There is a wide range of teaching style, which often sit on a spectrum from student-centered to teacher-centered.
Student-centered means a style that focuses on the learner being an active learner, while teacher-centered is a model where the teacher positions themselves as the powerful, all-knowing dictator in the classroom.
Of course, we have many other styles that may sit along this spectrum but with their own styles, convictions, and teaching philosophies, many of which are outlined below.
Types of Teaching Styles
1. Student-Centered Teaching
Student-centered teaching is a pedagogical approach that emphasizes the learner’s active role in their educational process.
In this style, students are encouraged to take charge of their learning, with the teacher acting as a guide or facilitator.
This method often involves active learning, where students engage in activities like discussions, problem-solving, and hands-on projects.
The focus is on developing students’ skills and knowledge through their own exploration and discovery, often tailored to their interests and abilities.
- Encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Fosters independence and responsibility in learners.
- Adapts to individual learning styles and needs.
- Promotes a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
- Requires a high level of self-motivation from students.
- Can be challenging for teachers to manage bustling learning spaces.
- May lack structured guidance, which some students need.
- Time-consuming to plan and implement effectively.
Go Deeper: Student-Centered Learning Guide
2. Teacher-Centered Teaching
Teacher-centered teaching is a traditional educational model where the teacher is the primary authority and source of information.
In this approach, the teacher typically stands at the front of the classroom, delivering information through lectures or direct instruction. Students are expected to passively receive knowledge, often through note-taking and memorization.
The focus is on teacher-led presentations and explanations, with less emphasis on student participation or discovery.
- Efficient for covering a large amount of material in a short time.
- Provides a structured and predictable learning environment.
- Easier to manage and control classroom dynamics.
- Suitable for delivering foundational knowledge and concepts.
- Can lead to passive learning, with limited student engagement.
- May not address individual learning styles and needs.
- Less opportunity for developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Can inhibit creativity and independent thought in students.
3. Student-Led Teaching and Learning
Student-led teaching is a method where learners take an active role in leading and managing their own learning process.
In this style, students are often given the autonomy to design and implement their own learning activities, projects, or discussions, with the teacher acting as a facilitator rather than a direct instructor.
This approach emphasizes student responsibility and engagement, fostering a sense of ownership over the educational experience.
- May be challenging for students who lack self-discipline or motivation.
- Is often difficult to implement in a school setting where a curriculum must be followed.
4. The Didactic Teaching Style
Didactic teaching is a traditional instructional approach centered on direct teaching methods, where the teacher imparts knowledge through lectures, readings, and demonstrations.
The focus is on the transmission of factual information and established theories, with students typically playing a passive role in the learning process.
This method is often used for teaching specific subjects, theories, or principles.
- Effective for conveying a large amount of information in a structured way.
- Provides clear and direct instruction on specific topics.
- Ideal for introducing foundational concepts and facts.
- Efficient for preparing students for standardized tests and exams.
- Limited opportunity for practical application and hands-on experience.
- Can be less engaging and motivating for students.
- Does not encourage critical thinking and independent learning.
5. The Democratic Teaching Model
Democratic teaching is an approach that emphasizes shared decision-making and collaboration between teachers and students.
In this style, students have a voice in how the classroom operates, including the choice of learning activities, class rules, and sometimes even assessment methods.
The focus is on creating a learning environment where students feel valued and responsible, encouraging active participation and mutual respect.
- Fosters a sense of community and respect in the classroom.
- Encourages students to develop critical thinking and decision-making skills.
- Enhances student engagement and motivation by valuing their opinions.
- Promotes social and emotional learning alongside academic content.
- Potentially challenging for teachers to relinquish some control, especially when it comes to safety concerns and expectations to follow a curriculum.
- Risk of disagreements or conflicts within the class.
- Requires a balance to ensure educational goals are still met.
6. The Progressive Teaching Style
Progressive teaching is an educational philosophy that emphasizes experiential learning, critical thinking, and the development of problem-solving skills.
In this approach, education is seen as a process of engaging with real-world issues and questions, rather than just acquiring facts.
Progressive teaching often involves interdisciplinary projects, collaborative work, and a focus on social justice and democracy.
- Encourages students to connect learning to real-life situations.
