Teaching Styles Overview & How to Choose Your Own in 2024

Published On: June 15th, 2024·By ·

The role of the teacher includes understanding and implementing various teaching styles to accommodate different students' unique learning needs.

Educators are tasked with imparting information and instilling essential skills for lifelong learning. Therefore, it’s necessary to acknowledge the diverse nature of your classroom and embrace various teaching styles.

Each teaching style offers a unique way for educators to interact with their students and create positive learning experiences. 

Understanding the different instructional styles helps educators to tailor their approach and create inclusive environments where every learner can thrive, regardless of their background or learning style.

In this article, we explore five teaching styles, their principles, advantages, and applications in the classroom. As an educator, you’ll learn how to determine which style resonates best with you and your students.

What are Teaching Styles?

Teaching styles or teaching methods refer to the approach a teacher takes to deliver a lesson and interact with students. The most common framework for classifying teaching styles is teacher-centered vs. student-centered:

  • Teacher-centered: The teacher is the primary source of information, delivering lectures, presentations, and demonstrations.
  • Student-centered: The teacher facilitates discussions, group activities, and projects, encouraging students to explore and discover information themselves. 

There are five primary teaching styles used by teachers in the classroom. These styles combine various instructional strategies, techniques, and philosophies that guide how teachers deliver content, interact with students, and create learning environments.

It’s important for educators to understand teaching styles in order to effectively meet the diverse needs and preferences of their students.

Why are Teaching Styles Important?

Teaching styles impact the learning experiences of students and the effectiveness of teaching. Let’s look at reasons why being proficient in a range of teaching styles is important:

  • Catering to diverse learning needs: Students come from different backgrounds, possess different learning styles, and have unique strengths and challenges. Employing a variety of teaching styles helps ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn.
  • Enhancing student engagement: Different teaching styles appeal to different students, making learning more engaging. When students are involved in the learning process through hands-on activities, group discussions, or experiential learning, they are more likely to be attentive and participate.
  • Building critical thinking and problem-solving skills: Encouraging students to ask questions, explore ideas, and work together to find solutions fosters creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that are essential for success beyond academics.
  • Promoting retention and understanding: Research has shown that active engagement and varied instructional approaches enhance retention and understanding. Students are more likely to remember when exposed to content through multiple methods.
  • Adapting to changes in the education field: New technologies, pedagogical theories, and research keep emerging. Educators proficient in more teaching styles are better equipped to adapt to these changes and meet their students' needs.

Teaching styles promote accessibility to education by ensuring that all students have equal opportunities to learn and succeed.

Teaching style

1. The Authority Style

The authority style, also known as the lecturer style, is a teacher-centered approach in which the teacher takes center stage and presents information through lectures, explanations, and demonstrations. 

Students are expected to absorb and take notes to memorize information. There is limited student participation during instruction. The focus is on clear delivery by the teacher and effective note-taking by students.

The authority style is less common in the standard K-12 classroom because it's a one-way discussion.


  • Teachers can deliver a large amount of information in a short amount of time, making it efficient for foundational knowledge and large classes.
  • The teacher sets a clear learning path, which can be helpful for some students who prefer a well-defined structure.
  • With the teacher as the primary source of information, content delivery is efficient and streamlined. 
  • The authority style allows for greater control over the learning environment, enabling the teacher to manage disruptions, maintain focus, and minimize distractions.
  • Students benefit from the teacher's expertise and guidance, who provides explanations, clarifies misconceptions, and offers support as needed.
  • The authority style emphasizes direct instruction, helping students become familiar with testing formats and improving performance on standardized assessments.


  • There is decreased engagement and motivation, especially for students who prefer more interactive and hands-on learning.
  • The style does not encourage analysis or questioning of the information presented.
  • Students may become overly reliant on the teacher for direction and guidance, leading to a lack of initiative or self-directed learning. 
  • With teacher-led instruction, there are limited opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking, problem-solving, or creative expression. 
  • The authority style may not accommodate the diverse learning needs of all students and can pose a challenge for students who require individual support to thrive academically.
  • The authority style can create a power dynamic in which the teacher's authority is unquestioned, stifling student voice, creativity, and collaboration.
  • Students may become passive learners, simply absorbing information without actively engaging with the material.


  • Traditional classroom lectures: The teacher delivers a lecture, presenting information, using examples, and explaining key points. Students listen and take notes without interrupting.
  • Pre-recorded lectures: Online courses often use pre-recorded video lectures. Students passively receive information without immediate interaction with the instructor.
  • Corporate Training Sessions: Company presentations introducing new policies, procedures, or software often follow this style. Trainers deliver the information, and trainees primarily listen and take notes.

2. The Demonstrator Style

The demonstrator teaching style involves showing students how to perform a task or solve a problem rather than simply explaining it verbally. This approach is particularly useful for subjects that involve hands-on skills or visual learning, such as science, physical education, and art.

The teacher demonstrates the process step-by-step using practical examples to enhance learning. During demonstrations, the teacher relies on visual aids like diagrams, charts, or multimedia presentations to enhance understanding.

