1. Title Page: Teaching With Style
    2. Dedication and Publishing Information
    3. Preface
    4. Table of Contents
    5. Chapter 1 Identifying the Elements of Teaching Style
    6. Chapter 2 The Role of Self-Reflection in Enhancing Our Teaching Styles
    7. Chapter 3 Developing a Conceptual Base for Our Teaching Styles
    8. Chapter 4 An Integrated Model of Teaching and Learning Style
    9. Chapter 5 Teacging and Learning Styles in the Management of Five Basic Instructional Concerns
    10. Chapter 6 Managing the Expert, Formal Authority, Personal Model Styles
    11. Chapter 7 Developing Consultant, Resource Person, Active Listening, and Group Process Skills
    12. Chapter 8 Managing the Facilitator and Delegator Styles of Teaching
    13. References
    14. Subject/Author Index



 
Teaching With Style
i
Teaching With Style
A Practical Guide to
Enhancing Learning by Understanding
Teaching and Learning Styles
Anthony F. Grasha, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati
Alliance Publishers

 
ii
Teaching With Style
Telephone: (909.777.0033 FAX 909.777.0034
Copyright © 1996, 2002 by Alliance Publishers
Teaching With Style
To everyone over the years who took the time to listen to my ideas about teaching
and learning, who sometimes took exception, suggested alternatives, and in the
process helped me to sharpen my thinking as I probed the underlying components
of the teaching-learning process.
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used
or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of
brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address Alliance
Publishers 2086 South “E” Street, Suite 205, San Bernadino, CA 92408
ISBN: 0-6745071-1-0
Http://www.iats.com

 
Teaching With Style
i i i
Preface
About 25 years ago I wrote a twelve page essay describing the learning styles of
students as part of a proposal for a paper session for the American Psychological
Association’s annual meetings. At the time I was not engaged in a research program
on learning styles, but I was fascinated with the different ways students appeared to
learn in classes. The essay was an analysis of critical incidents in my interactions
with students. It was the first thing I had ever written about college teaching and
thus I had no way to gauge whether others would find my observations intriguing.
To my surprise, the proposal was accepted and I suddenly began to worry about the
presentation. I questioned whether I could go to a professional meeting in a few
months armed only with a twelve page essay. “I’ll get killed by all of the empirical
types,” I told myself. Thus, to
protect myself
, I developed a questionnaire and surveyed
students about how they learned. Their responses were then used to supplement my
informal observations. In retrospect, I am not convinced the paper was better but I
felt less anxious knowing I had a few numbers to support my conclusions.
The essay was well received and the editor of the prestigious
American Psychologist
asked me to submit it for publication. The subsequent article generated a considerable
amount of interest in my views on learning styles and dramatically changed my
career. I then began to seriously study a variety of teaching-learning issues including
the role of student learning styles and teaching styles in the college classroom.
Teaching With Style
represents an extension of that twelve page essay twenty-five
years later. While informal observations of classroom dynamics continue to play a
role in my writing, they are supplemented with information from other sources.
This book also includes concepts from research using the
Grasha-Riechmann Student
Learning Style Scales,
the
Teaching Styles Inventory,
extensive interviews with
college faculty across disciplines, outcomes of my work consulting with instructors
on problems they faced in the classroom, ideas generated from several hundred
interdisciplinary workshops and seminars I have conducted with faculty and graduate
students, concepts and practices described in the literature on college teaching, and
my personal experiences as a teacher and as a learner.
Teaching With Style
was written to enable readers to learn more about themselves as
teachers, the factors that facilitate and hinder attempts to modify instructional
practices, and how to use an integrated model of teaching and learning style to
teach
for learning
by enhancing the nature and quality of what occurs in the classroom. To
accomplish these goals, this book is organized into eight chapters.
Chapter 1
argues that teaching style is more than a set of interesting personal qualities.
Rather, such qualities are related to our preferences for particular instructional
processes and are often markers that students, administrators, peers, and others employ
when judging our effectiveness as teachers. This chapter also notes that without a
focus on the qualities that learners possess, and how they interact with our styles as
teachers, changes in instructional processes will be difficult to develop and maintain.

iv
Teaching With Style
In
Chapter 2,
the need for self-reflection and understanding as a precursor to change
is developed. Factors that facilitate and hinder attempts to modify instructional
practices are examined and suggestions for overcoming barriers are made. Readers
will be able to determine where they stand in a cycle of change in teaching and how
to think and behave in ways that promote the development of their skills as teachers.
The need for and how to develop a philosophy of teaching as part of one’s efforts to
change is the focus of
Chapter 3.
This philosophy of teaching functions as a roadmap
and helps to guide our thoughts, behaviors, and the selection of particular instructional
methods. It provides us with an explicit conceptual rationale for why particular
instructional practices should be employed. The elements of a philosophy of teaching
are presented and how they can be applied in our classrooms are examined.
Chapters 4-8
present the elements in an integrated model of teaching and learning
style. This model examines the relationships among learning styles of Competitive-
Collaborative, Independent-Dependent, and Participant-Avoidant and teaching styles
of Expert, Formal Authority, Personal Model, Facilitator, and Delegator.
Teaching
style, learning styles, and classroom processes are seen as interdependent.
The
selection of any one element has implications for the appearance of the other two.
For example, the use of the Expert/Formal Authority styles in the context of the
traditional lecture-discussion method of teaching encourages and reinforces a
Dependent/Participant/Competitive set of learning styles. Ways to use an
understanding of style in selecting instructional strategies are presented. More than
40 methods of instruction are described in detail and ways to use them to encourage
active and collaborative learning as well as critical thinking are described.
All of the chapters in this book employ a variety of reader involvement activities,
checklists, self-assessment instruments and other devices to encourage self-reflection
about the personal relevance of the material. Such things are directed towards helping
the reader to address how the information could fit into their philosophy of teaching.
While writing is a solitary activity, publishing a book is a collective enterprise and
in this case it also was a family affair. I am grateful for the support and encouragement
of my friend and colleague Laurie Richlin who created Alliance Publishers to publish
books with a practical orientation towards teaching and learning. Her daughters
Jennifer and Karen Stokely used their professional skills behind the scenes to
comment on the layout and design of the book and helped with the development of
materials for the promotion and advertising campaign. Karen also worked on a
number of aspects of the artwork in the book and the advertising materials. My
sons Eric and Kevin deserve a thank you for their assistance with proofreading and
computer tasks as does my wife Carol for her support and patience with this project.
David Wills did a marvelous job integrating ideas about self-reflection and style
and created the front cover art. The graduate students in Laurie Richlin’s class on
faculty development at the University of Pittsburgh and those in my seminar on
college teaching at the University of Cincinnati provided helpful feedback on earlier
drafts of the manuscript. The comments of reviewers Milton Cox [Miami University],
Barbara Fuhrmann [Louisiana State University] Joseph Lowman [University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill], and Leslie Hickcox [Rogue Community College] also were
very much appreciated.
Anthony F. Grasha

 
Teaching With Style
v
Defining Style..................................................................................... 3
General Patterns of Classroom Behavior ..................................................................... 3
Characteristics Associated with a Popular Instructor..................................................... 5
Teaching Methods and Teaching Style ........................................................................ 6
Behaviors Common to All College Faculty ................................................................... 9
The Roles Teachers Play ............................................................................................. 17
Personality Traits and Teaching Style .......................................................................... 23
Archetypal Forms of Teaching Style ............................................................................. 32
Metaphors as Representations of Teaching Style ........................................................ 34
Epilogue............................................................................................. 38
Themes and Variations ................................................................................................. 38
Teaching Styles and Learning Styles:
“You Can’t Have One Without the Other”................................................................... 41
Alternate Ways of Blending Teaching and Learning Styles............................................ 47
Obtaining New Perspectives on Our Teaching Styles.................... 49
Stepping Outside of the “Domes That Surround Us”................... 50
Comparing Ours Styles to a Divergent Role Model...................................................... 51
Exploring Our Values..................................................................................................... 52
Asking Imaginative Questions about Ourselves............................................................ 55
Table of Contents
Chapter 2
The Role of Self-Reflection in Enhancing
Our Teaching Styles ..................................................... 49
Chapter 1
Identifying the Elements of Teaching Style ................ 1
Chapter 2

vi
Teaching With Style
The Role of Self-Reflection in Modifying Teaching Style.............. 56
What Others Seldom See in Faculty Considering Change......... 59
The Inner Turmoil Associated with Change..................................................................... 59
A Desire for Familiar Teaching Habits..................................... ...................................... 60
A Desire for Familiar Teacher-Student Relationships..................................................... 60
The Relationship of Personal Identity and Teaching Style............................................. 61
Self-Reflection and the Cycle of Change in Teaching ..................... 63
Factors That Facilitate the Cycle of Change .................................... 67
Factors That Hinder the Cycle of Change ........................................ 69
Patterns of Thinking That Affect Taking Actions to Change....... 70
Defensive Avoidance .................................................................................................... 71
Denial ............................................................................................................................ 72
Defensive Pessimism .................................................................................................... 73
Defensive Attributions ................................................................................................... 74
Problematic Cognitive Styles.......................................................................................... 75
Absolute and Extreme Ways of Thinking........................................................................ 78
Epilogue............................................................................................. 82
Themes and Variations................................................................................................... 82
The Cognitive Imperative ............................................................................................... 83
Optimistic and Pessimistic Explanatory Styles and Processes of
Change in Teaching...................................................................................................... 84
Booters and Bootstrappers............................................................................................. 88
The Next Step in “Teaching with Style” ......................................................................... 90
Chapter 3
Developing a Conceptual Base for Our
Teaching Styles ............................................................ 91
Beyond Pedagogy............................................................................. 92
The Instructional Method Bias....................................................................................... 93
The Need for a Conceptual Base.................................................................................. 95

Teaching With Style
v i i
Chapter 4
Consciously Identifying Your Conceptual Base ........................... 99
Components of a Conceptual Base ...............................................101
Personal Assumptions about Teaching and Learning .................................................. 101
Personal Definitions of Teaching and Learning ............................................................ 112
Formal Principles of Teaching and Learning: Theories of Learning............................... 116
Formal Principles of Teaching and Learning: Principles from Research
on Human Learning.................................................................................................... 123
Formal Principles of Teaching and Learning: Models of Teaching Style.................. 124
Formal Principles of Teaching and Learning: Models of Learning Style................... 126
Views of Human Nature ................................................................................................ 129
Guiding Metaphors for Teaching .................................................................................. 132
Epilogue ............................................................................................139
Themes and Variations ................................................................................................. 139
A Fly in the Ointment: Students Typically Fail to Share Our Vision ............................ 140
The Cost of Keeping Students Out of the Equation ..................................................... 142
An Integrated Model of Teaching and
Learning Style .............................................................. 149
The Need for an Integrated Model of Teaching
and Learning Style.........................................................................150
The Elements of the Integrated Model: Teaching Style................152
Like Colors on an Artist’s Palette................................................................................... 153
Constraints on the Expression of Teaching Style.......................................................... 156
Instructional Strategies Associated with Each Cluster Of Teaching Styles................... 157
The Distribution of Teaching Style in the Classroom.................................................... 157
The Elements of the Integrated Model: Learning Style...............167
The Characteristics of the Grasha-Riechmann Styles in the Classroom....................... 170
The Distribution of Learning Style in the Classroom..................................................... 174
The Elements of the Integrated Model:
Using and Modifying Our Teaching Styles....................................178
Effectively Employing Various Styles of Teaching .........................................................179

viii
Teaching With Style
Modifying Teaching Styles.................................................................................................... 184
Epilogue...................................................................................................... 193
Themes and Variations........................................................................................................ 193
Options for Engaging the Integrated Model......................................................................... 194
New Perspectives on Teacher Control, Student Capability, and Relationship Building......... 196
Satisfaction with Styles of Teaching: Teacher and Student Perspectives May Differ.............. 199
Five Fundamental Instructional Concerns......................................... 207
1.] How can I help students acquire and retain information?................................................... 208
Teaching and Learning Styles in he Management of
2.] What can I do to enhance the ability of students to concentrate during class?.............. 212
3.] How can I encourage students to think critically? .............................................................. 216
4.] What will help me to motivate my students? ................................................................... 222
5.] How can I help my students to become self-directed learners?........................................ 225
Epilogue................................................................................................. 229
Themes and Variations......................................................................................................... 229
OSCAR and the Five Instructional Concerns........................................................................ 230
Managing the Expert, Formal Authority,
Personal Model Styles
Instructional Processes and the Integrated Model............................. 233
The Teaching Methods of Cluster 1..................................................... 235
Exams/Grades..................................................................................................................... 235
Assigning Grades.................................................................................................................. 239
Guest Speakers/Guest Interviews........................................................................................ 245
Lectures............................................................................................................................... 247
Chapter 5
Teaching and Learning Styles in the Management
of Five Basic Instructional Concerns ............................ 207
Chapter 6
Managing the Expert, Formal Authority,
Personal Model Styles .................................................... 233

Teaching With Style
i x
Developing Consultant, Resource Person,
Mini-Lectures + Trigger Stimuli............................................................................................. 250
Teacher -Centered Questioning............................................................................................ 250
Teacher -Centered Class Discussions.................................................................................. 254
Term Papers......................................................................................................................... 254
Tutorials................................................................................................................................ 256
Technology- Based Presentations........................................................................................ 258
Active Listening, and Group Process Skills .................. 267
The Teaching Methods of Cluster 2.................................................... 260
Role Modeling:
Modeling through Illustration ............................................................................................... 260
Modeling by Direct Example .................................................................................................. 261
Coaching/Guiding Students .................................................................................................. 263
Epilogue................................................................................................. 265
Themes and Variations ........................................................................................................... 265
Chapter 7
Important Skills for Teaching in Clusters 3 and 4................................. 267
Consultant.................................................................................................................................. 268
Resource Person................................................................................................................. 269
Active Listening.................................................................................................................... 270
Group Process Skills............................................................................................................... 273
Epilogue.................................................................................................. 284
Themes and Variations............................................................................................................ 284
Chapter 8

x
Teaching With Style
Teaching in Clusters 3 and 4................................................................. 285
The Teaching Methods of Cluster 3...................................................... 285
Case Studies....................................................................................................................... 285
Cognitive Map Discussion................................................................................................... 288
Critical Thinking Discussion................................................................................................ 291
Fishbowl Discussion............................................................................................................. 297
Guided Readings................................................................................................................. 297
Key Statement Discussions................................................................................................. 299
Kineposium.......................................................................................................................... 300
Laboratory Projects............................................................................................................. 301
Problem Based Learning..................................................................................................... 303
Role-Plays/Simulations........................................................................................................ 308
Student Teacher of the Day................................................................................................. 312
The Teaching Methods of Cluster 4...................................................... 314
Contract Teaching ................................................................................................................ 314
Class Symposium................................................................................................................. 319
Debate Formats.................................................................................................................... 319
Helping Trios........................................................................................................................ 323
Independent Study/Research Projects.................................................................................. 324
Jigsaw Groups...................................................................................................................... 326
Laundry List Discussions...................................................................................................... 327
Learning Pairs....................................................................................................................... 327
Modular Instruction............................................................................................................... 330
Panel Discussion.................................................................................................................. 331
Position Papers......................................................................................................................... 334
Practicum............................................................................................................................. 335
Round Robin Interviews........................................................................................................ 337
Self-Discovery Activities....................................................................................................... 338
Small Group Work Teams..................................................................................................... 340
Student Journals................................................................................................................... 343
Chapter 8
Managing the Facilitator and Delegator Styles
of Teaching ...............................................................................
285

