The Influence of Teaching Styles

In this article, we'll take a look at how the teaching styles used by teachers can influence their students' learning. Keep reading!
The Influence of Teaching Styles
María Matilde

Written and verified by the pedagogue and trainer María Matilde.

Last update: 17 February, 2023

It’s not possible to state categorically that there one teaching style is better than another. But it can be said that some teaching styles can have a positive influence and achieve better academic results in students, as long as the objective is for students to achieve meaningful learning and develop personal, social, and instrumental competencies.

What are teaching styles?

Teaching styles refer to the form or way in which a teacher or professor transmits the different elements of the teaching-learning process, elements that refer to conceptual, technical, and methodological aspects, such as content and its didactics, and elements such as communication, affective relationships, and organization within the class group.

In the words of María Alexandra Rendón Uribe, “teaching styles are particular and characteristic ways of thinking about the educational process and of assuming the teaching-learning process in a specific context that’s manifested in attitudes, behaviors, actions, procedures, and activities”.

A teacher looking sternly at his students.

In addition, the author argues that all this occurs depending on aspects such as classroom environment and the interaction, socialization, or orientation of students.

Then, considering the above definition, it would be possible to identify various teaching styles and, therefore, classify them in some way. In this regard, in the article  “Estilos de enseñanza y las nuevas tecnologías en educación” (“Teaching styles and new technologies in education”), a useful taxonomy of teaching styles is presented. This classification is made by Sergio Uncala, for which he has considered the development of several authors.

The classification of teaching styles

  • Autocratic style. The teacher’s the one who sets all the guidelines of the teaching-learning process in regard to contents, activities, methodologies, and evaluation.
  • Democratic style. The teacher considers the opinions of their students regarding some issues such as, for example, types of activities or class dynamics. It’s a style that promotes participation and motivation in the classroom.
  • Laissez-faire style. The teacher intervenes very little in the students’ learning. They indicate contents and general teaching guidelines, but then the responsibility and degree of involvement fall on each student.
  • Dominating style. The teacher is authoritarian and demanding and imposes orders, rules, and mandates. And it’s almost impossible for them to allow or consider the opinions or needs of their students.
  • Integrative style. The teacher tries to create a pleasant, pleasant, friendly atmosphere in the classroom. They encourage dialogue, initiative, and participation among their students.
  • Expressive style. The teacher’s objective is to satisfy the emotional needs of their students. They’re concerned about the students’ mood and interpersonal relationships, as they believe that these influence their academic performance.
  • Progressive or liberal style. This teacher is characterized by a high degree of control in class. They work mainly on disciplinary integration and intrinsic motivation for the development of personal and social competencies. This style characterizes teachers who reject traditional teaching methods and encourage team and collaborative work.
  • Traditional or formal style. An academic style that promotes individual student work that is always controlled by the teacher. Teaching is focused on evaluation results and quantitative academic performance.
  • Mixed styles. The combination of two different styles.

Does a teacher’s way of teaching influence their students’ learning?

Nowadays, educational systems prioritize a globalized type of education based on the development of social, personal, and technical competencies. It’s an educational approach whose purpose is the formation of autonomous individuals, with critical, creative, and adaptive capacities.

In addition, today, teaching is oriented toward producing learning based on knowledge and the use of technology. Therefore, the educational objective is the promotion of collaborative learning, combining different approaches and methodologies in the work of the contents.

In addition, education in our times must be committed to diversity: Cultural diversity, motivational diversity, diversity regarding learning rhythms, etc. Therefore, current education assumes that respect for individual differences is a fundamental principle.

Therefore, we can’t say that one teaching style is better than another. But we can say that teaching styles influence student learning. Or, in any case, that some teaching styles are more adequate than others to achieve the current educational objectives set by society and the educational system.

A teacher helping a boy during class.

Reflection on practice and the adequacy of teaching styles according to learning needs

As has been said, some teaching styles may be more adequate than others when it comes to achieving today’s educational objectives. In this regard, it could be thought that the most effective teaching styles are those that consider the specific learning needs of students.

Therefore, whether a teaching style has a positive influence on the learning outcomes of students will depend on how much that style is adapted to such learning. For this reason, it’s important for teachers to know different teaching styles and manage, in a differentiated manner, conceptual, technical, and methodological aspects, as well as communicative, motivational, and affective-emotional aspects, according to learning situations.

In short, if the objective of teaching is to achieve academic progress in students, it’s essential that teachers reflect on their own practices and adapt their own teaching style to the specific learning needs of their students.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.