and it is not fixed in time and continues to change throughout the learning process dynamically. It is confirmed by studies that show that all students learn differently. Therefore, educators should use the techniques that best suit their pupils (Jones et al., 2018). Naturally, it is impossible to create a system that will satisfy all the needs of each student. Therefore, the mentor should not be fixed on one approach but can combine them, blending elements of different techniques to achieve optimal results. Even though lecture courses still find their application, the presence of a strategy focused on students and their needs is a much more critical task.
Studying the audience, in this case, is the basis for further building the teaching style. Many factors can be addressed: the students’ age, the specifics of the subject being taught, and the general social situation in the classroom. Ideally, teachers should at least know their audience a little and understand who they are teaching. For example, the process of learning a foreign language is a challenging task, not only because of the complexity of the process itself but also because of the characteristics of a person. Studies show that people of different ages perceive learning new languages differently (Castañeda, 2016). For older students, writing and reading skills are the least difficult. Learning the new rules is not particularly difficult for them, as adults can analyze them critically. Speaking and listening to recordings, on the other hand, makes the learning process much more difficult. Simultaneously, for children, these components are the least problematic, since younger people more easily grasp pronunciation features.
Therefore, in this case, the teacher must find a compromise in approaches and address different age categories in different ways. Since no academic method describes how to appeal to such an audience, the mentor must select techniques according to the specific personalities he teaches. Thus, the most important reason for developing the teaching style is the maximum effectiveness of teaching and obtaining the best results. On the one hand, the educator can use the experience without paying attention to the characteristics of students. However, the complete transfer of the necessary knowledge and skills from the teacher to the students cannot be guaranteed, which means that the mission of the teacher will not be completed to the end.
There are a considerable number of teaching methods developed specially and formed throughout human history. A variety of classifications try to describe many of the most different cases that a teacher may encounter. These situations are considered both from the structure of the educational process and from the mentor’s position in the classroom. However, all this diversity cannot describe all possible cases, since each audience is a unique and constantly changing system. Therefore, teachers must develop their style based on the studied techniques. They should be applied flexibly, adapting the teaching strategy by the conditions in the classroom and the characteristics of students. Only in this way can the maximum effectiveness of teaching be achieved, and the proper transfer of knowledge from one person to another be ensured.
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