by Ian James
In recent years, the discourse surrounding student learning styles has gained considerable attention in the field of education. While it is crucial to acknowledge the diversity of learning styles among students, it is equally important to acknowledge the significance of a teacher's teaching style. This personal piece aims to shed light on the impact that a teacher's teaching style can have on the learning experience of students and to emphasize the importance of embracing one's authentic teaching style.
As a seasoned educator with 18 years of experience, I recall my early days in the profession. At the time, I was advised to adopt a strict and stern demeanour in the classroom. However, I struggled to do so as I have always been inclined towards creating a fun and friendly learning environment for my students. Despite my best efforts, I eventually succumbed to external expectations and adopted a strict teaching style. Unfortunately, this resulted in students not enjoying my lessons and some even exhibiting rude behaviour towards me.
I found myself pondering the reasons for my ineffective teaching approach. It was intriguing to observe that the teachers who had suggested adopting a stern and strict demeanour were able to exhibit those traits while still maintaining a level of respect from their students. This begged the question of why such an approach had proven successful for them, yet not for myself.
I was advised to adopt a strict and stern demeanour in the classroom. However, I struggled to do so as I have always been inclined towards creating a fun and friendly learning environment for my students.
In order to gain a deeper understanding of effective teaching styles, I decided to observe an ustazah who seemed to have a unique approach. Despite her shy and soft-spoken demeanour, her classrooms were consistently quiet and well-organized. This observation led me to have a conversation with her, during which she shared valuable insights with me. She emphasized the importance of staying true to oneself and not conforming to external expectations. She also highlighted the fact that students are capable of detecting authenticity and genuineness in their teachers.
Taking this advice to heart, I resolved to adopt a teaching style that was authentic to me. I treated my students as friends and adopted a less strict approach, even when they were noisy. While my classroom was not as controlled as I would have liked, I noticed a significant improvement in my mental well-being and in my students' learning outcomes. Over time, I developed my classroom management skills while still staying true to my authentic teaching style.
The significance of a teacher's teaching style cannot be overstated. Teachers play a crucial role in shaping the learning experience of students and in fostering a positive and engaging learning environment. A teacher's teaching style directly impacts the motivation and engagement of students, which in turn affects their academic performance. If a teacher is able to create a positive and engaging learning environment, students are more likely to be motivated to learn and to participate in the classroom.
In contrast, if a teacher adopts a teaching style that is not authentic to them, they are likely to experience stress and burnout. This, in turn, can negatively impact their overall well-being and their ability to effectively teach their students. Furthermore, students are likely to detect a lack of authenticity in their teacher and may become disengaged, leading to a decline in academic performance.
...if a teacher adopts a teaching style that is not authentic to them, they are likely to experience stress and burnout. This, in turn, can negatively impact their overall well-being and their ability to effectively teach their students.
In addition to its impact on the teacher and the students, a teacher's teaching style also has a profound impact on the classroom as a whole. A positive and engaging learning environment fosters a sense of community and collaboration among students, encouraging them to work together and support one another. On the other hand, a negative and unengaging learning environment can lead to a lack of motivation and a decline in academic performance.
The importance of embracing one's authentic teaching style extends beyond the classroom as well. By staying true to themselves, teachers are able to foster a sense of personal fulfilment and satisfaction in their profession. This, in turn, can lead to a greater sense of well-being and a reduction in stress and burnout. Furthermore, by embracing their authentic teaching style, teachers are able to create a more positive and engaging learning environment for their students, helping to foster a love of learning that can last a lifetime. When students are exposed to a positive and engaging learning environment, they are more likely to develop a love of learning and to pursue their academic goals with passion and determination.
In conclusion, the significance of a teacher's teaching style cannot be overstated. It is crucial for teachers to embrace their authentic teaching style in order to create a positive and engaging learning environment for their students. This not only fosters student motivation and academic performance, but also helps to reduce teacher stress and burnout and to foster a love of learning in students. By staying true to themselves, teachers can make a meaningful impact on the lives of their students and on the future of education. So to all aspiring educators, I encourage you to embrace your authentic self in your teaching. At this point, there is no need to be anxious about your disorderly students. As you gain more experience and expertise, you will develop a wide range of skills, including effective classroom management techniques. It is important to remember that you do not need to conform to a particular teaching style that does not align with your natural tendencies. Whether you tend to be strict and stern or friendly and fun, or whether your styles lie in the domains of leisure activities, or traditional chalk-and-board pedagogies, it is essential to remain true to your authentic self. Our students are most responsive to genuineness and authenticity, so let us embrace and celebrate our unique teaching styles.
To all those who have a hand in moulding educational policies, make certain that teachers receive professional development opportunities that focus on helping them to identify and embrace their authentic teaching style. This could include workshops and training sessions that focus on personal reflection and self-discovery, as well as opportunities to observe and learn from other teachers who have successfully embraced their authentic teaching style. By providing these resources, we can support teachers in creating a more positive and engaging learning environment for their students and in fostering a love of learning that can last a lifetime.
Published on: 14 July 2023
Our students are most responsive to genuineness and authenticity, so let us embrace and celebrate our unique teaching styles.
Note: The legacy of Ustazah Asmahan Ismail, who is mentioned in this essay, endures even in the wake of her passing in 2014 after a courageous fight against illness. This essay stands as a tribute to her indelible impact as my source of inspiration and guidance.
Ian James has been in the teaching profession for the past 18 years. He is a strong believer in the value of diversity, both in terms of students' learning styles and teachers' teaching styles. He recognizes that each teacher brings a unique set of strengths to the education field and is committed to empowering teachers to embrace their individuality. When not in the classroom, he can be found pursuing his creative interests, including writing, reading, running, and music-making.
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