Teaching and Learning Resources

Teaching Styles

Different instructors perceive the classroom environment in different ways. There are also many different teaching styles for instructors to consider. Which ones you choose depend upon a number of considerations including the size of your class, the content you are teaching, and the learning objectives you have for your students. Teaching Styles have been categorized into four main categories. These methods are ways of organizing and presenting content and information to students.

Teaching styles range from a direct, teacher-centered approach to an indirect, more student-centered approach. Teacher-centered methods have been used predominately in higher education for many decades. However, more recently the trend is shifting towards a more student-centered approach.

Teacher-centered strategies such as lecture are effective if you want an organized class, are limited in time, have a large crowd, or want students to have a clear picture of the objective. However, the student-centered approach meets the individual needs and differences of all the students. It allows the students to be more involved in the decision making and encourages critical thinking, usually resulting in more enjoyment and a better understanding of the content. The benefits of using student-centered styles easily outweigh the time that it demands.

Teacher vs. Learner-Centered Instruction



Focus is on instructor

Focus is on both students and instructor

Focus is on what the instructor knows about the content                   

Focus is on how students will learn about and utilize the content

Instructor talks; students listen

Instructor models; students interact with instructor and one another

Students work alone

Students work in pairs, in groups, or alone depending on the purpose of the activity

Instructor monitors and corrects every student utterance

Students talk without constant instructor monitoring; instructor provides feedback/correction when questions arise

Instructor answers students’ questions about content

Students answer each other’s questions, using instructor as an information resource

Instructor chooses topics

Students have some choice of topics

Instructor evaluates student learning

Students evaluate their own learning; instructor also evaluates

Classroom is quiet

Classroom is often noisy and busy

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The following resources also include links to teaching surveys and inventories, and suggestions for how to use this information to address a multitude of student learning styles.

Related Resources
Anthony Grahsa’s Five Teaching Styles is a description of prevalent aspects of what he considers “faculty presence in the classroom”. He also discusses advantages and disadvantages of each. The Grasha-Rieachmann on-line questionnaire to find your teaching style is in the next link.

Grasha-Rieachmann Teaching Style Inventory

Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) is aimed at helping you think about and summarize your ideas about teaching. It can be useful in examining your own teaching as well as helping clarify the teaching views of others. The TPI is quick to complete online and to automatically score your results.

Teaching strategies that promote active student learning and engagement based on a number of different teaching styles and student learning styles.