Understanding your teaching style can help you choose effective teaching strategies that will set you up for success during your home preschool routine. Different teaching approaches that are also aligned with your child’s learning style make for a very effective combination.
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Why should you know your teaching style?
Just as all parents have their own parenting style, teachers have a general teaching style. If you walk into various classrooms or homeschool sites and observe teachers and their students, you’re sure to see a wide variety of instructional methods and levels of structure being used. While there is no specific teaching style that is better than others, some are better suited for early childhood learning. And understanding your teaching style is useful because:
- it helps to choose a teaching method that is in line with your own preferences as a teacher
- knowing what you prefer as a teacher will help make the home preschool experience more enjoyable
- understanding how your teaching style aligns with your child’s learning style can help avoid common pitfalls
- being aware of your own tendency to choose certain activities can help you remember to incorporate different types of activities occasionally
What is your teaching style?
Your teaching style includes the methods of instruction you prefer, the types of activities and interaction you plan for students, and the level of structure you expect. In 5 Types of Classroom Teaching Styles the main teaching styles are outlined as follows:
Authority, or lecture style-This style is characterized by a more teacher-centered approach with presentations and lectures. It is a very high structure, low participation teaching model.
Demonstrator, or coach style-This style is slightly less structured than the authority style. In addition to lectures and presentations, the demonstrator shows students how to do things. This is often helpful for procedural knowledge.
Facilitator, or activity style-Facilitators are noted for promoting self-learning and helping students develop critical thinking skills by encouraging them to investigate materials and learn from one another.
Delegator, or group style-The teaching style is characterized by inquiry-based learning and guided discovery where students explore the answers to questions they have while the teacher helps provide resources and materials for exploration. This is a very common teaching style in early childhood settings.
Hybrid, or blended style-In a hybrid teaching style, teachers blend their own personality and interests with those of the students as well as the students’ needs. You will also see many early childhood teachers who fall into this teaching style.
Although no teaching style is superior, some are more appropriate for early childhood than others. It is important that your teaching methods are engaging to children and encourage them to become active in the learning process. In a smaller group setting like home preschool, you also have the benefit of being able to tailor your teaching methods more toward your individual kids.
What does this look like in a home preschool setting?
I find it helpful to look at the main teaching styles in terms of the level of structure used with them. High structure is largely associated with adult control and students being given specific directions and goals. Low structure is often associated with more child-led activities and more flexibility in daily task choices.
In a high structure setting like that used by an authority or demonstrator you might see:
- traditional teaching through workbooks and worksheets
- programs utilizing Classical and Charlotte Mason curriculums
- computer-based learning programs
- days organized and planned by the teacher with less input from the child
- parent and child often working side-by-side to complete tasks
In a low structure setting like that used by a facilitator or delegator you might see:
- more prevalent use of hands-on materials and inquiry-based learning
- programs utilizing Montessori, Reggio, Waldorf or Unschooling methodologies
- investigations like science experiments, sensory bins, and small world play
- materials that are organized by the teacher with students given choices in the type and way the tasks are completed
- child independently exploring and interacting with materials while adult intermittently plays along side child and then supervises and observes from a distance
While you may find yourself firmly in a high structure or low structure teaching style, you might also find yourself somewhere in between. That’s okay! This information is just intended to establish a little self-awareness about what you prefer. In the next lesson we’ll take a look at your child’s learning style and see how we can combine your teaching style and your child’s learning style to set the stage for a rewarding home preschool experience for everyone.
This is Unit 1, Lesson 1 of the Guide to Getting Started with Home Preschool. Return to the main Getting Started with Home Preschool page or proceed to Unit 2, Lesson 2: Understanding Your Child’s Learning Style.