Teaching With Style
x i
Epilogue................................................................................................. 346
Themes and Variations......................................................................................................... 346
Helping Students to Understand the Teaching Processes Employed.................................... 348
Creating Dynamic Instructional Scripts ............................................................................... 351
Using the Instructional Hub Model....................................................................................... 353
Concluding Comments......................................................................................................... 354
References ................................................................................. 355
Subject/Author Index ................................................................ 367

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Teaching With Style

 
Identifying The Elements of Style
1
1.
In the main, a person’s values, beliefs, and philosophy can easily
be ascertained by the way he or she teaches. The instructional
strategies and techniques that are adopted by a teacher bespeak
his attitudes about himself, his students, and their respective roles
in the teaching-learning process.
-Mary Lynn Crow
While many people have argued that style is important in teaching, identifying the
elements of our styles as teachers has proved to be difficult. One reason is that
traditionally the concept of style has been viewed in a perjorative manner. “It has
been confused with affectation, denigrated as a kind of posturing to mask a lack of
substance, or tolerated as a natural manifestation of personal eccentricities” [Eble,
1980, p. 1]. Thus, to define style, to understand it, to develop it, and to use it
effectively entails moving beyond the negative sense in which it is sometimes
perceived. Style in teaching as in art, music, athletics, managing people, and other
areas of endeavor is not something that is put on for the occasion. Otherwise it
becomes a superficial covering, mask, or a collection of interesting mannerisms that
are used to create an impression. Style, Eble argued, was “what one is” [p. 95]. Our
teaching style represents those enduring personal qualities and behaviors that appear
in how we conduct our classes. Thus, it is both something that defines us, that guides
and directs our instructional processes, and that has effects on students and their
ability to learn.
While the latter observations may help to illuminate the general nature of our styles
as teachers, it is deficient.
If style is what a teacher is, then there are potentially as
many different styles as there are teachers.
Style then becomes everything a person
does and at the same time nothing that can be studied in a systematic manner. To
resolve this dilemma, it would be useful to know just what personal qualities and
behaviors are shared by all faculty members. This would allow us to categorize
specific types of teaching styles and to show how people vary on these common
qualities. Such information also would allow us to examine how particular
characteristics affect students and their subsequent ability to learn.
Understanding our teaching styles would be enhanced if we had a list of the elements
of style that we use as a basis for examining ourselves. There is, however, no clear
consensus about the common components of style. It largely depends upon whom
you ask-- or at least whom you read. Several approaches to understanding our styles
as teachers appear in the literature. Various authors emphasize different aspects of
how people teach and thus there is little agreement about the elements of style.
Instead, various aspects of our thoughts and behaviors are highlighted by those
attempting to describe teaching style. Table 1-1 outlines several contemporary
approaches to identifying the elements of style.
Identifying the Elements
of Teaching Style
Teaching With Style

2
Teaching With Style
Table 1-1
Approaches to Identifying the Elements of Style
General Modes of Classroom Behavior
Webster’s dictionary defines style as “a manner or mode of acting or performing,
a distinctive or characteristic manner, or a manner or tone assumed in
discourse.” The idea that style represents those personal dispositions people
publicly display also is evident in the education literature.
Characteristics Associated with a Popular Instructor
Typically such individuals have characteristics that colleagues and students
judge to be unique and interesting.
The Teaching Methods Employed
The preferred instructional practices of teachers describes their style. Thus, a
person might be labeled a “lecturer,” “discussion leader,” or perhaps a “Socratic
teacher.” Here, style becomes synonymous with the methods employed in the
classroom.
Behaviors Common to All College Faculty
These are identified largely through research on the characteristics associated
with “effective teaching.” Included here are such things as how teachers organize
information, the clarity of presentations, enthusiasm, and their ability to
develop rapport with students. Variations among faculty in such behaviors
become markers for identifying differences in teaching style.
The Roles Teachers Play
Roles are consistent patterns of behaviors that guide and direct our thoughts
and behaviors in specific situations. The processes associated with teaching
demand that faculty play a number of roles. They may assume the role of a
consultant, resource person, personal model, prescriptive advisor, or other
roles. When teachers are flexible, they are able to assume various roles to
meet the demands of particular situations.
Personality Traits
Characteristics found in a formal theory of personality are used to describe the
styles of college teachers. Or, the outcomes of observations and/or interviews
cluster faculty members into groups with similar characteristics. Such
dispositions help us to understand the differences that exist among instructors.
Archetypal Forms
Basic yet pervasive forms or models of teaching are identified. To varying
degrees, all teachers are assumed to be representations or copies of these basic
forms [e.g., Teacher-centered; Student-centered]. Variations on the archetypes
occur as instructors interpret each form somewhat differently. However, they
are still a pervasive theme in how someone approaches the task of teaching.
Metaphors for Teaching
Analogies, similes, allegories, and other forms of figurative language are
employed to describe the behaviors of teachers [e.g., Midwife, Yoda, Coach,
Matador, Gardener]. Such metaphors reflect our beliefs, attitudes, and values
and thus constitute a personal model of the teaching- learning process that we
use to guide and direct our actions.

Identifying The Elements of Style
3
Defining Style
Defining the concept of teaching style is not unlike the problem in the story of three
blind individuals who were examining an elephant. Each person held different parts
in his or her hands and consequently they obtain divergent descriptions of the elephant.
The person holding the trunk compared it to a python, the individual holding the tail
thought it was like a skinny cat, while the person holding the leg compared it to a
tree.
A similar process occurs when we try to understand our styles as teachers. The style
we display at any given moment in time contains the elements of several of the
perspectives shown in Table 1-1. It is a multidimensional construct and the remainder
of this section examines those dimensions in more detail. The presentation will explore
the unique characteristics of each of the approaches, their implications for the practice
of teaching and their effects on faculty and students. This information is designed to
help you to gain a better understanding of the concept of teaching style and how
various conceptions of style describe you as a teacher.
General Patterns of Classroom Behavior
A dictionary definition of teaching style identifies it as a manner or mode of
acting or performing. Clearly there are a variety of “modes of performing”
associated with our styles as teachers. This focus on the actions teachers
employ is used by many authors either in whole or in part in discussing the
elements of style.
For example:
• ... a complex array of mental, spiritual and physical acts affecting
others.” [Eble, 1976. p. 8]
• ... choosing, preparing, speaking, listening, responding, testing,
grading—the details of one’s craft. [Granrose, 1980, p. 24]
• ... outstanding teachers are enablers... They are student-centered,
engaging their students close-up, ... they are facilitating,
encouraging, maiutic. [Macorie, 1984, p. 177]
• ...teaching is a performing art. Excellent teachers use their voices,
gestures, and movements to elicit and maintain attention and to
stimulate student’s emotions. Like other performers, teachers
must convey a strong sense of presence, of highly focused
energy.” [Lowman, 1984, pp. 13-14]
• Teaching calls for the trained eye to see what is actually
happening, and the trained mind to decide what to do next.”
[Davis, 1993, p. 8]
• ....the openness we have to questions and opposing points of
view, our willingness to risk change in ourselves... [McKeachie,
1994, p. 383]

4
Teaching With Style
The views expressed by these authors suggest that our modes of behavior as
teachers include such elements as; “mental, spiritual, and physical acts”;
“speaking, listening, responding”; “voice, gesture, movements”; “facilitating,
encouraging;” using a “trained eye to see what is actually happening”; and
“the openness we have to questions.” This list is incomplete but it does
indicate the diversity of the qualities associated with modes of performing.
Various components of our modes of behavior often cluster into general
patterns. In a study of the teacher behaviors mentioned in 500 nomination
letters for teaching awards at the University of North Carolina, Joseph
Lowman [1994; 1995] found that the descriptions used fit into two categories:
intellectual excitement and interpersonal rapport. Trained judges summarized
the themes in the written descriptions into one word descriptors and those
associated with each category in Lowman’s study are shown in Table 1-2.
Enthusiastic
Exciting
Knowledgeable
Engaging
Inspiring
Prepared
Humorous
Energetic
Interesting
Fun
Clear
Stimulating
Organized
Eloquent
Creative
Communicative
Interpersonal Concern
Effective Motivation
Concerned
Helpful
Caring
Encouraging
Available
Challenging
Friendly
Fair
Accessible
Demanding
Approachable
Patient
Interested
Motivating
Respectful
Understanding
Personable
Intellectual Excitement
Interpersonal Rapport
* Based on information in Lowman [1994]
Table 1-2
A Classification of Descriptors
of Classroom Behavior

Identifying The Elements of Style
5
In a follow-up study, Lowman had students select the descriptors associated
with the behaviors of a more diverse set of instructors. He discovered that
students applied more of the descriptors in Table 1-2 to describe teachers
they considered “very good” from those they thought were “average” or
“very poor.” The average number of descriptors used by students in their
evaluations of faculty was: Very poor; 3.3; Average; 11.1; Very Good; 21.5.
The dimensions of intellectual excitement and interpersonal rapport occur
to varying degrees in the teaching styles of anyone who teaches at the college
level. The general characteristics of faculty who are judged to be low,
moderate, and high on each of the two dimensions are listed below:
Intellectual Excitement
• Low: Vague and dull
• Moderate: Reasonably clear and interesting
• High: Extremely clear and exciting
Interpersonal Rapport
• Low: Cold, distant, highly controlling, unpredictable
• Moderate: Relatively warm, approachable, and democratic
• High: Warm, open, predictable, and highly student-centered
The degree to which teachers are able to exhibit intellectual excitement and
interpersonal rapport has implications for the teaching conditions where they
are likely to be most effective [Lowman, 1995]. Teachers who are strong on
both dimensions are generally excellent for any group of students and teaching
situation. Those who are deficient on both dimensions tend to be ineffective
and unable to present material or to motivate students. Those teachers with
moderate levels of interpersonal rapport and who exhibit a high degree of
intellectual excitement are generally skilled at teaching large introductory
classes. To teach smaller, more advanced courses, Lowman argues that
teachers need at least moderate levels of intellectual excitement and must
be strong in the area of interpersonal rapport.
Characteristics Associated with a Popular Instructor
Every campus has several professors whose styles as instructors earn them
respect, admiration, and popularity. It is also true that there are people whose
styles have just the opposite effects on students and colleagues. The concern
here is with the former and not the latter teachers. The qualities that endear
respected teachers differ, but one thing is clear:
Whatever they do, they do it
well and they do it better than other teachers.
A number of instructors fit this
mold and are described in the literature. Consider the synopsis below of two
individuals who were both respected and popular on their campuses and the
qualities that made them so.

6
Teaching With Style
Giovanni Costigan.
This great teacher’s self-awareness probably
exceeds most of ours. He watches himself, with ‘other eyes,’
from sundry vantages in the classroom as he lectures, and he
adjusts his delivery as he deems necessary, readily and fluidly
. . . His greatness never departed completely from a species of
highbrow entertainment: not entertainment in the usual sense,
but, rather, impassioned engagement with ideas that stirs an
audience . . . , he looks at students often, continually beckoning
their tacit participation and inviting their judgments...,his
teaching modeled a commitment to interdisciplinary reach as
well as disciplinary depth.” [Weltzien, 1994, p 126.]
Margaret.
Her relationships with students were both personal
and professional, and much of the satisfaction that she gained
from teaching came from the personal connections . . . By
offering structured assignments and specific suggestions for
revision, Margaret sought to instill in her students discipline,
listening skills, and, ultimately, independence. Another goal
was to give her students a positive experience, because she
believed positive experiences such as becoming acquainted
with students, knowing the instructor cared about you—
motivated students to stay in school.” [Dahlin, 1994, pp. 58.59].
Such qualities are not always easy for others to duplicate. They are integrated
into the personal makeup of the individuals involved and thus are difficult to
copy. Yet elements of what they do are often instructive and informative.
Such models tell us something about the teaching styles of good teachers.
Also, it is possible to select aspects of their qualities that we might admire
for our own use. Most of us, for example, could read the descriptions above
and incorporate an interdisciplinary perspective into at least one topic in a
course. We also could provide more structure for students and work to build
more effective interpersonal relationships with students. Doing such things
would not magically transform us into a Giovanni Costigan or a Margaret.
Such actions only would add something to the qualities we already possess.
Teaching Methods and Teaching Style
Sometimes people become associated with a particular teaching method.
Thus, all of us know colleagues whom we would describe as a
dynamic
lecturer
,
charismatic discussion leader
, quiet but effective
Socratic teacher
,
or who are known for their effective use of
case studies
,
role plays
and
simulations
,
peer assisted instruction, film and video
,
computers
, and many
other methods. In such cases, the particular method becomes synonymous
with their style as a teacher.
This approach to style type casts a faculty member. And, like an actor or
actress who is type cast, it is sometimes difficult to break out of this mold.
One reason is that colleagues, students, and administrators are apt to comment
on their perceived prowess with particular methods. While a compliment