- Fosters a deeper understanding of subjects through hands-on experiences.
- Promotes critical thinking, creativity, and independent learning.
- Helps students develop a sense of social responsibility and civic engagement.
- May lack a structured approach to curriculum and assessment.
- Can be challenging to align with standardized testing requirements.
- Requires significant teacher creativity and flexibility.
- Potentially overwhelming for students who prefer more structure.
Go Deeper: Progressive Teaching Guide
7. The Demonstrator Teacher
Demonstrator teaching, also known as coaching style, involves the teacher actively demonstrating concepts and skills to students.
In this method, the teacher is both a role model and an instructor, often using multimedia, presentations, and hands-on activities to showcase a topic or skill.
This style is particularly effective in subjects where practical skills or techniques are being taught, like science experiments, artistic techniques, or physical education.
- Provides clear examples of concepts or skills in action.
- Engages multiple learning styles with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements.
- Helps students visualize and understand complex or abstract ideas.
- Encourages active learning and student participation.
- Can be resource-intensive, requiring various teaching aids.
- May not cater to students who learn better through discussion or independent study.
- The effectiveness depends heavily on the teacher’s presentation skills.
- Risk of becoming teacher-centered if student participation is not encouraged.
8. The Moderator/Facilitator Teacher
Moderator or facilitator teaching is an approach where the teacher guides and supports students in their learning process without being the central focus.
The facilitator encourages students to explore topics, ask questions, and develop their understanding, often through group work, discussions, and projects.
This role is more about prompting and guiding thought processes rather than directly conveying information.
- May be challenging for students used to more direct instruction.
- Requires well-developed group dynamics and communication skills.
- Can be less efficient in covering a broad curriculum.
- The teacher must be skilled in managing diverse opinions and guiding discussions.
9. The Delegator Teacher
Delegator teaching is an approach where the teacher assigns tasks and responsibilities to students, allowing them to explore and learn independently or in groups.
This style is characterized by a high degree of student autonomy, with the teacher acting as an overseer rather than a direct instructor. Delegator teaching is effective in promoting self-learning, critical thinking, and collaborative skills, particularly in project-based or research-oriented settings.
- Encourages self-reliance and independent problem-solving.
- Promotes teamwork and collaborative skills.
- Allows students to explore topics in depth and apply learning practically.
- Fosters leadership and organizational abilities among students.
- Can be challenging for students who lack self-motivation or discipline.
- Risk of uneven participation and contribution in group settings.
- Requires careful monitoring to ensure educational objectives are met.
- Not all students may feel comfortable with a high level of autonomy.
10. The Laissez-Faire Teaching Style
Laissez-faire teaching is a non-authoritative style where the teacher provides minimal guidance and supervision, allowing students to take control of their learning process.
This approach is characterized by a high level of freedom for students to explore, create, and make decisions, with the teacher serving as a resource rather than a director.
Laissez-faire teaching is often used in creative or exploratory subjects where individual expression and discovery are valued.
- Maximizes creativity and self-expression among students.
- Encourages independence and decision-making skills.
- Allows students to learn at their own pace and according to their interests.
- Fosters a relaxed and open learning environment.
- May lead to a lack of structure and direction, impacting learning outcomes.
- Not suitable for all subjects, particularly those requiring a strong foundational knowledge.
- Can be challenging for students who need more guidance and support.
- Risk of students feeling overwhelmed or directionless without adequate supervision.
11. The Collaborative Teacher
Collaborative teaching is a method where students work together in groups to explore a concept, solve problems, or create projects.
This approach emphasizes teamwork and peer-to-peer learning, with the teacher facilitating and guiding the process.
Collaborative teaching encourages communication, cooperation, and the exchange of ideas among students, making it effective for developing social skills and deepening understanding through shared perspectives.
- Promotes teamwork and social interaction skills.
- Encourages diverse viewpoints and peer learning.
- Enhances critical thinking and problem-solving through group dynamics.
- Provides opportunities for active and engaged learning.
- Can be challenging to manage and coordinate effectively.
- Risk of some students dominating while others are passive.
- Requires students to have or develop good interpersonal skills.
- Potential for unequal workload distribution in group tasks.
12. The Coaching Style of Teaching
Coaching teaching is a style that focuses on developing students’ skills and abilities through personalized guidance and feedback.
