Form your own teaching style

I feel one of the most important things for one teacher is to form your own teaching style. Everyone wants to be a most welcome person and someone will learn from those popular people. However, people like a character/host in the TV because he/she has his/her own personality rather than he/she can speak jokes all the times. So it is the same for the teaching. Students will like you because you have your own teaching strategy and attracting personality. It is very inspiring to read “different response strategies (from teachers) were equally effective (for students)” in Deel’s paper. No matter what style you are, explained your strategies to your students at the beginning of your class. Therefore, students can understand your philosophy and evaluation style, so they can easily to follow you in the class and learn from your response on their performance. On the other hand, since you behave as yourself in the class, which provide you confidence and comfortable to talk and answer student’s questions.

Once a teacher finds out his/her teaching style, he/she is ready to learn from other’s lectures and try to infuse their advantages into his/her teaching strategy. One of my friends who is an new instructor in a college has told me her feeling about teaching: have presentations three times a week. It is funny but it is true. Each teaching can be considered as a presentation for students. Thus, new instructors can improve their teaching start with how to improve their presentation skills. Use bullet instead of long sentence, have a clear structure, using picture instead of words if possible, and try to add some “game” section…… All these presentation skills can be used to improve our teaching. Besides, do not forget who you are talking with. Think about what students are really needed to obtained from your lecture and communicate with them more effectively. For example, if your students want to improve their speaking in English, it is better to design more talking sections under different situations rather than putting too much time in analyzing grammar. It is beneficial to learn from Fowler’s paper: the average attention for young people ranging from 18-35 years of old is only 15 mins, so it is helpful if organizing the class in 15-20 min segments and inserts various activities.

Of course, a teacher needs to discover which teaching strategies and techniques work best through practice. But as long as an instructor keeps learning from student’s response and regulates teaching method according to different classes and different students, everyone can find out their own teaching style and transmit their teaching voice.

3 thoughts on “Form your own teaching style

  1. Hi,

    I remember reading Dr. Fowler’s paper about attention span, and have found this to be true in my courses that I have taught. I generally keep things short, about 10 minutes and have the students moves around to the next activity. This does not always apply as in studio they are self-driven and working on content as needs arise.

    I believe that authenticity is based in what you fall into doing, as you and others have suggested. Your habits when explained can put a student at ease. Furthermore, the stately persona of a elder teacher (if that is even what you want) is developed over time — literally.

    It is time and experience that will show whether or not you can actually keep the attention of students past a 10-15 minutes interval. This moves back into teaching methods that can augment the ability for a topic to be discussed longer. Think about this very class. We have roughly 3 hours of instruction. Some days it can feel longer and sometimes the time flies. The point is not what topics interest us, but rather can the time be structured so that other feel engaged.

    So your teaching style has three parts, your mindset towards education (who do you want to be as an educator), the methods in which you teach (based on the teaching philosophy or mindset), and the content or environment that you create (the classroom and activities).

  2. While I agree that one should strive to include the advantages of other’s teaching styles that we like into our own, I do not think that we necessarily have to have ours figured out to being doing so. In our cohort of public speaking GTAs, we are trained by our director and the previous cohort essentially how to teach. This process was extremely helpful in figuring out how to jump into something I knew nothing about. Although there are times when I did not like the style of teaching of one of the second year GTAs, having that example to use as a first experience really helped me decide how to generate my own teaching style. As with anything in life, practice makes perfect but with teaching I think it is an ever-changing/evolving process that continues throughout one’s academic career.

  3. True. But I have come to realize that but the culture of student evaluation is a deterrent to that. Let me give you an example. My department recently hired an assistant Professor to teach a senior class. He is extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter and was in the industry for a number of years. He tried his best to prepare the seniors for industry by covering as much as he could in his class but this backfired on him because he had poor student reviews which is not good for getting tenure. He has since changed and simply presents concepts and not the difficult ‘meat’.The is what the students want but is this really good for their careers? I think not. I think the best best teaching style for any instructor is what is personal to the teacher but when one’s personal style runs contrary to school policy then one is forced to compromise.

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