Following the demonstration, students can practice the skill with the teacher's guidance.


  • Seeing a process in action makes it easier to understand than just hearing about it.
  • Active demonstrations can be more engaging than lectures, leading to better information retention.
  • Students gain practical experience through hands-on practice, solidifying their understanding and building confidence.
  • The demonstrator style engages students through visual and experiential learning experiences, making complex concepts easier to understand.
  • This style encourages active participation rather than passively receiving information. Students have the opportunity to practice skills under the teacher's guidance, promoting deeper learning and skill development.
  • Demonstrations often pique students' curiosity by sparking questions and observations. Students are encouraged to ask questions, make predictions, and seek explanations, fostering critical thinking in the classroom.
  • The demonstrator style is effective for teaching practical skills and techniques across various subject areas. Students can observe and emulate the teacher's actions to develop proficiency.
  • Demonstrations can be tailored to accommodate diverse learning needs. Teachers can adapt demonstrations to suit different abilities, ensuring that all students have the opportunity to participate in the lesson.


  • Demonstrations can be time-consuming to set up and conduct, potentially limiting the amount of content covered.
  • This style may not be suitable for all types of learning, particularly for heavily theory-based subjects like history and languages.
  • The demonstrator style may be limited by resource constraints, such as access to specialized equipment, materials, or facilities.
  • Hands-on demonstrations may be challenging to implement effectively in large class sizes, where student management issues may arise. 
  • Assessing student learning and understanding following a demonstration can be challenging because traditional assessment methods may not capture hands-on learning experiences.


  • Science lab experiments: Students observe the teacher performing a science experiment and then repeat it, learning key concepts.
  • Art instruction: An art teacher demonstrates a color mixing method, and then students practice the technique on their own canvases.
  • Sports coaching: A physical education teacher demonstrates proper techniques for performing a specific sports skill, such as shooting a basketball, before providing opportunities for students to practice the skill.                             

3. The Facilitator Style

The facilitator teaching style is the exact opposite of traditional education. Instead of the teacher acting as the sole source of information, they act as a guide in a student-centered environment that prioritizes exploration and self-discovery.

The teaching style encourages self-learning through student-to-teacher learning. It focuses heavily on student self-discovery and problem-solving skills, which leads to a deeper understanding of the subject matter. 

In this style, the teacher is a facilitator or guide, creating opportunities for students to explore, discover, and construct their own understanding of concepts through inquiry, discussion, and reflection.


  • Through activities and discussions, students take ownership of their learning, leading to better information retention.
  • Facilitators utilize group work and peer learning, allowing students to learn from each other and hone their communication and collaboration skills.
  • The facilitator approach encourages students to think outside the box and approach problems with innovative solutions.
  • Students have the opportunity to ask questions, explore ideas, and express their opinions, creating an interactive learning environment.
  • By engaging in inquiry-based activities, students develop critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, and problem-solving. They learn to think critically about complex issues and apply logical reasoning to make informed decisions.
  • Students take ownership of their learning by setting goals, directing their inquiries, and taking responsibility for their academic progress. 
  • The style facilitates social skills and promotes mutual respect among peers as they work together to solve problems and share ideas.
  • The facilitator approach allows teachers to personalize learning experiences to accommodate different learning styles, interests, and abilities.  


  • This style relies heavily on student engagement. Shy or unprepared students may struggle to participate effectively.
  • Facilitators must be adept at managing discussions and ensuring all voices are heard, which can be challenging in large classes.
  • Creating engaging activities and discussion prompts requires more prep work than traditional lectures.
  • Facilitator-led classes may cover less ground than traditional lectures by emphasizing deeper understanding over breadth of knowledge.
  • Effective facilitation requires skilled classroom management, questioning techniques, and facilitation strategies to guide student inquiries and discussions effectively.


  • Debates: Students argue opposing viewpoints on a relevant issue, developing research and communication skills.
  • Guided meditation sessions: In mindfulness or wellness classes, instructors serve as facilitators, guiding students through relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.
  • Writing workshops: The teacher acts as a facilitator, providing prompts, writing exercises, and constructive feedback to support students' writing development. Students engage in discussions and peer review sessions to refine their writing craft.

4. The Delegator Style 

The delegator style empowers students by placing them in charge of their learning. The teacher acts more as a coach or consultant, providing guidance and support while students take charge of projects and group work.

The delegator style is powerful for developing essential life skills like teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. Students are encouraged to make choices, set goals, and take responsibility for their academic progress.

The style prioritizes student-centered learning experiences, where students' interests and learning styles are taken into account. 


  • Students develop independence by taking full responsibility for their learning.
  • Through collaboration and project-based learning, students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Students learn to communicate effectively, delegate tasks, and work in a team towards a common goal.
  • The delegator style prepares students for the real world where individuals work in teams and manage projects independently.
  • By allowing students to take ownership of their learning, they learn to analyze information, evaluate options, and generate creative solutions independently.
  • When students have a sense of ownership and control over their learning, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and invested in their academics.
  • Students have the flexibility to pursue topics of personal interest and work at their own pace.