In this approach, the teacher acts more like a coach, supporting and encouraging students to reach their full potential.
Coaching often involves setting goals, providing constructive feedback, and working closely with students to overcome challenges and improve performance, making it particularly effective in skill-based subjects.
- Provides tailored support and guidance to individual students.
- Encourages continuous improvement and skill development.
- Builds confidence and self-efficacy in learners.
- Helps identify and address individual learning needs and challenges.
- Can be time-consuming due to the need for individual attention.
- Requires teachers to have strong mentoring and interpersonal skills.
- May not cover a broad curriculum efficiently.
- Relies on students being receptive to feedback and coaching.
13. Formal Authority (Lecturer) Teachers
Formal authority or lecturer teaching is a style where the teacher maintains a position of authority and expertise, primarily delivering content through lectures and presentations.
This approach is characterized by a structured environment where the teacher directs the learning process, often emphasizing standards, rules, and a clear curriculum.
It is commonly used in higher education and large classroom settings, focusing on efficient knowledge transmission.
- Effective for delivering a large amount of information to many students.
- Provides a clear, structured learning environment.
- Ensures consistent coverage of standardized curriculum.
- Ideal for subjects requiring extensive knowledge dissemination.
- Limited interaction and engagement with students.
- Reduced opportunity for personalized learning and feedback.
- Can encourage passive learning rather than active participation.
- May not effectively cater to diverse learning styles and needs.
14. The Hybrid Style (Both Student and Teacher-Centered)
Hybrid teaching combines elements of both student-centered and teacher-centered approaches, aiming to balance structured guidance with student autonomy.
In this style, teachers provide clear objectives and foundational knowledge, while also encouraging students to explore, discuss, and engage actively with the content.
This method is adaptable to different learning styles and educational goals, offering a flexible and diverse learning environment.
- Balances teacher guidance with student independence.
- Adapts to various learning styles and needs.
- Encourages active learning and critical thinking.
- Allows for a diverse range of teaching methods and activities.
- Can be challenging to strike the right balance between teacher and student roles.
- Requires careful planning to integrate different teaching approaches effectively.
15. The Flipped Teaching Style
Flipped teaching is a pedagogical approach where traditional learning environments are reversed.
In this model, students first engage with new material outside of class, typically through video lectures or reading assignments, and then use class time for deeper exploration through discussions, problem-solving, and practical exercises.
This method shifts the focus from passive listening to active learning during class time, with the teacher facilitating and guiding student-led exploration.
- Encourages active learning and student engagement in the classroom.
- Allows more time for hands-on activities and practical application.
- Promotes self-paced learning outside of class.
- Facilitates deeper understanding through interactive class discussions and exercises.
- Depends on students’ self-discipline to study materials beforehand.
- Requires access to technology and resources outside of class.
- Can be challenging for students who struggle with independent learning.
- Demands significant preparation and planning from the teacher.
Go Deeper: Flipped Teaching Model Guide
16. The Socratic Model
Socratic teaching is a method based on the Socratic method of inquiry, where the teacher asks a series of thought-provoking questions to stimulate critical thinking and illuminate ideas.
This approach encourages students to question and examine their beliefs and understandings, leading to deeper comprehension and insight. It’s particularly effective in developing reasoning skills and fostering an inquisitive mindset.
- Promotes critical thinking and self-reflection.
- Encourages active participation and engagement in learning.
- Helps students develop strong argumentation and reasoning skills.
- Fosters a deeper understanding of complex concepts through dialogue.
- Requires a classroom environment conducive to open discussion.
- Can be challenging for students not used to this style of learning.
- May not cover a broad curriculum if discussions become too focused.
- Depends on the teacher’s skill in crafting effective questions and guiding discussions.
17. Team Teachers
Team teaching involves two or more teachers collaboratively planning, teaching, and assessing a course or unit.
This approach allows teachers to share their expertise and perspectives, offering students a richer and more diverse learning experience.
It often leads to more innovative and interdisciplinary teaching, as different teachers bring their unique skills and knowledge to the classroom.
- Provides students with multiple teaching styles and perspectives.
- Encourages collaboration and professional development among teachers.
- Can lead to more creative and comprehensive curriculum design.
