In our previous tip, we discussed several of the leading models of student learning styles, and suggested the employment of one may well hold positive impact on student retention, program completion and related accountability objectives. Now that the new academic year is up and running, let's take a look at some of the dynamics of our individual teaching styles.
You have likely heard your entire career that we "teach as we have been taught." While I have not seen hard research on this issue, we do not doubt its veracity. Digging a bit deeper however, we are increasingly convinced that each of us also derives much of our individual teaching style from our individual learning style. That is what has worked for us as a student has probably convinced us that it likely works for many students, and therefore it drives much of what we do in front of the classroom. Richard Felder, of North Carolina State University, has researched this issue extensively, and some of his thoughts are quite revealing.
Felder states that individual teaching styles may be defined in terms of the answers we provide to five questions:
Problems occur because there are often significant mismatches between the learning styles of most college students and the teaching styles of most college professors. The key to addressing the issue is present a variety of styles to all learners, so that students are not consistently taught in their least preferred mode. Among others, Felder recommends:
Why not invest some time in reflecting upon your individual teaching style, and making some small adjustments that might increase your instructional effectiveness?