Effective teachers don’t teach in just one way. Instead, they modify their style depending on numerous factors, such as the skills and knowledge of students, the subject matter and the length of the course.
While there is not one teaching style that is better than another, skilled instructors use a variety of styles. These teaching styles can be described by using the three Ds: directing, discussing and delegating.
This style encourages learning through listening and following directions. Teachers tell students what to do, how to do it and why it needs to be done. This communication is mainly one-way from trainer to trainee via lectures, readings, audio and visual presentations, demonstrations and role-playing.
When using the directing style, begin with the big picture, be clear and concise, provide sufficient detail, and be direct and candid. ReadyTech’s Whiteboard is part of their virtual training software. It’s a tool that supports an instructor’s directing style:
With Whiteboard, instructors can draw and write on the screen to highlight important text. Or while giving step-by-step instructions to students, instructors can highlight a button on a software product to bring the students’ attention to it—reinforcing the instructions with visual cues.
This style encourages learning through interaction. In this technique, instructors act like a facilitator—encouraging critical thinking and discussion—by asking students to respond to challenging questions. Students learn to have opinions and back them up with facts and data.
When using the discussing method, prepare questions in advance, ask only one question at a time, follow up with “why” questions and have students develop their own questions for the group.
If you’re an instructor that uses the discussing style of teaching often, look into ReadyTech’s Breakout Group to support your teaching style:
Breakout Group: Pose a question to the class then divide the students into smaller groups. This allows students to collaborate, discuss case studies and lab exercises, or resolve a challenge. At the end of the Breakout Group session, the students can present their group findings to the entire class for additional discussion.
This teaching method promotes learning through student empowerment. With this style, instructors empower students by giving them temporary, supervised control of instructing the class.
When using this style, select a student to be responsible for each section of the curriculum. Once assigned, assign responsibilities for each student. For example, each student is responsible for giving a presentation on their section of the curriculum.
When using the delegating style, ReadyTech’s Demo View tool can help instructors maintain the classroom structure while students are giving their individual presentations:
ReadyTech’s virtual training software also has screen sharing capabilities, which enables instructors to broadcast a student’s screen to the entire classroom—in effect making the student the temporary instructor. Once a student is finished presenting his or her section of the curriculum, the instructor resumes control.
Mix It Up
It is common for instructors to blend teaching styles. Many rely on the directing style during the first part of class, the discussing style in the middle of class and the delegating style toward the end of class.
“Using an appropriate mix of teaching styles helps students learn, grow and become more independent,” explains Paul B. Thornton, speaker, trainer and professor of business administration at Springfield Technical Community College. “Too much reliance on one style causes students to lose interest.”
Skilled teachers use a variety of styles—and they know how and when to choose the most appropriate method for the specific situation. When choosing a style, it is important to remember that the directing style teaches students to listen, pay attention and follow directions. The discussing style teaches students to form opinions, contribute ideas and build on the ideas of others. And the delegating style teaches students to take initiative and learn by doing.