Identifying The Elements of Style
7
such as “I hear you are an excellent lecturer” is usually appreciated, it
sometimes has, in my experience, two unintended after effects.
One is that
such comments help to bond the teaching methods to a person’s self-image
as a instructor. As a result, they may become unwilling to explore alternate
styles of teaching.
A participant in one of my workshops captured the latter
point nicely when she said, “Everyone seems to think I’m already pretty
good at what I do. I’m not sure what I could do to teach in other ways so I’ll
just continue doing what everyone appreciates about my teaching style.”
The second unintended consequence is that a method driven teaching style
may become a master key that is applied regardless of course content, number
of students, and the physical environment.
This is sometimes seen in people
who enjoy reputations as
dynamic lecturers.
The lecture quickly becomes
the method of choice regardless of the type of course and the number and
maturity levels of the students involved. I have witnessed “dynamic lecturers”
exclusively using a presentation mode in small seminars of 4-6 students,
with advanced doctoral students, and in other courses where extensive student
input and discussion would have appeared to be necessary components of
the class. By the same token, I also have observed those with excellent
reputations as teacher-centered discussion leaders [e.g., teacher leads
discussion with entire class] in courses of 20-40 students unsuccessfully try
this technique in groups of 400-500 students in auditoriums. They are to be
applauded for trying to generate participation in large groups but there are
other discussion processes that have been shown to be more effective.
Unfortunately, when one becomes locked into a particular instructional
process it is difficult to change.
When using instructional methods to define teaching style, Charles Bonwell
and James Eison [1991] suggest that methods can be classified according to
the amount of risk they entail and how much they facilitate active learning.
Risk involves such things as the potential for particular methods to fail,
generate controversy, take up too much class time, become unpopular with
students and colleagues, or to not accomplish the goals for which they were
designed.
Bonwell and Eison argue that low risk strategies are relatively
short, well structured and concrete, and very familiar to both students and
faculty. Those that are high risk have just the opposite characteristics.
Examples of each type suggested by Bonwell and Eison as well as those generated
by participants in a recent workshop I conducted are listed in Table 1-3.
Mary Lynn Crow’s earlier point suggested that our methods tell us something
about our personal qualities as well as the qualities of the teaching-learning
process. Thus, the methods described in Table 1-3 effectively define the degree
to which our teaching styles reflect risk as well as our attitudes and values
regarding active learning. As a group, college faculty are not noted for their
willingness to engage in instructional strategies that involve risk taking. It
would appear, however, that movement in the direction of embracing active
learning strategies is a better bet. And, progress in that area is slowly
developing [Bonwell & Eison, 1991; Davis, 1993].

8
Teaching With Style
High Active Learning-High Risk
High Active Learning-Low Risk
Role playing
Structured group activity
Skits that illustrate content points
Pairs of students discuss ideas
designed by students
Demonstrations
Simulations
Self-assessment activity
Presentations by students to the
Brainstorming activities
entire class
Student debates on issues
Free form class session
that are prepared in
Partners teach each other
advance
Presentations by students in
In-class writing assignments
small groups
Prepare case outside of class
Guided imagery exercise
and discuss ideas in class
Unstructured small-group
Lecture with small-group
discussion
discussions
Students interview guest speaker
Structured small group
Students design and run session
discussion
Students interview each other
Students list new ideas they
on content for an entire class
learned in coverage of topic
Case discussion with large group
Field trips
after students prepare case
outside of class
Low Active Learning-High Risk
Low Active Learning-Low Risk
Invite guest lecturer of unknown
Show a film or video for
quality
class period
Have students ask questions
Lecture for the entire class
at the beginning of class
period
to use to organize a lecture
Use a computer slide show to
for the session
present a topic
Show a film or video that you
Read Important passages
have not previewed
from the text to class
Give a lecture to summarize
important points covered
during the term
Table 1-3
Active Learning and Risk Associated
with Teaching Methods
* Based in part on information in Bonwell & Eison [1991]

Identifying The Elements of Style
9
Behaviors Common to All College Faculty
This approach to style assumes that similarities exist in the behaviors of
faculty within and across disciplines. The proficiency with which teachers
use such behaviors defines their teaching style. Assessment forms typically
are developed to allow students and others to evaluate faculty performance
in order to give teachers feedback and to allow comparisons among faculty
to be made. In the research literature, the items used to identify and evaluate
the elements of teaching style fall into several categories. Those that appear
most frequently across a number of studies are described in Table 1-4. [cf.,
Grasha, 1977; Seldin, 1984; and McKeachie, et. al., 1994].
There are several advantages as well as disadvantages to this approach to
identifying the elements of style. On the positive side:
Everyone in a department or college is measured against the same
yardstick.
This makes it possible to detect the degree to which
everyone is
organized, enthusiastic,
or has good
teacher-student
rapport
. It also allows everyone to see the extent to which
dimensions of their style differ from the norms of their department
and college.
The use of numerical data allows statistical techniques such as
factor analysis to be used to identify the behaviors that determine
a style of teaching.
Thus, the information obtained is not thought to
be based upon personal whim or bias. The outcomes of this
quantitative research has consistently produced clusters like those
shown in Table 1-4. Those categories are robust enough to be applied
across a diverse set of institutions, disciplines, and student populations.
One can be confident in the reliability of the information obtained.
Student ratings of faculty are typically consistent over time. This is
true of measurements taken within 7-10 day periods and with
comparisons of alumni ratings to judgments they made about the
same instructors as students.
The ratings of teaching style allow one to discriminate between
teachers that students perceive as relatively good to those they
consider relatively poor.
Such judgments are not idiosyncratic to
students and are shared by others. For example, colleague and
alumni ratings of the same teachers generally agree with students.
The qualities of teaching style assessed by student ratings of faculty
performance are related to important student outcomes.
Such ratings
of teaching style predict the degree to which students report they
are satisfied with a class and the likelihood of their meeting course
objectives and wanting to take additional courses in the same area
of study.

10
Teaching With Style
Table 1-4
Categories of Teaching Style
Analytic/Synthetic Approach
Ability to present and discuss theoretical issues and new developments
area from several points of view
For Example:
Discusses points of view other than his/her own.
Contrasts implications of various theories.
Organization/Clarity
Has clear course objectives and organizes the information for students to learn
For Example:
Explains material clearly and is well prepared.
Teacher-Group Interaction
Extent to which discussions and a mutual sharing of ideas on issues occurs
For Example:
Encourages class discussions and invites criticism of own ideas.
Teacher-Individual Student Interaction
The instructor is approachable, interested in students, and respects them
For Example:
Relates to students as individuals and is accessible outside of class.
Dynamism/Enthusiasm
Degree to which the instructor is energetic, stimulating, and enjoys teaching
For Example:
Is able to demonstrate that he/she enjoys teaching the content.
General Teaching Ability
Abilities that form a consistent pattern across different instructional styles
For Example:
Able to stimulate intellectual curiosity of students.
Presents material in an interesting manner.
Overload
Difficulty of course requirements and the amount of assigned course work
For Example:
Assigned very difficult readings.
Structure
Ability of teacher to plan the details of class sessions and to organize a course
For Example:
Has everything organized according to a schedule.
Quality
Concern teacher has for the quality of student work and their performance
For Example:
Tells student when they have done a good job.
Student-Teacher Rapport
The nature and quality of teacher-student interaction within the classroom
For Example:
Listens attentively to what class members have to say.

Identifying The Elements of Style
1 1
On the negative side, students’ ratings of instruction have generated controversy
almost everywhere they have been used for several reasons:
Ratings of teaching style have been employed to do more than give
faculty feedback on their performance.
The evaluations by students
have played a role in decisions made about promotion,
reappointment, and tenure. Legitimate concerns about the use of
the ratings of teaching style for making such important decisions
have been raised.
The information obtained has not been perceived as helping faculty
to enhance their teaching styles.
Specific steps faculty could take
to improve a particular element of their style [e.g., organization /
clarity; student-teacher rapport; enthusiasm] and financial and other
resources to do so often are not available. To counter this criticism,
no item representing an element of teaching style should appear on
such forms unless there are clear suggestions about how someone
deficient on that item could improve and resources available to
allow this to happen. Otherwise, the ratings of style are perceived
as identifying defects without giving individuals the opportunity
to improve.
Some individuals believe that teaching style cannot be quantified.
A member of a committee I consulted with on faculty evaluation
recently remarked, “Teaching is an artform with qualities that
numbers can never capture.” Another member of this committee
asked, “Where is there room for students to assess the truly unique
things that happen in class if everyone is assessed on the same
yardstick?”
Students are not perceived as knowledgeable enough to make such
judgments.
College faculty members live in a hierarchical system
where they are clearly in charge. Many perceive themselves as well
trained and knowledgeable professionals and their students as less
so. As one person I worked with on this issues said, “They just
don’t have the insight and experience to tell me whether or not I’m
doing a good job.”
Some critics have argued that students will try to “get even” with
their teachers through the ratings.
“It’s about the only way they
have to get back at us,” another member of a teacher evaluation
committee remarked. Or, as others have said to me, “It’s nothing
more than a popularity contest.” In discussions with faculty in
workshops, some have singled out the weak -to- moderate
relationship between student ratings and grades in a course as
evidence for such ratings being invalid. One person said, “If the
ratings of our styles as teachers aren’t strongly related to the grades
students receive, then what’s the point of using them?”

12
Teaching With Style
The latter issue ignores the fact that several factors are important for academic
success. The research shows that student motivation to achieve, general academic
ability, time management skills, and study habits are often better predictors of
academic performance than the classroom behaviors of teachers [Kirschenbaum,
1982; Hoff-Macan, 1990; Britten & Tesser, 1991]. This does not mean that what
we do in class is unimportant. Rather it simply means that
aspects of our styles
as teachers in traditional classroom settings are only one part of a very
complicated prediction equation that accounts for student achievement in
academic settings.
In my experience, sometimes teachers want to take more
credit for their students’ successes than is warranted.
Perhaps the most neutral interpretation of student ratings of teaching style is that
they depict
consumer satisfaction
. The information provides an indication of
those teacher behaviors liked and disliked by students. This latter point is not a
trivial one nor should it be taken lightly.
Student satisfaction is one indicator of
the emotional climate in a classroom.
That is, the degree to which students feel
the environment is pleasant and that they are nurtured by their instructors and
peers. In a variety of academic, training, and laboratory settings, positive emotional
climates have been associated with: higher degrees of learning; individual’s
motivation to succeed; the willingness of students to seek out advice and help
from faculty members; and the capacity of students to take a problem- focused
approach to dealing with course related problems versus avoiding or denying
them [Ashcraft, 1994; Ellis & Hunt, 1993; Grasha, 1996; McKeachie, et. al.,
1994]. Use student ratings to identify your style in Self-Reflection Activity 1-1.
The Relationship of Ratings of Style to
Emotional Climate and Student Self-Image
Specific elements of our teaching styles described in Table 1-4 affect not
only the emotional climate in the classroom but the self-image of students.
Information on this latter point occurs in studies using the
Grasha-Ichiyama
Psychological Size and Distance Scale
[ Grasha & Ichyiama, 1990; Salzmann
& Grasha, 1991]. This instrument employs circle drawings as a metaphor to
represent our thoughts and feelings about relationships with others.
Participants in these studies are told to use the size of the circles they draw
for themselves and the other person, the distance between them, and where
they place them on a 8
1/2
x 11 sheet of paper to represent their thoughts and
feelings about the relationship. Once the drawings are completed, participants
respond to a 22-item
Status-Affect Rating Scale
that allows them to determine
the specific aspects of the relationship responsible for their drawings.
Examples of dimensions covered on the rating scale include how much
knowledge and expertise one had relative to the other person and the degree
to which someone was impatient, assertive, affectionate, and friendly.
Psychological size
represents how much interpersonal status relative to
another person someone possess while
psychological distance
represents
the amount of positive and negative affect someone believes is present in a
relationship. The size of the circle drawings represents psychological size,
while the separation between the two circles represents psychological
distance. The larger people draw themselves, the more status, knowledge,

Identifying The Elements of Style
1 3
Self-Reflection Activity 1-1
Using A Rating Scale to Evaluate Your Style
_____ 01. Discusses points of view other than his/her own.
_____ 02. Contrasts implications of various theories.
_____ 03. Discusses recent developments in the field.
_____ 04. Explains material clearly.
_____ 05. Is well-prepared.
_____ 06. States objectives clearly.
_____ 07. Encourages class discussions.
_____ 08. Invites criticism of his/her own ideas.
_____ 09. Knows if the class is understanding him/her or not.
_____ 10. Has genuine interest in students.
_____ 11. Respects students as persons.
_____ 12. Is accessible to students out of class.
_____ 13. Behaves in a dynamic and energetic manner.
_____ 14. Ability to demonstrate that he/she enjoys teaching.
_____ 15. Displays self-confidence when teaching.
_____ 16. Presents material in an interesting way.
_____ 17. Ability to stimulate intellectual curiosity in students.
_____ 18. Is skillful in observing student reactions.
_____ 19. Assignments were very difficult.
_____ 20. Requires more than students could get done.
_____ 21. Assigns a considerable amount of reading.
_____ 22. Follows an outline closely.
_____ 23. Has everything organized according to a schedule.
_____ 24. Plans the activities of each class period in detail.
_____ 25. Tells student when he/she has done a good job.
_____ 26. Compliments students in front of others.
_____ 27. Gives positive feedback.
_____ 28. Listens attentively to what class members have to say.
_____ 29. Is permissive and flexible when dealing with students.
_____ 30. Explains the reasons for criticism.
_____ 31. Overall, rate the quality of the teaching/learning process
used in this class.
Part I
The faculty rating scale shown below will allow you to obtain a traditional
perspective on your teaching style. Rate yourself from the perspective of how
you believe the average student in your class would see you. Use the information
in Part II of this activity on the next page to help you analyze the results.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
|_____|_____|____|_____|____|_____|
Very Poor
Satisfactory
Excellent