  • This style works best with students who possess a good foundation in the subject matter and strong self-management skills.
  • There's a risk that some students may dominate group work, or others may not contribute enough.
  • While delegating tasks, the teacher still needs to monitor progress, offer feedback, and intervene when necessary.
  • Some students may struggle with the freedom and responsibility afforded to them. Students may become disengaged, procrastinate, or lack motivation to pursue their learning goals.
  • The delegator style is most effective with mature, self-motivated students who are capable of managing their own learning effectively. 
  • In classrooms with diverse student populations, the delegator style may lead to unequal learning if students have varying levels of self-drive or support systems outside of school. 


  • Group Projects: Students research, plan, and present projects on a chosen topic within the curriculum, requiring teamwork and project management skills.
  • Peer Review: Students critique each other's work, providing constructive feedback and enhancing communication and analytical skills.
  • Student-led discussions and debates: In literature and social studies, students can research, prepare arguments, and lead discussions while the teacher provides support and feedback as needed.

5. The Hybrid Style

The hybrid teaching style combines elements of both traditional, teacher-centered instruction and modern, student-centered approaches. 

In a hybrid classroom, teachers utilize a variety of instructional methods, technologies, and learning tools to create a flexible learning environment that meets students' diverse needs. 

The hybrid style supports personalized learning where students can choose learning activities and assignments that align with their interests, preferences, and learning goals.


  • Students can access lectures, course materials, and assignments online, allowing them to learn at their own pace and revisit concepts as needed.
  • The hybrid style incorporates various teaching methods such as lectures, discussions, and online activities to cater to different learning styles.
  • Students gain experience with online learning platforms and tools, preparing them for the real world where technology is integrated into everything..
  • Online tools can introduce pre-class activities or quizzes, encouraging students to come to class prepared and ready to participate actively.
  • Teachers may provide options for project-based learning, independent study, or differentiated assignments to accommodate diverse student needs and learning styles.
  • Research suggests that combining online and in-person learning experiences improves academic performance and increases student satisfaction. 


  • Successful implementation relies on reliable internet access and technological equipment for both students and teachers.
  • Balancing online and in-person learning requires strong time management skills from both students and teachers.
  • Educators need training to effectively manage the hybrid environment, utilizing technology tools and creating engaging online content.
  • Managing multiple learning platforms, resources, and assessments in a hybrid classroom can be complex and energy-consuming for teachers.


  1. English, math, or science lesson in a K-12 classroom: Teachers incorporate hybrid learning where students rotate through different learning activities including hands-on experiments, group discussions, or independent reading.
  2. Field trips and guest speakers: Teachers organize field trips or invite guest speakers to participate in hybrid classrooms, providing students with opportunities to explore real-world environments, interact with experts, and apply concepts learned in class to real-life contexts.

Teaching Styles vs. Learning Styles

Each learner has a unique approach to absorbing information. A preferred learning style is the method through which a student feels most adept in grasping new concepts. Similarly, educators have their preferred teaching styles.

Why are learning styles important to teachers, then?


To effectively engage every student in the classroom, teachers need to  employ a diverse range of teaching methods instead of sticking to a single approach.

The following is a list of various learning styles:

  • Visual (spatial): Students who excel at mentally visualizing concepts.
  • Bodily (kinesthetic): Students who thrive in a learning environment involving physical movement.
  • Musical: Students who possess a deep understanding of music, melodies, and rhythm.
  • Linguistic: Students who exhibit proficiency with language and words.
  • Logical (mathematical): Students who are adept at problem-solving and tackling challenges.
  • Interpersonal: Students who flourish in collaborative settings, excelling when working in groups.
  • Intrapersonal: Students who achieve optimal learning outcomes when afforded solitary study environments.

Tips for Applying Teaching Styles 

Selecting the right teaching style impacts your job satisfaction as an educator and the learning outcomes for your students. Here are tips for applying teaching styles in the classroom:

  1. Analyze the class: Understand the diverse learning preferences and needs of students to assess the most effective teaching approach.
  2. Self-reflection: Evaluate your own strengths, weaknesses, and teaching capabilities to select the most suitable methods for facilitating learning.
  3. Seek feedback: Collaborate with trusted colleagues and mentors who can provide valuable insights into teaching practices. This will help you refine your approaches and discover new strategies for engaging students effectively.
  4. Flexibility: Remember you are not bound to a single teaching style indefinitely. If a particular approach does not resonate with students or fails to yield desired outcomes, you should be willing to adapt and explore alternative methods.

How to Choose the Right Teaching Style for You?

Selecting the most effective teaching style can feel daunting at first. However, you must recognize that not every student will thrive under a single approach. You need to be flexible to explore various styles.

As an educator, it's essential to stay informed and adaptable and continuously seek opportunities for growth. Professional development training enables you to tailor your instructional methods accordingly. 

Simple K12 offers professional development resources to help you understand and implement different teaching styles. You can enhance your effectiveness in the classroom, inspire student engagement, and nurture a culture of lifelong learning. 

Explore Simple K12 today and take the next step towards transforming teaching and learning in your classroom.

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