An Educator’s Guide to Teaching Styles & Learning Styles (2023)

  • Education
Joseph Lathan, PhDRead Full Bio

6 min read

An Educator’s Guide to Teaching Styles & Learning Styles (2)

Hello, welcome to “An Educator’s Guide to Teaching Styles & Learning Styles.” Today’s discussion topic: How student learning styles affect educators’ teaching styles, and vice versa. Here is the syllabus for our key discussion points:

  • Individual Student Learning Styles
  • The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  • Teacher-Centered vs. Student-Centered
  • Teaching Styles: 5 Approaches to Education
  • Lifelong Education for Teachers: Impact of an M.Ed.
  • Follow-up Quiz

Editor’s note: The decision to playfully craft this blog post to feel like a classroom lesson is a writing strategy intended to engage the reader for what we hope will be an informative discussion of important educational concepts and practices.

Student Learning StylesAn Educator’s Guide to Teaching Styles & Learning Styles (3)

If you are a teacher, you know that no two students are the same and that there is a spectrum of different learning styles. An educator’s teaching style, therefore, can greatly impact a student’s ability to learn and comprehend. This is why knowledge of different learning styles is essential for teachers.

Does Andrea learn most effectively through images and graphics? She may be aVisual learner.

Does Jeremy seem to grasp the material best by listening to lectures, asking questions and participating in group discussions? He may be anAuditory learner.

Do Max and Emily prefer to gather information by reading, taking notes and writing reports or essays? They may beReading/Writing learners.

(Video) Discover Your Learning Style

And what about Dylan? She is very hands-on, and seems to enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together — to learn by doing. She may be aKinesthetic learner.

That’s one common breakdown of the spectrum of learning styles, but of course it is not the only one. (One of the first lessons you learn when researching learning styles is that there are many different theories.)

One isthe Theory of Multiple Intelligences, developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s by Harvard educator Howard Gardner (see video), who believed that there are eight distinct “intelligences” that are closely connected to learning. These are:

  • Visual-Spatial— The ability to conceptualize and manipulate large-scale spatial arrays (e.g. airplane pilot, sailor), or more local forms of space (e.g. architect, chess player).
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic — The ability to use one’s whole body, or parts of the body (like the hands or the mouth), to solve problems or create products (e.g. dancer).
  • Musical— Sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody and timbre. May entail the ability to sing, play musical instruments, and/or compose music (e.g. musical conductor).
  • Linguistic— Sensitivity to the meaning of words, the order among words and the sound, rhythms, inflections and meter of words (e.g. poet). Sometimes called language intelligence.
  • Logical-Mathematical— The capacity to conceptualize the logical relations among actions or symbols (e.g. mathematicians, scientists).
  • Interpersonal — The ability to interact effectively with others. Sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations (e.g. negotiator). Sometimes called social intelligence.
  • Intrapersonal — Sensitivity to one’s own feelings, goals and anxieties, and the capacity to plan and act in light of one’s own traits. It is not particular to specific careers; rather, it connects to the ability of every individual to make consequential decisions for oneself. Sometimes called self-intelligence.
  • Naturalistic— The ability to make consequential distinctions in the world of nature as, for example, between one plant and another, or one cloud formation and another. Sometimes called nature intelligence.

The idea behind multiple intelligence theories is not that people learn in only one way, but that people are stronger in different areas and can demonstrate their knowledge and abilities in different ways. For teachers, being attuned to such distinctions can be helpful in understanding how to best connect with individual students.

YOU’RE INVITED!Watch Free Webinar on USD’s Online M.Ed. Program >>

A Range of Different Teaching StylesAn Educator’s Guide to Teaching Styles & Learning Styles (4)

There are two main buckets that most teaching styles fall into: teacher centered or student centered. Here’s a closer look at teacher-centered instruction vs. the student-centered approach:

Teacher-Centered Approach

The teacher-centered approach to education positions the teacher as the expert who is in charge of imparting knowledge to his or her students via lectures or direct instruction. In this approach (sometimes called “sage on the stage”), students are passive actors or “empty vessels,” listening and absorbing information.

This teacher-centered style is the traditional approach to teaching, but it’s not necessarily the best. And as educators learn more about effective ways to engage learners of every style, the teacher-centered approach is looked upon less fondly than it once was. However, there are also countless examples of students being challenged and transformed by a teacher or professor lecturing about a subject they have spent their entire life exploring.