14
Teaching With Style
1.] Sum your scores for each of the teaching style categories described earlier
in Table 1-4 and place your total score in the space provided below. The
categories of style and items associated with them are:
Teacher Student
Total
Total
Analytic/Synthetic Approach
Items 1-3
[_____] [_____]
Organization/Clarity
Items 4-6
[_____] [_____]
Teacher/Group Interaction
Items 7-9
[_____] [_____]
Teacher/Individual Student
Interaction
Items 10-12
[_____] [_____]
Dynamism/Enthusiasm
Items 13-15
[_____] [_____]
General Teaching Ability
Items 16-18
[_____] [_____]
Overload
Items 19-21
[_____] [_____]
Structure
Items 22-24
[_____] [_____]
Quality of Work
Items 25-27
[_____] [_____]
Student-Teacher Rapport
Items 28-30
[_____] [_____]
Overall Teaching Ability
Item 31
[_____] [_____]
2.] To determine whether the total scores you obtained for each group of items
are relatively high, moderate, or low, use the following guidelines.
Low Score: [ 3-9 ] Moderate Score [10-14 ] High [15+ ]
3.] Examine your total scores for each category and look at how you responded
to individual items. What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses? In
what areas do you need to improve?
4.] Obtain the average total score for your students on each of the clusters of
items shown above. Place your total in the space provided. I often ask 3-4
students in class to help me obtain the scores or I ask the students to
calculate them before turning the forms in. I always report back to the class a
summary of what I have obtained and what I think I need to do differently
in the future. I also ask them to share their perceptions of my analysis.
5.] Have people select 2-3 items they gave high ratings [6 or 7] and low ratings
[1 or 2] and share the reasons why. This will provide additional insights
into the reasons for the ratings.
6.] If you have time, check your individual item scores against the responses
of your students. You can do this informally by comparing your scores to
those of selected students or you might want to compute the average score
for each item in the class.
Self-Reflection Activity 1-1 [Continued ]
Part II

Identifying The Elements of Style
1 5
Other research shows that specific elements of our styles as teachers influence
psychological size and distance. In a recent study [Grasha & Gardener, 1991;
also reported in Grasha, 1996], college students rated the teaching styles of
a faculty member and completed the
Grasha-Ichiyama Psychological Size
and Distance Scale
to evaluate that relationship. Faculty members were
randomly selected from a list of the names of teachers students were currently
taking a course from that term. Multiple regression analysis was used to
examine how well the student ratings of faculty behaviors predicted variations
and expertise they report possessing relative to someone else. The larger the
distance between the two circles, the more they perceive the emotional climate
of the relationship as tension- arousing and negative. As this distance becomes
closer, the emotional climate is perceived as much more positive.
Figure 1-1 reports the results of one of our studies comparing first- year
students and senior social science and math/engineering majors [Grasha,
Ichiyama & Kelley, 1986]. Evidently, both the emotional climate and students’
self-images vary between first- year and senior students, and such changes
depend in part upon a student’s academic major. Social science majors showed
the least amount of change on both dimensions while math/engineering majors
displayed the largest variations in psychological size and distance.
Figure 1-1:
Psychological size and distance in faculty-student relationships. [Drawn to
1/4 scale] Social science freshmen and seniors’ perceptions of their relationship with
faculty were similar. The distance was viewed as friendly and the status-affect rating
scale information also showed that both groups held similar perceptions of their knowledge
and expertise. Math/Engineering majors viewed their relationship with faculty as much
less friendly as freshmen and their psychological size was smaller. As seniors, Math/
Engineering majors rated their own knowledge and expertise higher than freshmen, they
were not as much in awe of their faculty, and the psychological distance or emotional
climate was friendlier. [Grasha, Ichiyama, & Kelley, 1986]

16
Teaching With Style
Table 1-5
Teaching Style and Student Perceptions of
Psychological Size and Distance
Elements of Style that Increase Psychological Size
Instructor-Group
Instructor Individual Student
Interaction
Interaction
Elements of Style that Decrease Psychological Size
Structure
Elements of Style that Decrease Psychological Distance
Instructor-Individual Student
Interaction
in psychological size and distance [measured in millimeters]. The results of
this analysis showed that several behaviors in the teaching styles of faculty
were associated with changes in psychological size [amount of status,
knowledge, & expertise students believed they possessed] and distance [how
much positive and negative affect was present in the relationship ]. A summary
of the results of this study is presented in Table 1-5
The elements of teaching style listed below were associated with
increases and decreases in the psychological size of college students
and the distance they drew in the relationships they had with faculty.
General Teaching Ability
Dynamism/Enthusiasm
Followed an outline closely
Proceeded according to schedule
Planned activity of each class in detail.
Encourages discussion
Shows interest inn students
Invites students to share ideas
Relates to students as
Pays attention to whether class
individuals
is understanding material
Respects students
Makes material interesting
Behaves in an energetic way
Stimulates intellectual curiosity
Enjoys teaching
Skillful in observing interactions
Displays self-confidence
Shows genuine interest in students
Relates to students as individuals
Respects students

Identifying The Elements of Style
1 7
The Roles Teachers Play
Roles are the consistent patterns of thoughts and behaviors we adopt in
situations such as the classroom. Roles can be viewed broadly such as when
we use the terms teacher, student, father, mother, minister, banker, or police
officer. Or, a more general role under close examination often consists of
multiple roles occurring together to produce consistent themes in our lives.
Thus, the general role of teacher serves as an umbrella term for a network of
roles that include such behaviors as advisor, lecturer, evaluator, discussion
leader, resource person, and others needed in academic settings.
The thoughts and actions associated with our roles follow certain guidelines
that were learned through our past experiences, the expectations others have
for our behaviors, and the direct instructions we receive about how to behave.
[Grasha, 1987a]. The guidelines for the general role of a student, for example,
includes: attending class, taking notes, asking questions, discussing course
content inside and outside of class, studying and preparing for exams, and
following the requirements and rules of particular courses, majors, and
academic institutions. The guidelines for the general role of an instructor
includes: selecting the content to teach, designing ways to deliver that content,
leading discussions, evaluating the progress of students, and meeting with
students to answer questions and to provide guidance in obtaining course
requirements.
The Interpretation and Execution
of Role Guidelines Vary
The unique ways we interpret and execute role guidelines define our styles
as teachers.
Two people may try to follow the general guideline that “teachers
present information in the classroom.” This guideline is clear, but variations
exist in how it is executed. One person decides to give a lecture while the
other has students present important ideas in a small group format. Afterwards,
the groups develop questions about the content that remain and additional
points they would like to have clarified. The instructor then uses the remaining
class time to respond to student queries. Or, perhaps two instructors decide
to lecture. One does so in a dry but well-organized fashion while the other is
highly animated but not as well organized. In each case, the guidelines were
interpreted and executed differently, thus creating variations in teaching style.
Teachers Play Multiple Roles in the Classroom
Not only do people interpret role guidelines differently, but they also adopt
one or more consistent, but distinct, ways of doing so. In effect, these multiple
interpretations reflect distinct patterns of thoughts and actions that effectively
make the task of teaching one of displaying and managing multiple roles.
The particular roles we play also define our teaching style.

18
Teaching With Style
In a classic research study, Richard Mann and his colleagues [1970] identified
the multiple roles teachers play in the classroom. Using thematic analyses of
audio tapes and observations of teacher-student interactions, they identified
several different roles. Included in the analysis were the teacher as
expert
and
formal authority.
These roles highlighted the content transmitting and
the setting of structure and standards functions of college faculty. The
socializing agent role
captured our tendencies to act as guides and gatekeepers
to a field of study. When faculty did more listening and less telling and set
goals based upon student definitions of their own needs and goals— they
were viewed as
facilitators.
The
ego-ideal
role was directed toward getting
students to share in the excitement and value of the intellectual inquiry that
instructors felt about their field of study. When teachers share their life
experiences and other aspects of themselves with students, they had moved
into the
teacher as person
component of their role.
Another way to understand the multiple roles teachers play is to examine
those needed in order to use specific classroom methods. Table 1-5 describes
several roles that my colleagues Barbara Fuhrmann, Susan Montauk, and I
have observed in a variety of settings [Fuhrmann & Grasha, 1983; Grasha,
1975; Montauk and Grasha, 1993].
The manner in which the specific roles in Table 1-6 are combined also helps
to define our styles as teachers.
Typically this occurs because different
instructional methods require that teachers assume various modes of thinking
and behaving. In effect, to use them successfully, various combinations of
these roles must occur.
The demands of the teaching strategy then serve as
guidelines for what roles in Table 1-6 are needed and how they should be
executed.
For example, the role of content expert will get played out differently
in various course designs. In a lecture-discussion format, it occurs in
combination with the role of lecturer. In a class that emphasizes small group
work, the content expert role will appear through the role of the instructor as
a consultant and resource person.
The examples that follow to examine how various instructional processes
pull together different roles. Notice how combinations of those roles begin
to form different teaching styles.
• Traditional Lecture-Discussion Class
Focus:
Teacher centered with presentations and occasional
questions directed toward the class. Exams are the primary
determiners of student grades.
Primary Roles Emphasized:
Assigner; Content Expert; Lecturer;
Grader; Questioner

Identifying The Elements of Style
1 9
Table 1- 6
Roles Needed to Execute Instructional Methods
Activity Designer
Designs activities such as role plays, group projects, simulations, trigger tapes
and problems for students to solve.
Active Listener
Listens to the content and feeling of what students are saying to get beneath
the surface of issues they are raising.
Actor/Director
Uses dramatic techniques in class to illustrate points and/or to set up role plays
to help students simulate the applications or implications of important content
points in class.
Assigner
Provides students with explicit and detailed instructions on what each person
is required to do to complete course requirements, activities, and projects.
Case Designer/Organizer
Develops new cases and/or pulls together existing materials and cases for
students to analyze and discuss.
Coach
Directly observes students in various tasks while giving them advice,
encouragement, and feedback to become more effective.
Consultant
Works with students to help them explore appropriate ways to resolve a problem.
The consultant role demands that the tendency to offer direct advice be set
aside in favor of giving information and suggesting options to assist students in
making informed choices for resolving issues and concerns.
Content Expert
Possesses knowledge of essential concepts and facts and organizing it in ways
that help students to acquire the information.
Coordinator
Manages and oversees multiple student projects and course activities.
Discussion Facilitator
Uses a discussion to review important information, to discuss issues of
clarification or application of points, to stimulate creative and critical thinking
about content, or to explore the broader implications of information.
Formative Evaluator
Provides students with timely feedback on an ongoing basis about their strengths
and weakness on course assignments and activities.
* Continued on next page

20
Teaching With Style
Table 1- 6 [
Continued
]
Grader
Assigns students based to a general performance or proficiency category.
Lecturer
Gives presentations directed toward organizing and exploring critical content
points. Presentations in this format are designed for an entire class period.
Materials Designer/Organizer
Develops and gathers handouts and audio, video, and computer materials.
Mini-Lecturer
Gives short presentations to clarify a point or to help students organize and
explore an issue. Presentations occur for 5-10 minutes and are supplemented
with discussion questions or the use of other activities [e.g., cases, role plays,
small group activities].
Negotiator
Explores with students options for how course requirements, assignments, and
goals can be achieved. The goal is to find ways to meet teacher and student
needs and to resolve differences. Often used when students get behind but also
important when alternate ways to finish assignments exist.
Nondirective Facilitator
Encourages students to think for themselves, to develop their own solutions to
issues, and to take initiative and accept responsibility for their learning.
Prescriptive Advisor
Gives direct answers to meet student needs for immediate information.
Process Observer
Observes and/or categorizes the interaction patterns in class, the outcomes of
course activities, and how well course goals are achieved. Observations are
shared with students and the lessons learned are used in future classes.
Questioner
Uses questions to encourage creative and critical thinking and the further
exploration of course themes, concerns, and problems.
Resource Manager
Pulls together and effectively uses available resources to teach a course [e.g.,
outside speakers, videotapes, outside readings, special equipment]
Resource Person
Shares knowledge about how, when, and where students can obtain information
or acquire particular skills. Employed when the teacher does not have the
information or skill needed and/or when other resources would enhance the
student’s knowledge.
Role Model
Sets an appropriate example for ways to think about course content, how to
solve problems, and how to apply skills.

Identifying The Elements of Style
2 1
• Modular Instruction
Focus:
Course content broken-up into discrete units. Each
module is a package designed for self-study. It may be a
case study, a set of readings, a laboratory assignment, a set
of problems to solve, or a paper to be completed. A set of
modules may be completed in a particular sequence or
students may choose from various modules at any particular
time. Class time usually reserved for answering questions
and helping students to deal with concerns and issues raised
in the module. Suggestions for additional readings and
resources to help students effectively manage a module are
provided as needed.
Primary Roles Emphasized:
Assigner; Content Expert;
Consultant; Coordinator; Formative Evaluator; Materials
Designer; Nondirective Facilitator; Resource Person
• Small Group Designs
Focus:
Rely on active and collaborative learning
experiences. Small groups of students might be given a
series of questions, topics, or problems to resolve. Work on
tasks may occur within a given session or across multiple
sessions. Sharing of the outcomes of assignments with the
larger group typically occurs. The instructor then has an
opportunity to clarify issues, to answer questions, and to
raise additional points for discussion.
Primary Roles Emphasized:
Active Listener; Assigner;
Consultant; Content Expert; Discussion Facilitator;
Evaluator; Mini-Lecturer; Nondirective Facilitator; Process
Observer; Questioner
• Contract Teaching
Focus:
Students contract or form agreements with the
instructor about how much work they will do in a course.
The contract is often written and it has a clearly understood
set of specific responsibilities for both the student and the
teacher to fulfill. The amount of work and the types of
activities required for particular grades are clearly specified
in the contract.
Primary Roles Emphasized:
Activity Designer; Content
Expert; Coordinator; Evaluator; Materials Designer/
Organizer; Negotiator

22
Teaching With Style
• Case Studies
Focus:
Teaching occurs through case studies that students
are required to analyze and discuss in class. Typically
students prepare their reactions to cases before class. The
instructor helps them to clarify how course ideas apply to a
case and encourages students to think critically about the
issues raised. Short presentations often used to organize and
clarify important outcomes of the case analysis and/or to
stimulate new directions for the discussion to take.
Primary Roles Emphasized:
Case Designer/Organizer;
Listener; Discussion Facilitator; Nondirective Facilitator;
Mini-Lecturer; Questioner;
As the examples above illustrate, various instructional processes require that
faculty adopt different combinations of roles. From this perspective, the
interpretation of role guidelines, as well as the way various teaching related
roles are combined and emphasized, define our teaching style. The style that
evolves might be considered robust and subsequently applied to all of the
courses we teach. For other faculty members, different combinations of roles
are employed. Their methods are eclectic, and thus a diverse set of roles are
employed to achieve their goals.
Playing Multiple Teaching Roles Creates Stress
Diverse roles contributes to our personal growth. They also make our lives
much more complex and are one of the factors that contributes to tension
and stress [Grasha, 1987b; Grasha, 1989]. Role tension occurs in three ways.
We have more than one role relationship to another person or
group.
A colleague assumed the roles of consultant and resource
person to a student on career and several classroom issues when
interacting with a student. The student’s classroom performance
was poor and she eventually failed the course. “I felt awkward
continuing to be a consultant and resource person afterwards,”
she said. “Somehow trying to help her decide what courses to
take and what career decisions to make was frustrating when I
knew she wasn’t applying herself in class.”
People disagree on how a role other than their own should be
played.
Students, for example, often have expectations for how
faculty members should teach. Such expectations are not always
in line with how faculty members interpret their roles. Thus some
students enjoy and want the lecturer role. They cannot understand
why a teacher might spend so much time trying to be a discussion
facilitator, questioner, process observer, and resource person by
emphasizing small group projects and discussions.

