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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Teaching StylesThere are five teaching styles often referred to as the following, The Expert, The Formal Authority, The Demonstrator, The Facilitator and the Delegator. There are many variables that effect and ultimately decide a teacher’s particular style. Cultural factors and tradition are among them as well as the teacher’s individual personality. There is really no right or wrong teaching style, of course it is important to find which style works best for you and therefore capitalize on your assets. But, education is education.
The expert maintains status among their students by showing the vast detailed knowledge he possesses. His class will be mainly teacher centered and content will be the focus. While this style can be very effective for the right students, overuse of it may leave students feeling intimidated and therefore disinterested. It is my opinion that because this style can feel very impersonal, using the expert in a one on one lesson or having the expert build his career on being a tutor would eliminate that feeling and have remarkable results.
Let’s take a look at the formal authority; this teacher, much like the expert, maintains status among students. He will have a very teacher centered class which is mainly focused on content and much less focus on activities which means that interaction between students is minimal. This style of teaching lends it self to a controlled and disciplined environment where relationship building is far less important than data acquisition. The formal Authority is a common teaching style in China where teaching styles, learning styles and overall classroom experience is thought to be modeled after the social philosophies of Confucius wherein, the teacher is the supreme power of the classroom and the learner is expected to accurately absorb the information given. There is no room for collaboration or debate on a topic. These interjections would disrupt the traditional cultural flow of the chinese
The Demonstrator will also have a mostly teacher centered environment as the students learning is through the teacher as a personal model or prototype for how to think and behave. Although the class is teacher centered there is much encouragement for student participation which allows for relationship building between students as well as the teacher. This teacher will adapt to various learning styles to meet the needs for his or her students. A possible negative outcome to this teaching style is that it may leave the students feeling inadequate and unable to meet the expectations to reproduce and emulate the teacher.
The facilitator is an effective teacher for an independent learner. In this class students will be doing many group activities where they will collaborate with one another creatively. The teacher will focus on strong, natural and personal teacher – student relationships, he will encourage students to ask questions, bounce ideas off of one another and problem solve with a goal of, students leaving their class having gained or strengthened their ability to work independently and take responsibly and initiative for their learning. Need less to say this class is likely to be a boisterous and creative bunch. The downside to this teaching style is that is can be time consuming.
The delegator is similar to the facilitator in that the control and responsibility is placed mostly on the shoulders of the student; the difference here is that the delegator plays a consultive role. In this is class activities will be the focus, students will be tasked to design their own complex learning projects usually in groups, and they will refer back to their teacher when necessary. Personal relationships and interaction are naturally and constantly occurring in the delegator’s class. This is likely to be another loud classroom.
All five of these are exaggerated versions of the average teacher working in their individual style of running their classrooms and interacting or not interacting with their students. I believe that most teachers will not fall absolutely into only one of these five styles of teaching, we will usually spend half of our time standing in one category and the other half dancing a crossed the rest of them and everything in between striving to be better versions of ourselves and helping our students to do the same.