(Video) Learning styles & the importance of critical self-reflection | Tesia Marshik | TEDxUWLaCrosse

Student-Centered Approach

The student-centered approach creates more equanimity between the teacher and student, with each playing a role in the learning process. In this approach, the teacher is sometimes referred to as the “guide on the side.”

While the teacher still holds authority, he or she is more likely to act as a facilitator, coaching students and assisting them in their learning. This approach champions student choice and facilitates connections among students. A couple of styles within the student-centered approach to teaching are:

Inquiry-Based Style
This student-centered learning style encourages independence, autonomy and hands-on learning, with students leading the way and receiving guidance from their teachers.

Cooperative Style
Cooperative learning is a student-centered approach that focuses on group work and social growth. Much like the inquiry-based style, the cooperative style encourages independence and hands-on learning but puts special importance on peer-to-peer work and community.

[RELATED] Career Options Expand, Salaries Spike with a Master of Education Degree >>

Question: How many teaching styles are there?
Answer: This is sort of a “trick question” because, as you might expect, different educational theorists offer differing ideas about the range, scope, descriptions (and number) of different teaching styles.

Though this may be a case where there are no “right answers,” many educational resources break down the different styles of teaching into the following five primary categories:

Lecturer or Authoritative Style
The authoritative teaching style follows the traditional teacher-centered approach, often characterized by lecture sessions or one-way presentations. In this approach (also called the “chalk and talk” style), students are expected to pay attention, absorb the information, take notes and ask questions.

Demonstrator or Coach Style
Often used in math, science and music, the demonstrator style involves more “showing” rather than “telling” with teachers more likely to support the information with examples or experiments, demonstrations or multimedia presentations.

(Video) Educator's Guide to Sutori

Facilitator or Activity Style
The facilitator/teacher is focused on promoting self-learning and helping students develop critical learning and thinking skills. A student-centered approach, it involves creating learning plans and classes that require students to explore and discover the course content in creative and original ways.

Download our free eBook here to learn the top reasons to get your Master of Education degree >>

Delegator or Group Style
Well-suited for curriculums that include or emphasize group activities, the delegator style of teaching shifts much of the responsibility for learning onto the students, who are encouraged to work together in projects connected to the lesson themes (think science labs, debates, etc.). In this style, the teacher is an active observer working to guide students in the right direction.

Hybrid or Blended Style

The hybrid approach may integrate elements of the styles discussed above, often blending the teacher’s personality and interests with those of the students. While this method is considered inclusive, enabling teachers to tailor their styles to student needs within the subject matter, some educators believe it risks diluting the learning process by placing less emphasis on in-depth study than when following a single, focused approach.

The discussion above is not intended to reduce the organic practice of classroom teaching into neat categories or to pigeonhole educators into being characterized as one “type” of teacher or another — but rather to explore different methodologies to enhance our shared understanding of the teaching experience. What it boils down to is getting to know your students and using your skills and instincts to discover the most effective ways to engage both the individual student and entire classes with your curriculum.

Getting to know each student well enough to effectively teach them is especially challenging for high school and middle school teachers who have different students every hour. What works with one student or group might not work with the next.

That’s why it’s so important for educators to have both a strong sense of the range of different student learning styles and a firm grasp of the different teaching styles and strategies you can use to be the most effective educator you can be.

Lifelong Education for Teachers: Impact of a Master’s Degree

Educators who are motivated to develop a deeper understanding of different teaching styles, learning styles, instructional theory and much more will often pursue a Master of Education degree. Such programs not only present an opportunity to become a better educator, in many school districts obtaining an M.Ed. will also earn teachers a salary increase.

To help expand educational opportunities for busy working teachers, the University of San Diego has developed an innovative, 100% onlineMaster of Education degree programthat gives teachers the option of earning their M.Ed. on their own schedule, while interacting with and learning from fellow educators across the country.

(Video) Bloom’s Taxonomy: What, Why & How | An Educator’s guide to effective teaching! | Suraasa

TheM.Ed. specializationsinclude:

  • STEAM(Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics)
  • Inclusive Learning: Special Education and Universal Design(UDL)
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Literacy and Digital Learning
  • School Leadership
  • Innovation & Education Technology

Follow-up quiz:

  1. What are some of your most effective teaching strategies?
  2. What aspects of education (or specializations) would you like to learn more about?
  3. Have you been thinking about taking your mastery of teaching to the next level?