Identifying The Elements of Style
2 3
Other people play their roles in ways that are incompatible with
our own.
As one professor noted, “My biggest frustration is with
students who refuse to play by the rules of the game.” He was
referring to students who skip class, show up late, fail to meet
deadlines, refuse to participate, and otherwise ignore the general
role guidelines for a student. This made it more difficult for him to
successfully execute his preferred roles as a formative evaluator,
consultant, and nondirective facilitator.
My observations suggest that role stress is handled in three ways.
Some
teachers redefine the role so that the conflict is eliminated.
My colleague got
someone else to advise the student.
Also, problematic relationships are
terminated or new expectations are established.
When teachers and students
disagree about how a course should be taught, it is easy to say “I’m the
teacher and we will do it my way.” Trying to blend teacher and student
expectations, however, can enhance one’s style of teaching.
Some manage
to focus on one role and not let the other conflicting role bother them and a
few just “grin and bear it.”
This is often the strategy of choice when students
play their roles in ways that interfere. To cope, most teachers handle students
who do not participate by ignoring them and focussing on those who do.
Personality Traits and Teaching Style
Personal dispositions are used to describe teaching style. One approach is the
use of personality dimensions identified by Carl Jung [1960; 1976] and the
elaborations developed in the work of Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs [Myers,
1987; Myers, 1990]. A brief description of each dimension appears in Table 1-
6.
The characteristics in this table largely reflect our attitudes and interests,
ways that we prefer to gather information and make decisions, and the extent to
which we need order and structure in our lives
. How such qualities combine in
our personality structure is used to describe our styles as teachers.
To begin to understand how these components of personality apply to you,
complete Self-Reflection Activity 1-2 before reading further. It contains an
instrument I developed to sensitize people to the personality dimensions
inherent in Jungian theory. It is based on the research literature correlating
what people think, say, and do with their scores on the Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator [MBTI]. The MBTI is a well-established and formal psychological
test for assessing Jungian concepts. To develop my psychological type index,
two expert judges helped me cluster the data from the research literature into
each of the dimension of psychological type. Comparisons of the personality
profiles from the self-reflection activity to scores on the MBTI in a sample
of 95 teachers and students revealed identical profiles on all four dimensions
an average of 75% of the time. Identical profiles occurred on three of the
dimensions an average of 85% of the time.
The test in the self-reflection activity is a “consciousness raising device” to
help us understand the personality characteristics identified in Table 1-7.
The MBTI, on the other hand, is a reliable and valid instrument that has
several decades of research data to support the dimensions it measures.

24
Teaching With Style
Table 1-7
Personality Types
Interests, Attitudes, and Sources of Energy
Extraversion
[E]
Attitudes and interests oriented towards the external world of actions,
people, objects and events.
Introversion
[I]
Inner subjective orientation towards life. Attitudes and interests are
directed towards concepts, ideas, theories, and models of reality.
Preferences for Gathering Information
Sensing
[S]
Obtaining information from sensory input associated with the
immediate, real, and practical facts of experience and everyday life.
Intuition
[N]
Gathering information by going beyond the immediate experiences of
life to consider possibilities, probabilities, and other aspects of people,
objects, relationships, and events that are not immediately available
to our senses.
How Judgments and Decisions are Made
Thinking
[T]
Becoming objective, impersonal, logical, looking for causes of events,
and the pros and cons of various approaches.
Feeling
[F]
Subjectively and personally weighing the values of choices and how
points of view and decisions affect other people.
Lifestyle Orientations
Judgment
[J]
Living in a decisive, planned, and orderly manner with strong needs
to regulate and control events.
Perception
[P]
Living in a spontaneous, flexible manner, aiming to understand life
and to adapt to the changes that occur in as efficient a manner as
possible.

Identifying The Elements of Style
2 5
Self-Reflection Activity 1-2
Identifying Your Teaching Style Through Your
Personality Type
Turn to the
Psychological Type Index
on pages 27 and 28. Place the edge of a
sheet of 8
1/2
x 11 inch paper across the two columns of items on the
Psychological
Type Index
beginning at the top of the first page [e.g., the column of E items
and I items] Lay the edge so that you can see only one pair of items at a time.
Select the member of each pair that is most like you.
[Do not try to make an
absolute judgment about how each item applies to you. ]
Select only one member
of each pair.
Scoring
Sum the number of items in each pair of blocks that you checked. To identify
your psychological type, use the letter associated with the highest number of
items checked in each dichotomy. The letters in each block of items correspond
to each of the personality dimensions described in Table 1-7; E [Extravert] - I
[Introvert]; S [Sensing] -N [Intuition]; T [Thinking] -F [Feeling]; J [Judgment]
-P [Perception]. Thus if you checked ten E items and seven I items, you would
label yourself an E. Similarly, checking nine S items and eight N items would
categorize you as an S. Use this same procedure for the other pairs. Your profile
would be the letters associated with the highest number of items checked [e.g.,
ENTP; ISFJ; ISTP; ENFJ].
Interpretation
Carl Jung believed that we are born with a preference for one member of each
dichotomy.
Naomi Quenk [1993] notes that our psychological health depends
upon our ability to develop a clear differentiation between each pair of
characteristics.
Otherwise, it would be impossible, for example, to make
consistent decisions. Trying to use logical criteria [i.e. a Thinking function]
and personal values and concerns simultaneously to decide [i.e., a Feeling
function] would likely produce conflict. Similarly, if the Sensing and Intuition
functions were not differentiated, it would be difficult to gather information.
We cannot attend to both environmental stimuli and mental processes at the
same time.
Your profile or psychological type reflects the four personality dimensions you
preferred across each dichotomy. There are 16 possible ways to they can be
ordered [e.g., INTJ; ESFP; INTP; ENTJ; etc.] The referred or dominant member
of each dichotomy is readily seen in our actions [e.g., I, N, T, J]. Such qualities
become a personal signature that identifies ourselves to other people. It is
important to remember that there is no ideal profile nor is one member of a
dichtomy better or worse than the other. People are simply different and the
dimensions in the theory help us to identify the ways they differ.
The opposite or inferior side, however, cannot be ignored [e.g., E, S, F, P]. The
inferior dimensions may occasionally “slip” into our actions but they normally
remain in the background and keep our dominant qualities from becoming too
rigid, automatic, and stereotypical. Otherwise, someone who is overly intuitive
might imagine using multimedia presentations for the first time. They may
discount or ignore the inadequate wiring, lighting, seating, and other features
of available rooms to use such equipment.

26
Teaching With Style
Self-Reflection Activity 1-2 [
Continued
]
To simplify the interpretation in order to introduce basic ideas about psychological
type, the information can be condensed in several ways [ Lawrence, 1982; Kiersey
and Bates 1984; Short and Grasha, 1995]
One is to focus on each dominant characteristic in the profile and examine how it
occurs in your personal makeup and the classroom.
To do this, develop a summary
of the themes that appear in Table 1-7 and Table 1-8 that apply to you.
For example:
ENFP; [E] Oriented to external world and gives students choices ; [N] Interested
in what things could become and encourages students to go beyond the facts; [F]
concerned with how decisions affect others and stresses individual work in class
and provides constructive feedback; [P] Spontaneous, flexible and comfortable with
open ended discussions and small group work.
Another summary of our psychological type combines two of the characteristics
that describe ourselves.
One such approach was devised by David Kiersey and
Marilyn Bates [1984] and is summarized in Table 1-9. The information in this
table is based upon their work as well as additional implications of this model in
educational settings identified by Lee Harrisberger [1988; 1990]. This scheme is
labeled “character temperament types” and relates the Jungian dimensions to
four basic temperaments-Dionysian [SP], the Epimethean [SJ], Promethean [NT],
and Apollonian [NF].
The temperament model does not simply combine characteristics across the Jungian
functions [i.e., E-I; S-N; T-F; or J-P]. “A person becomes an ENFJ, or INFP, or
whatever, because of his given temperament rather than because, for example,
extraversion somehow combined with intuition” [Kiersey & Bates, p. 28.]. In this
model, temperament becomes the core of our personality and acts as a template
around which a more detailed psychological type develops.
While grounded in Jungian theory, Kiersey and Bates also acknowledge the
contributions of Alfred Adler, Harry Stack Sullivan, Abraham Maslow, Sigmund
Freud, and others to their model.
To use the temperament shorthand, do the following:
-
If you did not complete the Psychological Type Inventory,
read the
descriptions provided for each temperament in Table 1-9 and select
the one you believe is most like you.
-
If you completed the inventory, use the profile obtained to identify
your temperament
[i.e., SP; SJ; NT; NF]. Then consult the
descriptions provided by the Kiersey-Bates model listed in Table 1-
9. They will provide the
missing pieces
not found in the S, J, N, T
,
and F descriptors of the inventory.
-
Focus on the characteristics in Table 1-9 associated with your profile
that best describe you.
Think of situations in your role as a faculty
member where they tend to frequently occur. How do they facilitate
and hinder your ability to adapt to the demands of teaching?
-
Identify the qualities associated with your profile that occur less
frequently in your role as a teacher.
Do you need to work on developing
them? What would help you to do this?
Interpretation [Continued]

Identifying The Elements of Style
2 7
Created by Tony Grasha, Ph.D.
Select the member of each pair of items that best describes you.
I _____
___ Prefer to be quiet and reflective.
___ Prefer to work alone.
___ Hold back from new experiences.
___ Less comfortable around others.
___ Ask questions before giving opinion.
___ I'm more proficient in writing.
___ Work intently on tasks.
___ Dislike interruptions.
___ Often lose track of time when working.
___ Known for the depth of my interests.
___ Guided by personal standards.
___ Have limited relationships.
___ Prefer to focus on one task at a time.
___ Try to handle problems by myself.
___ Think long and hard before acting.
___ More systematic approach to issues.
___ Energized more by thinking.
E _____
___ Prefer to be active.
___ Prefer to work with others.
___ Plunge into new experiences.
___ Relaxed and confident with people.
___ Readily offer my opinions.
___ I'm verbally proficient.
___ Short attention span on tasks.
___ Don't mind being interrupted.
___ Aware of time when working.
___ Have a large breadth of interests.
___ Guided by standards of others.
___ Have multiple relationships.
___ Tend to skip from one task to another.
___ Seek help from others with problems.
___ Act before thinking things through .
___ Use trial and error with problems.
___ Energized more by taking actions.
S _____
___ Prefer not to speculate.
___ I hate to wait to do things.
___ Seldom make factual errors.
___ Focus thoughts on the “here and now.”
___ Seldom act on my hunches.
___ Focus on the elements of a problem.
___ Tend to be realistic.
___ Like established routines.
___ Like to memorize details and facts.
___ Prefer order and structure in my life.
___ Patient with status quo.
___ Good at checking details.
___ Tend to be practical.
___ Enjoy very stimulating activities.
___ Like a steady routine work schedule.
___ Comfortable with the pace of time.
___ Seldom think about the meaning of life.
N _____
___ Enjoy speculating.
___ I don’t mind waiting.
___ Tend to make factual errors.
___ Like to project ideas into the future.
___ Frequently act on my hunches.
___ Focus on the patterns and “big picture.”
___ Tend to be imaginative.
___ Impatient with routines.
___ Prefer to learn underlying principles.
___ Prefer less order and structure.
___ Impatient with status quo.
___ Poor at checking details.
___ Tend to be idealistic .
___ Prefer quiet activities in my life.
___ Prefer variations in my work schedule.
___ Uncomfortable with the pace of time.
___ Often think about the meaning of life.
Psychological Type Index

28
Teaching With Style
Psychological Type Index
Select the member of each pair of items that best describes you.
T _____
___ Prefer to objectively analyze issues.
___ Rely on facts when deciding.
___ Use objective criteria to decide.
___ There are no exceptions to rules.
___ Prefer logical order in the world.
___ Justice more important than mercy.
___ Tend to be critical of others.
___ Have a skeptical outlook.
___ Decisions best based upon logic.
___ Do not keep diaries/scrapbooks/photos.
___ Logic tends to override my feelings.
___ Not in touch with feelings of others.
___ Brief and business like with others.
___ Offended by illogical thinking.
___ Prefer logical solutions to conflict.
___ Its important to me to be on time.
___ Prefer to plan and follow a schedule.
F _____
___ Prefer to subjectively analyze issues.
___ Focus on my values when deciding.
___ Use subjective and personal criteria.
___ Exceptions to rules must be allowed.
___ Prefer harmony in the world.
___ Mercy more important than justice.
___ Tend to be accepting of others.
___ Have a trusting outlook.
___ Impact of choice on others more important.
___ Keep diaries/scrapbooks/photo albums.
___ Feelings override sense of logic.
___ In touch with feelings of others.
___ Display personal qualities with others.
___ Offended by lack of feeling in others.
___ Seek personal ways to resolve conflict.
___ Being late is not such a big deal.
___ Dislike planning and following schedules.
Page 2
J ____
___Prefer specific plans in my life.
___ Not a very spontaneous person.
___ Prefer schedules and organization.
___ Do not handle uncertainty well.
___ Seek closure on issues.
___ Dislike unexpected events to occur.
___ Use a lot of “shoulds" and "oughts.”
___ Generally good at managing my time.
___ Have enduring friendships.
___ Like to make decisions.
___ Tend to not over commit to projects.
___ Complete the projects I begin.
___ Customs and traditions are important.
___ More decisive than curious.
___ Can’t wait to complete tasks.
___ Meet deadlines on tasks.
___ Believe in “the way things ought to be.”
P _____
___ Prefer to leave my options open.
___ Tend to be a spontaneous person.
___ Prefer less order and flexibility.
___ Handle uncertainty well.
___ Resist closure to obtain more ideas.
___ Comfortable with unexpected events.
___ Have a "live and let live" attitude.
___ Not very good at time management.
___ Tend to change friendships.
___ Have trouble making decisions.
___ Tend to take on too many projects.
___ Have difficulty completing projects.
___ Customs and traditions not as important.
___ More curious than decisive.
___ Tend to procrastinate completing tasks.
___ Flexible in meeting deadlines.
___ Able to accept things as they are.
* Copyright 1993 by Anthony F. Grasha, Ph.D. Communication and Education Associates,
1323 Park Ridge Place, Cincinnati, Ohio 45208. Permission needed to copy.

