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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm interested in what your teaching styles are- whether you've had experience in teaching, or even if it's just hypothetical and your post is about how your teaching style would be if you were a teacher. For the sake of discussion, let's say it's a smaller class setting-15-20 students in... a university setting ( just because this way, we don't have to deal with the classroom management stuff that comes along with teaching kids).

how structured or planned would the class be? what type of teaching goals would you have mine? how would your relationship with the students be? how specific would you be in assignments? what kind of students would you like or dislike the most? would you have things decided/planned way in advance or would you be more likely to go along with the flow and see how things fall into place? would you be more laidback or..? how helpful/involved would you be? (<- this is interested, because I noticed that my 'feeler' professors/teachers have a harder time with this. in trying to be helpful, they end up giving away the answers to students who make the effort, but my 'thinker" professors/teachers were more guarded and always tried to NOT give any hint about the answers or would pause before responding to make sure no answer was accidentally revealed).

4,347 Posts
I don't teach, but I hope to in the distant future.

Nonetheless, the Socratic method would be my style of choice. Why? Well, similar to parenting I don't think you should ever teach someone to memorize as they will inevitably come to a situation that was never properly discussed and thus have no understanding of how to solve the problem. Therefore it's wise to teach people the appropriate critical thinking / problem solving skills so that when they are in a situation that requires additional thought, we can generally -trust- they will make the right decision that will likely take into consideration a variety of factors.

So bad parenting / teaching would be blanket statements
Don't do drugs
The President of the United States is Obama
Be kind and respectful to others

Those are all reasonable, right? But the question that a child / student would not understand is 'WHY' we should believe those statements. Is there a reason? What happens if we deviate from those views? Where are there exceptions?

-Why- should I not do drugs? What happens if I do? Isn't Tylenol a drug? What's wrong with that?
-Why- did Obama win presidency? How does the process of election work? What does he stand for? What would have happened if McCain won?
-Be kind to others? What is the point? What if they're cruel to me? Can't I be taken advantage of?

The idea being the Socratic Method is based on Socrates, a famous philosopher. He was considered by many to be the wisest man of his time, not because of what he knew, but of what he didn't know. He exclaimed, quite proudly, he doesn't know anything at all. When he spoke to many self-professed experts in their respective field, he would question their minds to the fullest extent imaginable until they essentially gave up. In essence, it's like a child talking to a parent and asking "why" over and over again until the parent either says "I don't know" or "shut up" :p.

The Socratic method focuses on keeping someone intellectually stimulated and constantly questioning everything.
The teaching method encompasses that the teacher is a GUIDE to answers, similar to a conductor...

The conductor GUIDES the students / children, but does not actually play the music. At the same time, the teacher generally has the attention of the entire audience and gets them to follow along. Learning is all about rhythm and creating links. Generally students that do well with minimal studying often know how to use the Socratic method, typically unintentionally.

If you're really curious:
Teaching Grade 3's Binary Arithmetic - The Socratic Method
Another example NOT using numbers: Socratic Method in Character Education
Basic Info: Socratic Teaching

It's some really interesting stuff, I wish I could ramble on more about how great it is, but I'd never shut up.

444 Posts
I'm with lad. his post is great. I don't teach now, but a good chance I will one day become a college professor.

I'm very similar to him in the way I'd like teach as well. Definitely would emphasize critical thinking and deep processing. I would *like* to have a general outline of discussion planned (but easily be able to veer off it and follow an interesting and relevant subject, etc. I very much dislike professors who cannot veer off their lecture plan to answer a simple or interesting question, arg) and have the class be heavily based on participation so I'm not up there babbling to myself the entire time. not only does it help keep the people involved, but it also helps them think about what they could do to do further the lecture. I'm more laid back in everything, I can't imagine my classes being any different either.

my goal would depend on what i'm teaching. but overall some general ideas: analyzing yourself - beliefs, biases, socialization, etc. writing - a mixture of creative and critical. I do not like very structured writing. I had a huge argument with one of my professors because I didn't use classic "topic sentences". haha

In a smaller class like that I'd hope to know every student on a first name basis. both ways. I would want them to use "gareth" not prof./mr. loosle - a causual atmosphere, i want my students to be comfortable. And i would definitely be a helpful prof - I would go out of my way to make sure my students are getting what they want out of my class. My ideal students would be anyone who wants to be there and to learn. I have and will continue to learn how to deal with with all personality types.

I imagine my assignments would have a specific *goal* but would be a broad idea. if that makes sense.

I imagine my biggest problem would be confrontation students - especially when it comes to grades and touchy subjects.

I think I answered all your Q's

Everything here is hypothetical of course, I answered as honestly as possible.

23 Posts
I am not a teacher but I do teach adult sunday school class (15-25 adults) and I have experience in corporate training - both technical and soft skill.

As an INFP who doesn't like detail or planning - I have learned the very hard way to be prepared and structured.

How not to do it: Do a lot of reading and hope to go with the flow with a rough outline of areas to cover.
My natural inclination was to do that the first time I taught. This resulted in me standing up to to deliver training and realising I didn't know what to say and blanking out. I was so bad that my supervisor had to take over the whole session - I was young though - only 23!

Now I am prepared in both the preparatory reading, the structure of the class and believe it or not a full word for word script of what I intend to deliver(this includes notes to involve the class, ask questions etc) . Of course I don't stick to the script but it is there to fall back on should I have a catatonic moment. I have a structured timetable, but I don't always stick to it if I feel it doesn't achieve the stated goals of the class.

I have a planned structure with clear goals. People like to know what they will be doing and what the learning outcomes will be. I also try to plan activities that involve everyone talking. Assignments are short usually as I deal with adults who are busy but designed to show me whether they have understood what was taught.

My classes are always engaging - I believe the way to keep a class stimulated is to put clear images in their mind. I paint pictures for them to remember (or show pictures) and use examples from real life - so they see how what they are learning can be applied. People remember images more than words. I want the class to be able to think for themselves and learn how to learn rather than me spoonfeeding them information as that is the least effective way of teaching.

I can't stand students that feel like they have to show off how clever they are by being difficult. I love students who pay attention and want to learn what I am teaching.

As an INFP teacher, the point is has the student really learned what I taught or were they just keeping the chair warm? I am completely partial to good students (I know teachers are suposed to be impartial)!

As for giving away answers, I drop massive hints while guiding them to the answer. But I wont' give the answer directly as I want them to learn how to get to the answer themselves.

Hope that helps..
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