When I was growing up in school, I experienced many different teaching styles that for the most part did not work for me. Not that I lacked the intelligence, it was because the teaching style did not suit me. After a few years out of school I realized I was better off and figuring it out as I went along. At work if an engineer was trying to explain something I?d have to look at the job and I?d usually figure it out myself. It would go in one ear and out the other when it was being explained to me. This method might not work for everyone. I?m not sure but I think it would be similar to internet learning and doing the work yourself.
My experience of learning languages is mixed. When I was learning German, I had a drill-sergeant type teacher in fact he was actually a corporal in the army. This did not suit me. It was very grammar based and we learnt every bit of vocab in the book, no matter how stupid it was. This suited some people especially this one guy who had a photographic memory but our teacher didn?t understand that some people didn?t have as good memories as others and even if I spent three times as long studying I still might not remember all the vocab. That was him and now I can?t speak any German, after six years. Thank you, Mr. Nealon.
Learning Irish doesn?t really count because I went to an Irish speaking school so I was fluent at an early stage. A lack of practice however has led to some dodgy grammar.
In secondary school I had a lot of teachers who had good reputations but it was a bit unfair because they hand picked the class and it is easy to teach smart kids. Surely it?s better to have the supposedly better teachers teaching weaker kids. I however got in with the smart kids because my parents were well connected.
One teacher in particular stood out as being very good. Like my German teacher he was a man of authority but he knew how to use it. He controlled the class with a stare that would make you soil yourself but he would never give out. When we were doing work in class he had very good monitoring and could identify who was struggling and would be very helpful. Close monitoring can be a very good style but I think you need to be comfortable doing it or the student may just be intimidated by you looking at them work. I was good at maths so this might have been why I liked him.
Another teacher that stood out was my physics teacher whose reputation preceded him. He was supposedly brilliant. I am very good at physics now because I did it in collage but I only just passed his class. Basically all we did was take notes and memorise. In collage I learnt everything through demonstrations and experiments. When I wasn?t doing so well in class he didn?t help me all he did was recommend that I drop down to a lower level. Do your job and teach. He took the easy way out and lectured rather than teach. They are some of my experiences of various teaching styles, I?m sure that some methods work for some and others work for other. You need to identify the needs of each individual student and be flexible in your styles.
Author: Neil OMahony
Date of post: 2007-04-18