Identifying The Elements of Style
2 9
Classroom Preferences and
Psychological Type
Introverted Types
Prefer to structure assignments and to exercise direct control over classroom
proceedings and assignments. Also are somewhat inflexible in how a class session
is conducted and are concerned with their personal goals for the class.
Extraverted Types
More likely to give students a broader range of choices about what to study and
how to learn. Are more open with students and able to detect changes in students’
attention, performance on activities, and their expectations for the course.
Sensing Types
Emphasize the facts and the acquisition of concrete skills. Use activities that
allow students a narrow range of choices.
Intuitive Types
Encourage students to go beyond the facts, to gain an understanding of the
relationships between different ideas, and to consider broader implications. Try
to help students discover new insights into concepts and had how ideas can be
transformed to become something new and different. Give students a range of
activities and more likely to move freely around the room while teaching.
Thinking Types
Provide students with very little comment, praise, or critique regarding their
behavior. Have very little “off task contact” with students. More attentive to
their own behaviors than to those of their students and have students focusing
more on what the teacher does. Deal with the class as a whole entity rather
than examining the work and accomplishments of individual students.
Feeling Types
Communicate the importance of each student’s individual work. Provide
consistent praise as well as constructive positive and negative feedback on the
work students complete. Assists students with examining their values and the
role personal values play in making decisions and solving discipline related
problems. Allow students to spend more time on individual work and projects.
Able to focus on the needs of more than one student at a time.
Judgment Types
Repetitious, unidirectional, orderly, and controlling in their teaching methods.
Emphasize adherence to structure, schedules, and deadlines. Prefer assignments
and group work where a specific product or outcome is produced. Impatient
with students who are not organized or who procrastinate doing assignments.
Perception Types
Employ classroom procedures that encourage student participation. They
usually teach in a more flexible manner and are often spontaneous in what
they do. More comfortable with open-ended discussions and asking students to
engage in small group discussions and tasks.
Table 1-8
* Information in this table represent themes abstracted from Lawrence [1993]
and Firestone [1993].

30
Teaching With Style
Which one of the following temperaments best describes you?
Dionysian Temperament: Sensation-Perception (SP)
• Adventurer and likes action.
• Active and focuses on doing.
• Impulsive and uninhibited.
Arts, Crafts, Sports, Drama
• Spontaneous.
Music, Recreation
• Exciting, cheerful, lighthearted.
• Bored with the status quo.
• “Easy come, easy go.”
Group Projects, Demonstrations,
• Seeks stimulation.
Shows, Performances, Games,
• Optimistic.
AV Materials, Practical Tests
Teaching Style
Stresses involvement of students and interested in development of
freedom, spontaneity, and the creative side of learners. Can be counted
on to do the unexpected. Tries to develop a “seize the moment” attitude.
Does entertaining presentations and may shift gears in mid-course.
Displays an unpredictable side of self in teaching.
• Responsible, dependable.
• Organized, methodical.
• Focus on outcomes.
Agriculture, Business, History,
• Parental attitude toward others.
Political Science, Geography
• Believes in hierarchical structures,
• Likes rules and regulations.
• Somewhat pessimistic.
Lectures, Demonstrations,
• Titles and entitlement important.
Tests/Quizzes, Recitation
• Has a sense of duty, service, and
maintains a historical outlook..
Teaching Style
Wants to develop students’ sense of usefulness and place in society.
Views teaching as an opportunity to pass on a cultural heritage to new
generations of learners. Likes obedient students and has well-
established routines in the classroom. Teaching planned in advance.
Typically a firm disciplinarian who gives effective feedback and
criticism. Good Socratic teacher and acts as a role model for students.
Table 1-9
Identifying Your Psychological Temperament
Epimethean Temperament: Sensation-Judging (SJ)
Common Teaching Areas
Preferred Teaching Methods
Common Teaching Areas
Preferred Teaching Methods

Identifying The Elements of Style
3 1
Promethean Temperament: Intuitive-Thinking (NT)
• Independent, loner, intellectual.
• Fascinated with attempts to
establish power over nature.
Philosophy, Science, Technology,
• Badgers self about errors.
Communication, Math,
• Pushes self to improve.
Linguistics
• Seldom feels they know enough.
• Likes to get things started and
then turn over tasks to others.
Lectures, Independent Projects,
• Future oriented, workaholic,
Laboratory Reports
self-sufficient, and goal oriented.
Teaching Style
Pushes students to take course content seriously. Not as sensitive to
the emotional climate of the classroom. Possesses high standards and
tends to be impersonal in his or her approach to students. Does not
give feedback easily and may leave some students wondering where
they stand. Perceives only a few learners as working up to standards.
Apollonian Temperament: Intuitive-Feeling (NF)
• Group oriented, interactive,
and communicative.
• People oriented.
Humanities, Social Science,
• Wants to make a difference
Theater, Music, Languages,
in the world.
Speech, Theology
• Values opinions and feelings
of others.
• Seeks broader value issues.
Group Projects, Discussion Modes
• Searches for deeper meaning.
Simulations, Self-Discovery
• Hypersensitive to conflict.
• Sensitive to sarcasm and ridicule.
Teaching Style
Possesses personal charisma and commitment to teaching. Concerned
about welfare of students and tries to form one to one relationships
with them. Concerned with the values that underlie course content.
Impatient with manufactured classroom materials and prefers to spend
time to create his or her own materials. Uses large group, small group,
and individualized instructional modes with equal comfort. Prefers,
however, to use small group activities and workshop formats when
teaching.
Preferred Teaching Methods
Preferred Teaching Methods
Common Teaching Areas
Common Teaching Areas
Table 1- 9 [
Continued
]

32
Teaching With Style
There are other shorthands for understanding one’s personality and teaching
style from a Jungian point of view than those described in Self-Reflection
Activity 1-2 and Tables 1-7 and 1-8. One in particular deserves a brief mention
and that is the use of what Carl Jung referred to as
cognitive orientations
.
These are the four combinations of the perceptual and decision making
functions in his theory [i.e., ST, SF, NT, and NF]. An excellent discussion of
cognitive orientations and their implications for understanding teaching and
learning styles can be found in the work of Gordon Lawrence [1982; 1993].
Jungian theory and related concepts provide a rationale for identifying and
combining personality characteristics in order to describe our teaching styles.
As with any approach to personality, it is important to use the descriptions
obtained as general guidelines to understanding “who we are.” Every
perspective tries to simplify human nature in the interests of providing a
useful portrait.
In the process, they inevitably miss important components of
our psychological makeup.
In the final analysis, our styles as human beings
and as teachers are always more than any single personality theory can hope
to describe. Their approach to our personal makeup is not etched in concrete.
Thus, what particular personality theorists say about us must always be
tempered with the knowledge that there is much more that could be said.
Archetypal Forms of Teaching Style
William Reinsmith [1992;1994] notes that the important aspect of teaching
is not the skills and methods employed. Instead, the idea of teacher
presence
and the
encounter
with students must be examined when trying to understand
teaching style. Taking a phenomenological perspective, Reinsmith states that
“A teaching encounter is not simply a group of skills or methods assembled
in a particular way. It may engender these, but the ‘meeting’ between teacher
and student[s] has a form of being of its own [Reinsmith, 1994, p. 132].
The
relational dimension must be placed at the center of the teaching act.
It is
not that the relational aspects of teaching go unmentioned during discussions of
teaching in the literature. While acknowledged, they rarely hold center stage.
In effect, our presence as teachers and the responses that accompany us create
a teaching encounter. Within that encounter certain predictable interaction
patterns occur, and when sustained over time, the encounters become a
teaching form. Based on an extensive review of the literature on teaching
style, he identified nine archetypal forms that occur in the context of five
modes of relating to students. These are described in Table 1-10.
Each teaching form is invested with a particular teaching presence that makes
it possible for the learner to respond in a manner appropriate for that form.
This form cannot account for everything that occurs in the classroom. But it
does produce recognizable patterns in how students and teachers interact
and thus has a permanence to it that transcends an individual teacher.
Observing that a teacher works within a form is both to preserve the
individuality of the teacher and to see beyond this to something more
archetypal and enduring.

Identifying The Elements of Style
3 3
Table 1-10
Archetypal Forms in Teaching
Presentational Mode
Archetypal Forms
Disseminator/ Transmitter:
Passes on bits of information to the students. This
form can be described as 'teaching as telling'. The most reductive form of
teaching in that students and teachers become machine like and are set apart
from one another.
Lecturer/Dramatist:
Employs dramatic techniques in order to engage or
connect with the students in a more impacting way. Teacher comes across in a
vibrant manner and the performance factor is emphasized.
Initiatory Mode
Archetypal Forms
Inducer/Persuader:
Aware of the students' interests and begins to suggest the
possibilities of new attitudes and approaches that are different from those to
which students currently adhere. Introduces an element of reciprocity and
two-way communication between the teacher and the student.
Inquirer/Catalyst:
Directly confronts and questions the student. Challenges
students to identify and question their own basic beliefs.
Dialogic Mode
Archetypal Form
Dialogist:
Teacher no longer dominates the interaction and the student and
the teacher play equal parts in defining the encounter. Classroom procedures
often explore student and/or teacher determined topics.
Elicitive Mode
Archetypal Forms
Facilitator/Guide:
Aids the students in discovering their potential, and in
gaining an understanding of the knowledge which they possess.
Witness/Abiding Presence
: Active role of the teacher is diminished. Acts as a
witness to students attempts to bring their knowledge to the threshold of
articulation. Begins to identify with the learner yet still able to remain apart
as students are given full existential freedom. Teacher seen as a role model for
possibilities for their own growth.
Apophatic Mode
Archetypal Forms
Learner:
Recognizes own lack of knowledge and is willing to learn along side
of students. Teacher abandons the pretension to teach and views role as that
of a learner. A breakdown in the distance between teacher and learner has
occurred.
Absence of Teacher:
The teacher has blown out the flame of his or her influence
and that flame now resides within the student. Teacher has given over the
teaching self in an act of pedagogical love.

34
Teaching With Style
The teaching forms described in Table 1-10 represent a continuum. Reinsmith
sees this as an ideal sequence that teachers progress through rather than a
hopscotch movement they take in response to changes in classroom situations.
Phenomenologically, teaching involves a succession of encounters where
particular relationships are established between college faculty and their
students. Those in the earlier stages of the continuum [i.e., , the Presentational
and Initiatory modes] are characterized by a strong teacher presence and less
two-way communication in the exchange of ideas. Later stages [i.e., the
Dialogic and Elicitive] involve much more reciprocity in the interaction while
the Apophatic views the teacher as becoming a learner and the student is set
free to learn independently. In effect, the nature of the
teacher presence
and
the encounters change and move gradually from less intense engagements
toward those that are intellectually and educationally intimate. Eventually,
the teaching presence comes to reside fully in the learner. Both the instructor
and the student are newly created through each of the stages in the encounter.
Each form according to Reinsmith has its own rhythm and inner dynamics. In
the real world of teaching, however, they are interconnected and entwined within
each other. One central form still manages to dominate depending upon the
particular stage of the teacher’s growth and the instructional possibilities allowed
by the environment. The forms also are fictions in the sense that they allow us to
examine particular aspects of teaching style but the idealized process of growth
inherent in the model rarely occurs. It is likely that environmental factors may
relegate a teacher to an earlier stage of the continuum for years or perhaps an
entire career. Regardless of how the model applies to a given faculty member,
we can only teach by inhabiting one of these archetypal forms. This form becomes
the dominant structure that guides and directs our encounters with students.
Metaphors as Representations of Teaching Style
The essence of metaphor is the expression of one thing in terms of another. In
this regard, a variety of analogies, similes, visual models, and other figurative
devices have been used to describe the teaching styles of college faculty. For my
purposes, I have grouped all of the latter entities into the category of metaphor
in order to explore basic representations of everyday reality. One of my interests
has been in exploring the types of metaphors college faculty and students use to
describe the teaching-learning process. [Grasha, 1990b; 1990c; 1993].
My research program in this area has three goals. One is to identify the
metaphors that faculty and students use to describe their roles in the classroom.
The second has been to translate those metaphors into representations of the
personal models college faculty and students possess about fundamental
principles that underlie teaching and learning processes. The third goal is to
examine how such models guide and direct their actions of teachers and
students.
Thus, I employ metaphor as a means of describing teaching style,
as a conceptual model that accounts for principles about teaching and
learning, and as a mental construct that guides and directs the thoughts and
actions of people.
The latter two uses of metaphor are presented in the
discussion of developing a conceptual base for teaching in Chapter 3.

