Adapting to Different Teaching Styles

By Staff Writer Published on October 22, 2013

Every person is different, and this principle is true in many settings including school. Not only do you get to know the personalities of your fellow classmates while in college, but you also get to know the personalities and teaching styles of your instructors. Instructor teaching styles can vary, and often that’s because different students learn in different ways.

To help you become a better student, regardless of differences in teaching styles, it’s important to first become familiar with the different approaches.

Teaching Styles

While there are several schools of thought when it comes to how many teaching styles there are, they are commonly separated into four main groups.

  • Formal Authority – An instructor-centered style, the teacher is responsible for disseminating all the information to the students, ideally through an organized, structured process.
  • Demonstrator – Also instructor-centered, this style also relies on the instructor for the bulk of information by showing how to accomplish tasks and reach desired results and then provides opportunity for students to demonstrate what has been shown.
  • Facilitator – This style is student centered. Instructors utilizing this method will focus on educational activities and will encourage students to engage in their education via peer collaboration, problem solving, and group activities.
  • Delegator – Another student centered style wherein instructors delegate the responsibilities for learning on the members of the class, acting more as a consultant to the educational process, allowing students to create and learn from self-developed curriculum.


Now that you know there are different types of teaching styles, how can this benefit you? It’s beneficial to know and be familiar with these teaching styles because then it allows you to adapt. Each type has a benefit and has a place. Through your higher education experience, you’ll probably experience each of these teaching styles. You may even have a mixture of several in one class or with one instructor. Learn which style is best for you, and take advantage of those times when you are receiving that teaching style. For those styles that are not a great match, find ways in which you can implement the other teaching styles on your own.