If you answered “Yes” to Question 3, you may want to start a conversation with a USD advisor about how our master’s degree program could help you achieve your goals as an educator, and as a lifelong student.

An Educator’s Guide to Teaching Styles & Learning Styles (5)

Joseph Lathan, PhD

Program Director

Hello, welcome to "An Educator's Guide to Teaching Styles & Learning Styles." Today's discussion topic: How student learning styles affect educators' teaching styles, and vice versa. Here is the syllabus for our key discussion points: Individual Student Learning Styles The Theory of Multiple Intelligences Teacher-Centered vs. Student-Centered Teaching Styles: 5…

Read Full Bio

(Video) Educator's Guide To Teaching Amazing Lessons - Bring Your Classroom To Life


What is meant by learning styles and teaching styles? ›

Theories that students learn and study differently are based on the idea that people have unique approaches to processing information. A learning style is a person's preferred method of gathering, organizing, and thinking about information (Fleming & Baume, 2006).

Why is it important for a teacher to know about learning styles of learners How does it help you in planning your teaching learning? ›

Determining students' learning styles provides information about their specific preferences. Understanding learning styles can make it easier to create, modify, and develop more efficient curriculum and educational programs.

What is the importance of knowing students learning styles in a particular classroom in the preparation of teaching and learning process of the teacher? ›

It is important for teachers to know their learners' preferred learning styles because this knowledge will help teachers to plan their lessons to match or adapt their teaching and to provide the most appropriate and meaningful activities or tasks to suit a particular learner group at different stages.

What is the relationship between the learning styles of A students and the teaching styles of the teacher? ›

A teacher's teaching style (authoritative, authoritarian and permissive) affects students' experience in school. It can provoke functional or non-functional perceptions of learning, self-efficacy and schoolwork, thus an appropriate teaching style can help prevent early school leaving.

Why is it important to understand learning styles? ›

Learning styles are important because they can help many individuals—including students, educators, professionals and learning and development specialists—better understand the particular modalities that can help learners process information most effectively.

How do you teach students with different learning styles? ›

Tips for Accommodating
  1. Engage the student in conversation about the subject matter.
  2. Question students about the material.
  3. Ask for oral summaries of material.
  4. Have them tape lectures and review them with you.
  5. Have them tape themselves reviewing material and listen to it together.
  6. Read material aloud to them.
6 Apr 2021

Why do teachers need to use different styles techniques and strategies in teaching? ›

Different teaching styles are necessary because the students need to be able to learn what the teacher is teaching. However, the choice of teaching styles used can also depend on the school mission statement, the classroom demographics, the educational philosophy of the teacher, and most importantly, the subject area.

How can a teacher help students with different learning and thinking styles continue to learn more effectively? ›

Ask questions so you know what they're thinking and how they're feeling. Provide individual problem-solving exercises. Explain why the lesson material is important as solitary learners are often interested in outcomes. Along with this, give the class ways to track their progress.

Why is it important to know your learning style and how will you benefit from this knowledge? ›

Identifying your learning style involves understanding how you tend to learn best. You can use this information to your advantage when you study by using learning approaches that work well for you, such as writing out notes, creating mind-maps, using models or reciting out loud.

Why is it important for teachers to know the different learning styles of learners and their multiple intelligences? ›

Stacking your teacher arsenal with knowledge on learning styles and multiple intelligence theory will help you reach all your students and not just a select few. Remember that all learners have unique strengths and weaknesses, and a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching doesn't cater to a student's individualism.

How can you improve the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom? ›

Here are some of the words of advice:
  1. Make your expectations clear.
  2. Make eye contact and address students by name.
  3. Supplement lectures with hands-on activities.
  4. Recognize students' accomplishments and respond appropriately to their concerns.
  5. Draw connections between the course material and its real-world applications.
24 Mar 2021

Why is there a need for teachers to match their teaching styles to the learning styles and thinking preferences of the learners? ›

Aligning learning style and teaching style encourages better collaboration between faculty and student and reduces classroom management issues, allowing more time for facilitation of learning by faculty and time on task by students.