Identifying The Elements of Style
3 5
My purpose here is to outline how college faculty express their styles as
teachers through metaphor. One study that was influential in stimulating my
research program was conducted by Howard Pollio [1986]. He asked 800
faculty and graduate students at the University of Tennessee to send him
examples of analogies, similes, and other figurative devices they used to
describe the teaching learning process. He reported that a thematic analysis
of this information revealed that three categories of metaphor accounted for
the majority of the responses. They were:
Containers
Knowledge is viewed as a substance and the instructor is a
container filled with content and facts. The student is perceived
as a vessel wanting to be filled up. The metaphor of the mother
robin feeding her young is one example as is the “teacher as
snack machine” metaphor generated by a participant in a recent
workshop. There is nothing necessarily limiting about such
descriptions of teaching style. After all, teachers may contain
nutritious substances that can help learners to grow and develop.
On the other hand, the substance in the container may not be
viewed by all students as nutrition. Two students in my research
program described what they received from teachers as “junk
food” and as “bad tasting medicine that you don’t want to take
but deep down inside you know it’s good for you.”
Journey-Guide
Knowledge is perceived as a perspective on the horizon. The
teacher guides students on their journey. Students need to follow
a course, must overcome obstacles and hurdles, and if a good
course of study is designed, they will come to the end of their
journey. The metaphors of a “gentle guide taking travelers
through the wilderness” and “captain of the Starship Enterprise
taking people through outer space to explore new universes”
capture teaching styles in this category. Of course, some students
do not always see such guidance as helpful. One noted that if
teachers were guiding them on a “great interplanetary
adventure,” then they sometimes felt like they were “lost in
space.”
Master-Disciple
Knowledge is a skill or habit to be learned. The instructor trains
students and the students ideally do what they are told without
questioning the master. The master teachers list include
Socrates,
Yoda, Mother Teresa,
and a wide range of others. While some
faculty may view their teaching styles in this way, less than two
percent of the more than 1500 metaphors students have generated
in my research program touch on Master-Disciple themes. Perhaps
it relates to their stage of development but undergraduates do not
view themselves as disciples to great masters.

36
Teaching With Style
• Player-coach
• Matador
• Bartender
• Attorney before a jury
• Director of a play
• Fairy godmother
• Lion tamer
• Rabbi
• Swiss Army knife
• General leading troops into battle
• Mother duck leading ducklings
• Gardener
• Midwife
• Tornado
• Evangelist
• Entertainer
• Choreographer
• Tour bus driver with passengers
who keep their window curtain closed
What metaphor describes your style as a teacher?
One of the devices I use to help people develop their metaphor for
teaching is the WIF process. WIF is an acronym for
W
ords-
I
mages-
F
eelings. Describing the words-images-and feelings that your teaching
elicits within you is a useful first step in discovering the “guiding
metaphor” for your teaching style.
The term “guiding metaphor” is used to indicate that various needs,
attitudes, values, and beliefs underlie the metaphors we create. Thus,
when people describes their teaching style as a “gardener,” then there
are ways that they think and behave that are different from someone
who sees him or herself as a “Lion Tamer.” The role of “guiding
metaphors” in the teaching-learning process were described in more
detail in Chapter 3. For now, complete the WIF process shown in Table
1-11 to identify the metaphor that describes your style.
The themes of Containers, Journey-Guides, and Master-Disciple also appear
in the more than 700 metaphors of teaching style that college faculty
participating in workshops with me have generated. In my experience, the
metaphors also go beyond the three categories. This can be seen in some of
my favorite metaphors I have collected from college faculty. They include:
Self-Reflection Activity 1-3
Identifying Your Metaphor for Teaching

Identifying The Elements of Style
3 7
WIF Process [Words-Images-Feelings]: Think about one of the courses you teach
for a moment. For the next couple of minutes, sit back and relax and imagine
yourself teaching that class. Focus on what the students are like, how you
behave, and important events in this course.
In the space provided below, list
several words, images, and feelings that you would use to describe this course.
Words:
(e.g., traditional, cutting edge, pedestrian, innovative, etc.)
Images:
(e.g., carnival, funeral, peaceful glen, exciting movie)
Feelings:
(e.g., anxious, happy, excited, frustrated, etc.)
1.] Summarize what you have written above into a
guiding metaphor.
That is,
an integrated/summary metaphor that includes many of the themes inherent
in the words, images, and feelings that you have about the course. For
example, this class was like “parents taking actions to insure that their children
have what they need to get ahead in life,” “working a difficult puzzle and not
being able to find a solution,” or “a ship visiting different ports of call where
everyone on board gains from the experience.” List your
guiding metaphor
below.
2.] What are the teaching techniques that support your
guiding metaphor?
For example, the parents taking actions” metaphor is seen in the fact that
I tell students what they have to know, I dictate what assignments they
will do, and I do this because I have more insights into what it takes to get
ahead in the field than they do.”
List the elements of the class that support
your guiding metaphor.
3.] Think about the ways that this class is similar to and different from others
that you teach. Would the same guiding metaphor apply? Or, would it have
to be modified or changed? If so, indicate how.
Table 1-11
The WIF Process for Faculty to Generate
Guiding Metaphors

38
Teaching With Style
Epilogue
Themes and Variations
There is no single satisfactory way of defining teaching style. One
way to approach the issue is to define it in terms of the elements of
style that appear in the words of various authors in the literature. An
examination of prominent approaches in this chapter included:
An exploration of the distinctive general modes of classroom
behavior.
Such things as the teachers ability to generate
intellectual excitement and to develop interpersonal rapport
with students appear to be pervasive qualities of style.
The characteristics associated with respected and popular
teachers.
The qualities identified vary among individuals
designated as models of good teaching. It appears that some
people are able to put together combinations of personal
characteristics and instructional practices that work exceedingly
well in the classroom and that develop reputations for them as
outstanding teachers.
Behaviors common to all college faculty.
Quantitative research
on style has identified categories of classroom behaviors that
occur in the behaviors of all teachers. These include such things
as faculty members’ ability to organize information, display
enthusiasm, and to provide the structure students need to learn.
Student rating scales of instructor behaviors are often used to
give teachers a student perspective on how well they engage in
such behaviors. Because everyone is assessed against the same
yardstick, ratings also allow comparisons among individuals
and groups of faculty to be made.
Sometimes style is synonymous with the teaching methods that
a faculty member employs.
Some are called “dynamic lecturer,”
“effective discussion leader,” “case study teacher,” and other
labels are used to identify their style. In each case, the definition
of style reflects a particular instructional process. Such
techniques, however, can tell us more about people than what
methods they prefer. Faculty members must take some risks
in using them and the methods help to identify teacher attitudes
about active learning.
The roles played in teaching also identify our styles.
Faculty
roles in the classroom include such things as the expert, ego-
ideal, evaluator, materials designer, and nondirective facilitator,
When used alone or in various combinations, the style adopted
is responsive to the needs of the classroom environment.

Identifying The Elements of Style
3 9
Archetypal forms of teaching appear in the interactions between
students and teachers.
Examples include the teacher as
disseminator, inquirer/catalyst, dialogist, witness/abiding
presence, and learner. Each reflects stages of growth for teachers
who ideally would move from dominating interactions with
students, to sharing and discussing information, and eventually
to becoming a learner themselves.
Various personality traits have been employed to catalogue the
styles of college teachers.
Those based on ideas from Carl
Jung’s theory of personality are widely employed in higher
education. An instructor’s style in this model represents
combinations of one of the poles on each of the dimensions of
extraversion-introversion; sensing-intuition; thinking-feeling;
and judging-perceiving. Teachers’ preferred instructional
methods also vary as a function of their personality type.
Metaphors for how faculty see the teaching-learning process
also provide insights into our styles as teachers.
Faculty report
seeing themselves as containers ready to fill students with
knowledge, as guides taking students on a journey, and as
masters with disciples to train. They also describe themselves
as
matadors, evangelists, midwives, entertainers, and
gardeners.
Each metaphor has particular needs, attitudes,
values, and beliefs reflected within it. Thus, such metaphors
for style also serve as a personal model that conceptualizes
important principles of teaching and learning and that ultimately
guides and directs the actions of teachers in the classroom.
There are two problems with current formulations of style. One is that they
are largely descriptive of “what qualities teachers possess ” and/or “what
they do in the classroom.”
What is missing from such models are the specific
actions someone might take to adopt, enhance, or modify the style they already
possess.
For example, it is possible that someone might want to become
more enthusiastic, to generate intellectual excitement, to develop better
rapport with students, or to become better organized and clear in presentations.
Or, they might want to experiment with the qualities of extraversion, intuition,
or feeling in their approach to teaching. Some may decide that they need to
be more of an
ego-ideal, dialogist, inquirer or catalyst, Yoda, or Midwife
to
help their students to learn. How to make such changes, and the variables
one would have to take into account to do so, generally are not included in
these models.
The models discussed in this chapter largely assume that people already
possess certain qualities and the model builder is simply identifying what is
already there. Models based on the work of Jung’s theory of personality
argue that we are born with particular personality or psychological type
preferences. Thus we are “hard-wired” to behave in certain ways. Other
models such as Reinsmith’s hold open the possibility for teachers to adopt
different archetypal forms as they mature in their roles. While this is possible,

40
Teaching With Style
Reinsmith notes that forces in the academic environment [e.g., the reward
structure, experience with various forms, expectations of students] may lock
people into teaching in certain preferred archetypal forms. Presumably, if
faculty members could manipulate or use such environmental forces to their
advantage, numerous possibilities for growth are likely to emerge. The other
models discussed in this chapter generally assume that “what is--is.” Instead
of dealing with issues of how to change style, they emphasize particular
styles, their characteristics, and their implications for classroom processes.
This latter comment is not meant to put down or to discount the contributions
of these models for understanding teaching style.
They were largely designed
to be descriptive and not necessarily prescriptive. Thus, they cannot be blamed
for things they were not designed to do in the first place. Existing models do
inform us about important elements of style and how they normally appear
in people who possess such qualities. By identifying teaching methods that
people who possess such qualities use, they at least point others with similar
dispositions in the direction of instructional practices to consider. Modifying
and changing one’s style, however, turns out in my experience to be a much
larger issue than simply identifying the elements of style we currently possess
and then deciding what elements we might want to add. To modify, change,
and to even enhance our current style involves attending to several things:
We need to develop a better sense of “Who I am as a teacher
and what do I want to become.”
This involves self-reflection
directed toward getting in touch with our personal values as
instructors; understanding the reasons we resist making changes
in our styles; identifying how ready and committed we are to
change; and the psychological factors within us that facilitate
and hinder our ability to vary our styles as teachers.
Teaching processes should reflect a conceptual base or
philosophy of teaching and thus we need to examine our
teaching philosophy.
Included here are principles, concepts,
and assumptions about teaching, learning, and human nature
that guide and direct how we teach. Many teachers are unaware
of many elements in their conceptual base. Yet, it continues to
influence how they teach. Keeping it “out of sight and out of
mind” does not make it go away.
Our underlying philosophy of teaching must be explicit.
Variations in current instructional practices that are designed
without regard to a philosophy of teaching are intellectually
hollow. Our styles as teachers must be consistent with an
underlying philosophy of teaching and indeed some variations
in teaching first involve modifying this conceptual base.
A prescriptive model for identifying, modifying, and enhancing
our teaching style should be examined by anyone contemplating
change.
In my experience, when people work through the issues
identified above, there is still work that needs to be done. There

Identifying The Elements of Style
4 1
is a need for additional guidance regarding what instructional
practices to select, how to use them effectively, and what beliefs,
skills, and abilities are needed to adopt particular styles.
The three issues identified above are an integral part of the content of the
remaining chapters of this book. Chapters 2 and 3, for example, examine
self-reflection and the considerations involved in managing personal change
in teaching. How to develop a conceptual base and the elements involved in
a personal philosophy of teaching are discussed in Chapter 3. The final
chapters of this book present an integrated model of teaching style and what
elements within the model must be manipulated in order to enhance or modify
our styles.
There is one additional issue that must be explored in any attempt to examine
and consider changes in our styles as teachers. This is the role of the student
in the teaching-learning enterprise.
Teaching Styles and Learning Styles:
“You Can’t Have One Without the Other”
Information about teaching style is only one-half of the teacher-student
interaction. William Reinsmith noted in his model of archetypal forms that
a instructor’s
“presence”
and
“encounter”
with students is essential to
understanding style. Variations in such encounters in the amount of two-way
communication and mutual sharing of ideas are what distinguish one
archetypal form from another. The forms essentially depend upon instructors
and students adopting particular styles of teaching, learning, and
communicating in order to be successful. Such things do not magically appear.
They develop through changes in teacher and student perceptions of each
other, their actions toward each other, and the “give and take” inherent in
their encounters.
Just as professors have preferred ways of teaching, students have similar
preferences for how they wish to learn.
These dispositions are labeled learning
styles.
This term refers to those personal qualities that influence a student’s ability
to acquire information, to interact with peers and the teacher, and otherwise
participate in learning experiences. A variety of cognitive, social factors, motives,
emotional, problem solving abilities , memory and perceptual processes, and
information processing capabilities have been used to identify and label the
learning styles of students [Grasha, 1993; 1990b].
Learning styles help to shape the encounters students have with teachers. In
effect, the “teaching-learning interaction” is more of a “teacher-student
transaction.”
Both parties are involved in attempts to mold each other into
mutually beneficial forms of relating.
Because of their higher status in a
hierarchy, teachers often have in such encounters more of their needs met.
Yet, students are not powerless in their encounters with faculty. To get what
they want, they may resist a style of teaching, avoid class, pretend to play

42
Teaching With Style
along, plead, give rationale arguments to justify being treated differently, or
directly confront teachers with examples of how their needs in the enterprise
are not being met.
Fortunately, there is another approach. Teachers can explore ways to
accommodate variations in student styles in their teaching.
To do this, the styles
of students must be acknowledged and acted upon.
The term acknowledged is
used because, in my experience, differences in learning styles are not always
recognized. The result is that some faculty treat students as if they were all
alike. One of my colleagues, for example, teachers his advanced graduate
seminars largely by lecturing. He teaches advanced students in the same
manner as those in his introductory course.
Recognition of student styles, however, is not enough. Sometimes faculty
recognize differences in the personal qualities of students but fail to act upon
this knowledge. One professor noted how the continuing education students
she taught had considerable more life experiences and were more independent
than traditional students. She was not sure how to capitalize on these
differences so both groups were taught alike.
Others acknowledge variations in learning styles and take actions to modify
their styles as teachers accordingly. Some people try to teach first-year classes
differently than senior level or graduate seminars. Others recognize that
gender and cultural-ethnic differences exist among students. Thus, they
present appropriate works of male and female scholars as well as those who
represent minority and other cultural-ethnic groups. Some teachers
accommodate cultural differences in interaction patterns by stressing
collaborative learning and work to build rapport with those students who
prefer a less distant teacher.
Similarly, some faculty design their courses with a recognition that students
vary in their needs for structure, independence, collaboration, empowerment,
hands-on experiences, teamwork, surface and deep processing of information,
as well as obtaining information through auditory, visual, and kinesthetic
sensory channels. To meet student needs for structure some faculty members
organize detailed syllabi, they take care to insure their presentations are well
organized and they plan each class session much like a coach prepares a
game plan. Small group activities and team projects are designed to meet
student needs for collaboration and teamwork. Options in what assignments
to complete and when they can be finished help meet student needs to feel
empowered or in control over some aspects of the classroom environment.
Assignments and classroom activities that stress critical and creative thinking
are purposely programmed into the course to give students a chance to express
such needs. Finally, presentations that emphasizes auditory, visual, and hands-
on or practical exercises help to accommodate students’ with different sensory
preferences.
An important reason for trying to accommodate learning style differences is
that discrepancies between teacher and student styles are often a source of
conflict, tension , and misunderstanding. It is not so much that people are
different that produces the problems. Rather, it is a failure to acknowledge
differences, to understand them, and for teachers and students to look for

