Teaching Styles

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify different teaching styles
Photo of a group of people sitting in a circle of chairs. Many are leaned back in a casual pose.

What type of teaching style do you think this instructor has?

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about you as a student, so let’s turn our attention to teachers. Take a minute to think of your favorite teacher. Maybe you met this person in elementary school. Perhaps your favorite teacher was a coach. Some students will name a manager or a mentor who taught you a lot at work.

Having instructors who teach in different ways helps you become more versatile as learners. In other words, different teaching styles give you the knowledge and skills to work and communicate with a diverse group of people. Variety can be a challenge for students who prefer to learn in specific settings such as online or in-person. However, learning to recognize different teaching styles can help you adjust and be successful.

Below are descriptions of some main teaching styles and how they relate to different learning modes: [1]

  • Authority style: Instructors with an authority style of teaching prefer to give lectures while standing in front of the class, often doing a combination of talking and writing information on the board. Students are expected to listen and take notes.
  • Demonstrator style: Instructors with a demonstrator style of teaching prefer to lecture, but they prefer to show students what they’re explaining, often by using visual aids such as PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and demos.
  • Facilitator style: Instructors with a facilitator style rely heavily on class discussion, asking students to participate a lot while they provide prompts and guiding questions.
  • Delegator style: Instructors with a delegator approach prefer to structure their classes around student-run projects and presentations—their own teaching takes a backseat to students teaching one another.
  • Hybrid style: Instructors with a hybrid teaching style use a combination of the teaching styles above. For example, during an hour-long class session, they might schedule twenty minutes for a lecture, twenty minutes for class discussion, and twenty minutes for a class activity. While this teaching style can potentially appeal to all students, some students may have trouble adjusting to the shifts in format or activities.

Will all teachers fit into these styles? No, but having broad categories will help you as a learner to understand your teachers.

Try It


teaching styles: the variety of techniques that teachers employ in learning spaces; knowing them can make you a more versatile, active learner


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  1. Gill, Eric. "What Is Your Teaching Style? 5 Effective Teaching Methods for Your Classroom." Concordia Online Education. 5 Jan 2013. https://gimmenotes.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/What-is-Your-Teaching-Styl1.pdf. Accessed 10 Feb 2016.