- Offers opportunities for peer support and learning among teachers.
- Requires effective communication and coordination between teachers.
- Potential for conflicting teaching styles and philosophies.
- Can be logistically challenging to organize and manage.
- May require more time for planning and collaboration.
18. Inquiry-Based Style
Inquiry-based learning is a student-centered approach that encourages learners to ask questions, conduct investigations, and explore topics in-depth.
This method fosters curiosity and active learning, as students are directly involved in the process of discovery.
Teachers guide and facilitate the process, but the focus is on student-generated questions and exploration, often leading to project-based learning activities.
- Promotes curiosity and a love of learning.
- Develops critical thinking and research skills.
- Encourages self-directed learning and independence.
- Helps students connect learning to real-world problems and interests.
- Can be challenging for students who prefer more structured learning.
- Requires time and resources for effective implementation.
- May be difficult to align with standardized testing and curriculum requirements.
- Depends on the teacher’s ability to effectively guide and support the inquiry process.
Go Deeper: Inquiry-Based Learning Guide
19. Project-Based Style
Project-based learning is a dynamic teaching approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges through the creation of projects.
This method emphasizes practical, hands-on learning and often involves collaboration among students. Teachers act as facilitators, guiding the learning process and providing resources, but the focus is on student-driven research, design, and execution of projects.
- Encourages active and engaged learning.
- Develops critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills.
- Provides opportunities for practical application of knowledge.
- Helps students understand the relevance of their learning to real-world situations.
- Requires significant planning and resource allocation.
- Can be challenging to assess student learning and project outcomes objectively.
- May not cover all aspects of a standardized curriculum.
- Depends on students’ ability to work independently and manage projects.
20. Andragogy (A Style of Teaching for Adults)
Andragogy refers to the method and practice of teaching adult learners, with a focus on self-directed learning.
It is based on the principle that adults learn differently from children, and thus require a different approach.
Andragogy emphasizes the role of the learner’s experiences, encourages practical application of learning, and involves learners in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.
- Tailors learning experiences to the specific needs of adults.
- Recognizes and utilizes the rich experiences of adult learners.
- Promotes self-directed and autonomous learning.
- Facilitates practical, relevant, and immediately applicable learning.
- Assumes a high level of motivation and self-discipline among learners.
- May require more flexible and varied instructional strategies.
- Can be challenging to align with traditional educational frameworks.
- Depends on the learners’ readiness and willingness to engage in the learning process.
Go Deeper: The Six Principles of Andragogy
21. Nurturing/Humanist Teaching Style
Nurturing or humanist teaching is an approach centered around the emotional and psychological well-being of students.
It emphasizes a supportive and caring classroom environment, where the teacher acts as a facilitator of learning rather than an authoritarian figure.
This style focuses on developing the whole person, including emotional intelligence and self-esteem, and encourages a love of learning for its own sake.
- Creates a safe and supportive learning environment.
- Promotes students’ self-esteem and emotional well-being.
- Encourages intrinsic motivation and a love for learning.
- Helps develop social and emotional skills alongside academic learning.
- May require more time to cover the curriculum due to the focus on emotional aspects.
- Can be challenging to measure and assess emotional and personal growth.
- Requires teachers to be highly empathetic and emotionally intelligent.
- May not align with traditional educational systems focused on standardized testing.
Go Deeper: Learn About Humanism in Education
22. The Montessori Teacher
Montessori teaching is a child-centered educational approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori.
It emphasizes hands-on, independent learning and collaborative play in a carefully prepared environment. Montessori classrooms are characterized by mixed-age groups, student-chosen activities, and uninterrupted blocks of work time.
This method fosters self-discipline, self-motivation, and a love for learning, focusing on the whole child—cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.
- Encourages independence and self-directed learning.
- Supports holistic development—intellectual, social, emotional, and physical.
- Adapts to individual learning styles and paces.
- Promotes a sense of community and responsibility among students.
- Requires specially trained teachers and specific materials.
- Can be expensive to implement due to specialized equipment and training.
- May not align with traditional education systems, especially in terms of assessment.
- The approach might not suit every child, particularly those who thrive in more structured environments.
Go Deeper: Learn About the Montessori Philosophy
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]