classroom management stylesPersonality vs. Teaching Style

Have you ever wondered why teachers have different attitudes towards how they handle a classroom?  While differing personalities have a definite impact on how classrooms are run, these aren’t the only factors.  Teachers adopt certain classroom management styles that may display much about both their personality and their personal beliefs on how students should be taught.  Classroom management is consistently identified as an essential component of effective teaching.  Whether a student who is about to begin a path of becoming a teacher or current instructor intent on developing a new and dynamic teaching style,  Udemy offers a way to learn a practical model for understanding and deconstructing the tasks involved in the process of classroom management.  Knowing the difference in classroom management styles is crucial in finding what works and does not  work in the classroom.  Having a specific teaching style, or incorporating a mix of styles and pulling from what you deem best from each, only benefits the student and makes your job that much easier.  But before you decide on what works for you, and what you want to avoid altogether, it is integral to know the differing classroom management styles.

The All Powerful

Have you a experienced a teacher who had TOTAL control of a classroom?  While not the most popular, it ensures a classroom which is highly efficient and leaves little room for play.  This type of teacher believes in the authoritarian approach and sets firm limits and control on the students.  With this style, students might have assigned seats the entire term, as this builds stability and continuity.  The desks will be assigned in rows and will there will hardly be any deviations.  Hall passes and excused absences are rarely, if ever, granted.

The class tends to be quiet for the most part, as students know interruptions are not tolerated.  In this type of class, students only follow directions and don’t ask why.  While, a teacher who embraces this sort of classroom management style may not be the student’s “friend,”  the student will be more focused on succeeding in the classroom. On the other hand, this approach may make students less likely to initiate activity, and in turn, cause the students to feel powerless.  While this style may seem a bit harsh, a healthy mix of the authoritarian model and a course that shows how to teach students beyond mere compliance, could be a highly successful strategy in mastering your classroom dynamic.

The Toned Down Tyrant

The teacher who adopts the authoritative approach embraces much of the same practices of the authoritarian style, but simultaneously encourages independence.  This type of teacher often explains the reasons behind rules and decisions, ensuring students aren’t left in the dark.  If a student is disruptive in this style, the teacher reprimands in a polite and firm manner.  Discipline is encouraged, but only after careful consideration of the circumstances and open communication with the student.

Communication is open in this style and the teacher is very open to verbal interaction, including being open to respectful, critical debates.  This type of classroom allows for growth in a students emotional intelligence and is not as inhibiting  as the authoritarian approach.  Students feel comfortable interrupting the teacher, as long as the question is relevant and insightful.  Communication skills are able to flourish as the environment of this type of classroom allows for verbal practice and real world interaction.

A teacher who exemplifies the authoritative approach is both warm and nurturing towards the students and expresses a genuine interest in students interests, concerns, and growth in learning.  The environment of this type of classroom is one of praise and encouragement, as the student feels comfortable in exchanging their thoughts and questions.  Instead of leading, the teacher is seen more as a guide- and failure is acceptable as it garners opportunities for growth.  Think Obi-Wan from Star Wars or Morpheus from the Matrix- a firm yet tender approach to learning.

The Democratic Approach

We are now getting to what most would call the “cool” teachers.  While this democratic approach tends to put more power in the students hands, rules and obedience can be weakened.  Few demands or constraints on placed on the students, as they are empowered to “do your own thing.”  The students impulses and actions are accepted by the democratic teacher, and students aren’t as monitored.  A teacher who embraces this style strives not to hurt the student’s feelings and has difficulty saying no to a student or enforcing rules or regulations.  Interruptions are accepted with the belief that the student must surely have something of value to say.  Discipline, while offered rarely, tends to be inconsistent.

The democratic teacher cares for his or her students very much and is very involved in their lives (as opposed to the authoritarian and authoritative teachers).  Students feelings are highly regarded  and take precedence over classroom control.  Sometimes, the feelings of students may dictate the trajectory of the classroom.  While this classroom may be embraced by a majority of students, some may feel the unstructured setting does not ensure learning or challenges to learn.  A danger here is that students frequently have lower motivation to achieve, as the teacher seems more friend than instructor.

Devil May Care

While this approach does little to help student learning and teacher growth, it is helpful to be aware of the approach termed the laissez-faire.  A teacher in this type of learning environment seems disconnected and has basically no control over the classroom. Few demands are asked from the students and the teacher appears generally uninterested.  There is an obvious lack of class preparation and field trips or any other forms of extended learning is out of the question-as the bare minimum is taught.  This type of classroom could be a result from lack of skill, confidence, or courage to discipline the students.  Students tend to mimic this laissez-faire attitude and very little learning occurs.  And while no teacher would openly embrace this sort style of classroom management, it is helpful to be aware that unfortunately these types of teachers do exist.  A laissez-faire teacher could benefit from course that helps boost productivity and find the fire to that led her to teach in the first place.

So which style do you embrace? Before one becomes a teacher, it is essential to know what style most suits your personality and teaching style.

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