How different learning styles affects teaching and learning effectiveness? ›

Learning styles affect learning outcomes through learning motivation in economic subjects, meaning that students who have a visual learning style accompanied by learning motivation will have high learning outcomes, compared to students who have auditory and kinesthetic learning styles.

How do learning style affect the teaching and learning process? ›

Using a learning-styles based teaching is useful to differentiate instruction: the identification of students' learning approaches can help teachers to implement different strategies for the benefit of different learners.

How does teacher's teaching style affect students motivation? ›

Abstract. The teacher's teaching style will greatly influence on how students will be motivated to learn, thus it is through the creativity of the teacher in presenting the lesson in various ways can add up to the motivating factors of the students to perform well inside the classroom.

How will knowing your learning style help you personally? ›

Understanding your learning styles can help you understand your weaknesses and strengths. Your responses may have included: seeing and appreciating that others may learn differently. matching and seeking out ways to learn best.

What is the best learning style for students? ›

YOUR preferred learning style is the way in which YOU learn best. Three learning styles that are often identified in students are the Auditory Learning Style, the Visual Learning Style, and the Tactile/Kinesthetic Learning Style. Read about each of these learning styles to identify YOUR preferred learning style.

Can you explain the different learning styles? ›

This model identifies four types of learners: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. Most people are a combination of these four styles, but more times than not, they have a predominant style of learning. Each of these styles has a complementary way of teaching.

How can I improve my learning style? ›

9 Tips to Improve How you Learn & Your Learning Capacity
  1. Vary your learning routine, locations and material. ...
  2. Get a good night's sleep. ...
  3. Space your study time. ...
  4. "Cramming" for an exam can work…. ...
  5. Use self testing. ...
  6. Take notes in class and review them. ...
  7. Don't worry about short breaks or distractions while you're studying.
1 Jun 2022

How would you describe your teaching style answer? ›

Experienced. "My teaching style can best be described as interactive, supportive, and transparent. I encourage my students to have a voice in the classroom, ask questions when they come up, and participate actively in all conversations regardless of their level of confidence."

Why is it important to apply the best teaching strategies? ›

Effective instructional strategies help students become actively involved in the learning process. When done right, instructional strategies also support students in reaching their learning objectives.

Why is it important to match the teaching strategies with learning styles in curriculum implementation? ›

It is important to study learning styles because recent studies have shown that a match between teaching and learning styles helps to motivate students´ process of learning. That is why teachers should identify their own teaching styles as well as their learning styles to obtain better results in the classroom.

Why do you believe that learning styles are important to consider in the workplace and when developing your career? ›

Working with different learning styles allows employees to flourish in their individual goals and learn new skills, equipping them with the tools they need to thrive.

How will understanding your learning style and intelligence type help you succeed as a student? ›

By examining your learning style, you'll become aware of how your brain learns best. And if you know how you learn best, you can also communicate more effectively with your instructors. Characteristics of visual learners include: Prefers to read and write rather than listen.

How does knowledge of learning styles and multiple intelligences help prevent behavior problems in school? ›

For students, the sense of failure may cause them to misbehave, be apathetic, not pay attention or disrupt the class. The multiple intelligence theory can draw students back into learning. Using the different intelligences to teach a concept allows each of your diverse learners a chance to succeed at learning.

How can teachers maintain a focus on teaching and learning? ›

These include: Essential questions, which are used to determine the goal of lessons. Activating strategy, which is a method teachers use to get students excited about and connecting the content to their own lives. Relevant vocabulary, which refers to using vocabulary that students understand.

How can we make teaching interesting and effective? ›

10 Tips to Make Your Classes More Engaging for Students
  1. Ask questions and seek your student's opinions. ...
  2. Assess the level of knowledge in the room and tailor your teaching accordingly. ...
  3. Get students to present work themselves. ...
  4. Use multimedia like video or audio clips. ...
  5. Encourage group discussion.
22 Apr 2021

Why is it important that teachers consider the different learning styles of the students when designing assessment activities? ›

It is important for teachers to know their learners' preferred learning styles because this knowledge will help teachers to plan their lessons to match or adapt their teaching and to provide the most appropriate and meaningful activities or tasks to suit a particular learner group at different stages.

