Teaching Styles

In the 1960s, the Spectrum of Teaching Styles was created by a man named Muska Mosston. The Spectrum is a “unified theory about teaching and learning behavior; a comprehensive framework for understanding the teaching/learning process” as depicted by spectrumofteachingstyles.org. This theory is applicable to all aspects of education and has several parts to it.

A good teacher will be adept to many teaching styles. (photo by Vividlmagelnc)


Teachers will help students learn by strict command; teachers will act as a commander and students will submissively respond.


Teachers will help students learn by teaching individually; teachers will give tasks and students will perform to the best of their abilities.


Teachers will help students learn by stepping back and allowing them to learn among themselves.


Teachers will help students learn by leaving them to introspect. Teachers will evaluate after they introspect.


Teachers will help students learn by allowing them to learn at their own rates without failure. Then, teachers will evaluate their decisions, not the process.

Guided Discovery

Teachers will help students learn by being patient and allowing students to make mistakes as they go. Students are expected to make their own decisions while teachers help correct flaws.


A teacher encourages students regardless of their discoveries; students understand there are several solutions to their problems.

Individual Program

Teacher provides individual help to students as they create both the problem and the solution.

Another teaching style is influenced by the way people think individually. Teachers, with their own perspectives, develop personal thinking styles. In the 1980s, personal thinking styles, as defined by Butler and Gregorc, and researched here, help to create four thinking styles that may depict how one will teach. Below are descriptions of each.

Concrete Sequential

Concrete Sequential teaching is based upon reason, logic, and reality. People who teach through Concrete Sequential methods try their best to teach through means of chronology and order. Generally, you can view these people as strict Type A personalities.

Abstract Sequential

Abstract Sequential teaching is based upon a love of theory and abstract principles and qualities. These people will be able to utilize several different ways to teach because they will understand that there is, often, more than one way to an answer. The answer does not necessarily have to be a concrete one.

Abstract Random

Abstract Random teaching is based upon chaotic scenery. These people are not generally neat or orderly. They teach through introspection and social environments. One may think of these teachers as Type B personalities.

Concrete Random

Concrete Random teaching is based upon experimentation. These teachers love, just as abstract sequential teachers do, to evaluate different methods and find the concrete answer through experimental evaluations.

Regardless of the theories depicted, teachers have an innate teaching style that may effect positively or negatively how students will learn and react to them. It is important to consider this in teaching a course in high school or college. To be receptive to all teaching styles is to be a fantastic teacher, as all students will benefit from the many techniques they use. Students can appreciate when teachers make an effort to help them learn when it’s out of their comfort zones.

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