What factors must you consider when choosing teaching/learning material? ›

Consider these five factors when selecting classroom technology:
  • Factor #1: Student Achievement Goals.
  • Factor #2: Budget Considerations.
  • Factor #3: Equitable Access.
  • Factor #4: Classroom Conditions.
  • Factor #5: Sustainability.
13 Apr 2009

Why is it important for teachers to understand the type of learners that are in the class? ›

By understanding what kind of learner you and/or your students are, you can now gain a better perspective on how to implement these learning styles into your lesson plans and study techniques. The term “learning styles” speaks to the understanding that every student learns differently.

Are teaching styles the same as learning styles? ›

Each student has preferences for how he likes to learn. This is known as his learning style, and it's how he comprehends and retains information best. Similarly, teachers like to teach and structure their classrooms in different ways, known as their teaching styles.

What are learning styles? ›

The Four Learning Styles
  • Visual Learning. Recognizing visual learners: The visual learners in your classroom like to see and observe the things that they are learning about. ...
  • Auditory Learning. ...
  • Reading/Writing Learning. ...
  • Kinesthetic Learning.
28 May 2020

What are the 4 types of teaching styles? ›

5 different teaching styles to use today
  • Lecturer.
  • Demonstrator.
  • Hybrid.
  • Facilitator.
  • Delegator.
29 Jun 2022

Which teaching style is most effective? ›

Experiential learning is a great teaching method because it encourages creativity, helps students learn from mistakes, fosters reflective thinking, and prepares students for future experiences. It can be effective for several subjects, especially during science experiments, sports coaching, and group projects.

How does learning style affect teaching style? ›

Using a learning-styles based teaching is useful to differentiate instruction: the identification of students' learning approaches can help teachers to implement different strategies for the benefit of different learners.

Which learning style is the best and why? ›

Kinesthetic learners are the most hands-on learning type. They learn best by doing and may get fidgety if forced to sit for long periods of time. Kinesthetic learners do best when they can participate in activities or solve problems in a hands-on manner.

What is the best way to learning? ›

One of the most impactful learning strategies is “distributed practice”—spacing out your studying over several short periods of time over several days and weeks (Newport, 2007). The most effective practice is to work a short time on each class every day.

What is an example of a learning style? ›

Auditory learning style – this means you learn by hearing and listening. Acquire knowledge by reading aloud • Hum and/or talk to yourself • Make comments like: ➢ “I hear you clearly.” ➢ “I'm wanting you to listen.” ➢ “This sounds good.” Kinesthetic learning style – this means you learn by touching and doing.

What is the most common teaching style? ›

A standard, formal way of teaching is the traditional lecture style, where you assume the role of an expert and provide facts to your students. Many times, students will take notes on the information that is being taught.

What is teaching style called? ›

In the contemporary classroom, five distinct teaching styles have emerged as the primary strategies adopted by modern teachers: The Authority Style, The Delegator Style, The Facilitator Style, The Demonstrator Style and The Hybrid Style.

How do you motivate students to learn? ›

Tips On How To Motivate Your Students
  1. Become a role model for student interest. ...
  2. Get to know your students. ...
  3. Use examples freely. ...
  4. Use a variety of student-active teaching activities. ...
  5. Set realistic performance goals. ...
  6. Place appropriate emphasis on testing and grading. ...
  7. Be free with praise and constructive in criticism.

Why is it important to use different teaching strategies and methods? ›

Teaching strategies play an important role in classroom instruction. Without the use of a strategy, teachers would be aimlessly projecting information that doesn't connect with learners or engage them. Strategies help learners participate, connect, and add excitement to the content being delivered.


1. An Educator's Guide to MakeMusic
(MakeMusic Cloud (formerly SmartMusic))
2. The 8 Learning Styles
(QEOM - Quality Education Online Management)
3. An Educator’s Guide to Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
4. ACCESS Skills
(Massachusetts DESE)
5. Career Astrology: Teaching Styles Through the Signs
(Amethyst Virgo)
6. Teacher Training # 7 - Three Major Learning Styles
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Arline Emard IV

Last Updated: 15/06/2023

Views: 5562

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Arline Emard IV

Birthday: 1996-07-10

Address: 8912 Hintz Shore, West Louie, AZ 69363-0747

Phone: +13454700762376

Job: Administration Technician

Hobby: Paintball, Horseback riding, Cycling, Running, Macrame, Playing musical instruments, Soapmaking

Introduction: My name is Arline Emard IV, I am a cheerful, gorgeous, colorful, joyous, excited, super, inquisitive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.