Identifying The Elements of Style
4 3
Table 1-12
Distribution of
Personality Type in the Classroom
I typically find that the discrepancies between faculty and their students on
the dimensions of introversion and intuition are particularly problematic for
faculty. As shown in Table 1-12, compared to the average college student,
college faculty are overrepresented on these two types. In effect faculty
interests and energy are largely captured by the inner world of ideas and they
are more willing to consider possibilities for things that are not immediately
apparent or available to the senses. Most college teachers also have the
capacity to formulate hypotheses, to anticipate expected outcomes, and to
formulate the implications of existing ideas and data from their disciplines.
Faculty
Students
Extraverted
46%
70%
Introverted
54%
30%
Sensing
36%
70%
Intuitive
64%
30%
Thinking
50%
50%
Feeling
50%
50%
Judging
63%
55%
Perceiving
37%
45%
ways to accommodate variations in their personal qualities. Unfortunately,
when problems arise, the tendency to see each other as different is replaced
with a perception that one person is somehow better than another. Faculty
often blame students for all the difficulty and fail to recognize that both
parties to any interaction are to varying degrees responsible.
An examination of how teachers and students differ on the same stylistic
qualities helps us to see what happens when differences are not dealt with
effectively. Earlier in this chapter, concepts from Jung’s personality theory
were used to describe teaching style. The same dimensions also have been
used to identify the learning preferences or styles of students [Campbell &
Davis, 1990; Lawrence, 1993; McCaulley, 1981]. Not surprisingly, teachers
and students often vary in significant ways. This can be seen in the information
presented in Table 1-11 which was compiled from data in Campbell [1986];
Cooper and Miller, [1991]; Firestone, [1993]; and Hadley, [1993].

44
Teaching With Style
While such qualities are ideal for scholarship, they often clash with the more
extraverted and sensing qualities of students. Unlike many of their instructors,
most students get their energy from the world of people, objects and events.
They prefer to see, touch, and feel things in order to gather information.
Their orientation is more to the hands-on experiences and the practical
implications of issues. Theoretical concerns and analysis is typically one of
their strong points.
Thus, when faculty become excited about theoretical and conceptual issues,
most students are looking for concrete and clear examples of terms and
concepts. While some faculty may be satisfied with a rich verbal description
of a point, many students want to see, hear, or touch something that is a
representation of the conceptual point. When teachers become too theoretical
and conceptual, the majority of their students are often lost. Deep intellectual
analysis is not their strong suit.
Unfortunately in my experience, college teachers often do not recognize such
gaps in teaching and learning style.
If anything, many believe there is
something wrong with the students. “I tried my best but most of them just
could not get it,” is a common complaint. From the point of view of students,
the situation is interpreted differently. “I don’t know what’s wrong with my
instructors, the things they were talking about just went over my head.” Some
faculty come to the conclusion that “most students just don’t have the
intellectual capacity to be in college,” while some students decide that “too
many faculty have their heads in the sky.”
The issue is not that some ways of thinking are better than others. Rather, all
of us are simply different.
It would be helpful if instructors thought more
about the cognitive and other learning style differences between themselves
and their students. Students are much more able to think conceptually than
most college faculty think. Beverly Firestone [1993], for example, argues
that what most students need are concrete examples and hands-on experiences
to stimulate their conceptual thinking. She reports that this goal can be obtained
by activities such as demonstrations, laboratory assignments, student research
projects, building two and three dimensional models of theories, designing
concept maps, analyzing cases and personal experiences, and the use of role
plays and simulations. Generally any activity that turns “abstract issues into
concrete realities” will help to close this gap in student and teacher styles.
How to adopt a teaching style that captures the extraversion and sensing
aspects of student learning styles is an important issue in the design of
classroom instruction. For those faculty who are overrepresented on the
introversion and intuitive dimensions, however, this is not easy to do.
Extraverted and sensing modes of teaching are at odds with their preferred
ways of thinking, so needed changes are less likely to occur.
Those modes
simply are not valued as much. Instead, there is evidence that college teachers
may focus their energies on those students who are most like them. Thus, the
need to change is negated because a subset of the students can, as one teacher
told me, “get the material in the way that I prefer to give it.” One intriguing
research finding shows that students learning style profiles on the Myers-

Identifying The Elements of Style
4 5
Briggs Type Indicator that matches their teachers’ styles tend to get higher
grades than those who are different [Hadley, 1993; Sternberg, 1993].
Similarly, teachers with a more extraverted and sensing style may have
difficulty communicating with those students who are introverted and
intuitive. The latter want more intellectual depth in a course, and in the words
on one student, “fewer Mickey Mouse activities that are a waste of my time.”
Finally, differences among faculty and students on the judging and perceiving
dimensions can produce problems. Typically this occurs due to the conflict
between an instructor with a judging style wanting assignments completed
in a timely, orderly, and precise manner. Those students who are perceiving
types, and who are not as concerned with completing assignments in a timely
manner, typically find themselves at odds with such teachers.
Overall, growth in teaching and learning involves a willingness to stretch
ourselves. Jung’s theory noted that people have preferences on each
dichotomy [e.g., E-I; S-N; T-F; J-P]. However, the other pole of each
dichotomy was present at an unconscious level although not as well
developed. Sometimes it slips into consciousness and we might say, “I’ve
never acted like that before.” Or, “I guess I was just beside myself” At times,
experiencing our least preferred styles can become a growth producing
experience provided it occurs in a nurturing and supportive environment. It
gives us the opportunity to see possibilities for ourselves that the normally
dominant poles of our personality prevent us from experiencing.
Thinking and intuitive teachers, for example, need to work on building the
feeling and sensing sides of themselves. In much the same way, students
with extraverted and sensing learning styles could benefit by activities that
put them in touch with the introverted and intuitive side of themselves.
The
goal is not to make one type into the other. Nor is it to gain a balance in the
strength or energy devoted to each.
Rather, it is to provide experiences where
people can sample and identify with the less pronounced aspects of their
personal makeups. In the process, they may also begin to understand the
frames of reference of others who differ from them on those qualities.
Things you can do in your teaching to stretch yourself in experiencing personal
qualities you normally are unaware of can be seen in Tables 1-8 and 1-9.
Trying some of those teaching methods demands that we pay attention to
processes that use aspects of the inferior or less dominant side of our
personality.
In much the same way, the information in Table 1-13 highlights
several personality types of students that can be translated into classroom
processes. This is another way of adding variety and “stretching” yourself as
a teacher.
You then could focus on using methods within and across class
sessions that match the dominant qualities of your students. Or, instructional
processes that made students occasionally engage the less dominant sides of
their personalities could be employed.

46
Teaching With Style
Extraversion
Group activities and teaching processes that engage psychomotor skills.
Role plays, simulations, computer work, and interactions with peers.
Introversion
Individual work on problems, case studies, position papers, and other
assignments that involve verbal reasoning. Prefers time to think about
issues before being asked to offer an opinion. Thus time for private
reflection should be built into classroom activities.
Sensing
Concrete tasks that stress the practical applications or implications of
material. Likes problems that require linear strategies to solve them.
Intuition
Theoretical and conceptual problems and activities where the
relationship among diverse elements must be drawn together.
Thinking
Likes to use rules, laws, and procedures. Prefers assignments that can
be analyzed objectively and where discipline related criteria can be
used to determine correct answers. Needs to feel mastery over content.
Feeling
Relationship oriented and often benefits from the use of small group
discussions and team projects. Preference for tasks where the same
people can be together for extended periods of time. Willing to work
with peers as a tutor and to share what they know about content to
help others out. Not comfortable with conflict and disagreement.
Judgment
Wants structure and order in the classroom and want to know what
they are accountable for and how they will be judged. Needs specific
directions on what is required and how to proceed with tasks. Prefers
assignments that have clear-cut answers and dislikes activities that
are open-ended. Work better with deadlines and specific time frames
for activities. Need to know where they stand in a course.
Perception
Flexible, curious, and adaptive learner. Enjoys informal problem solving
and dealing with issues for which there is not a single correct answer.
Prefer to have choices in tasks to work on and to work autonomously.
Need opportunities in class where they can be spontaneous. Dislikes
repetitive teaching processes and desire variety and novelty in class.
• Ideas in in this table reflects themes in Lawrence [1993]; Campbell and Davis [1990];
Kiersey and Bates, 1984].
Table 1-13
Student Personality Type, Temperaments,
and Classroom Processes
Personality Type

Identifying The Elements of Style
4 7
Alternate Ways of Blending Teaching
and Learning Styles
Jung’s personality theory provides one frame of reference for conceptualizing
style. There are others. David Kolb, for example, examines teacher and
student styles in terms of their preferences for concrete experiences, reflecting
on those experiences, creating concepts and theories to explain experiences,
and using such concepts to solve problems and make decisions. A recent
discussion of Kolb’s work in teacher-student interactions and in developing
a teaching portfolio can be found in Richlin and Manning [1995].
Sensation-Perception [SP]:
Dionysian
Needs physical involvement in learning. Hands on experiences such as
practical exercises are important. Needs activity, thrives on competition
and is willing to experiment with alternate teaching methods. Enjoys
performing and participates well in role playing simulations. Written
assignments are not enjoyed as much. Wants opportunities to talk about
concrete issues and often needs help in organizing information. Prefers
logically structured, efficient classroom handouts and other classroom
materials.
Sensation-Judging [SJ]:
Epimethean
Needs structure, clear directions, and will conform to it. Likes
traditional learning settings. Does not thrive on long-term independent
projects and is not fond of discussion groups. Takes grades and deadlines
seriously and needs them to do well. Likes lectures, paperwork, Q&A
sessions. Linear learner who needs clear directions. Wants to know
why a task is important to do before engaging it. Appreciates authority
and is open to supervision and feedback on work.
Intuitive-Thinking [NT]:
Promethean
An independent learner who likes to pursue interests and to track down
ideas. Fascinated with somewhat abstract and theoretical ideas. Tends
to collect rules and principles and otherwise to give structure to the
world. Wants to know how ideas are conceived, how concepts were put
together and what unanswered questions exist. Tracks down
information until answer is obtained but may put other assignments
aside in the process. Enjoys classroom projects that foster independent
inquiry. Case studies, position papers, and well constructed
presentations are appreciated. Tends to be impatient with discussions.
Intuitive-Feeling [NF]: Apollonian
Needs personal feedback particularly positive. Enjoys group discussions
and interaction activities. Likes positive written comments on papers
and this is often a powerful motivator. Negative reactions can lead to
resentment and inaction. Likes democratic classroom environments.
Learns well from discussion methods, role playing, and enjoys reading
especially fiction and fantasy.
Table 1-13 [
Continued
]
Temperaments

48
Teaching With Style
Students and teachers also can be described as field-independent [able to
organize thinking and their perception independently of the context in which
ideas and stimuli are embedded] and field-dependent [context in which ideas
and perceptions are embedded interfere with making judgments]. Studies
show that field-dependent faculty and students are much more comfortable
with group oriented classroom procedures while their field-independent
counterparts tend to prefer lecture-discussion formats [Fuhrmann & Grasha,
1983; Witkin, 1977]. As you might imagine, tension and misunderstandings
sometimes occur among faculty and students with divergent styles.
Similarly, in his work on the qualities that promote an orientation to learning
versus
getting grades,
Jim Eison [1991] reports that both students and faculty
have
grade oriented
and
learning oriented
learning and teaching styles. Some
faculty inadvertently place an emphasis on evaluation processes and teach
in ways that encourage students to focus on “making the grade” versus
getting
the content.
For some students and faculty, “this is the way it ought to be.”
Those with divergent styles and subsequent points of view, however, also
may not get along.
The point here is not that some models of style use the same dimensions to
describe teachers and students.
Rather, doing so enhances our ability to
understand how teaching and learning styles interact and the conditions in
which they are likely to facilitate and hinder teacher-student transactions.
Effective teaching undoubtedly involves accommodating differences in style
as well as purposely creating discrepancies to enhance the way college faculty
teach and students learn.
To meet this goal, a compatible frame of reference
or model for identifying the styles of teachers and students is needed.
Otherwise, one is in the unenviable position of trying to mix apples and eggs.
A model that has compatible descriptions of teacher and student styles must
accomplish several goals. It should describe such teacher and student styles,
it should illustrate how they interact, and it should prescribe steps faculty
can take to enhance and modify instruction to accommodate student styles.
The integrated model of teaching and learning style presented in the last five
chapters of this book attempts to meet these goals. It is an empirical model
based on two decades of research and my work with college faculty on ways
to enhance their instructional processes. The model not only allows one to
describe teacher and student styles, it also suggests conditions under which
certain styles will be effective and what must happen for them to change.
The teaching styles examined in the integrated model [beginning in Chapter
4] are those of the
Expert, Formal Authority, Personal Model, Facilitator,
and Delegator.
Learning styles that interact with these dimensions consist of
students described as
Competitive, Collaborative, Independent, Dependent,
Participatory, and Avoidant.
The teaching-learning process involves the
interplay of these two sets of styles in the classroom. However, before
engaging this model, it would be helpful to gain a better understanding of
oneself as a teacher, issues in modifying and changing teaching styles, and
the role of a personal philosophy of teaching when trying to teach with style.
These latter issues are covered in Chapters 2 and 3.

 
The Role of Self-Reflection
49
2.
The Role of Self-Reflection in
Enhancing Our Teaching Styles
Imagine a series of clear plastic domes, one within another. You
only see them from the outside; from the inside they are invisible.
You become aware of the environment — one of those domes that
surrounds you— only when you can get outside of it. At that point
you can see it. But you can’t see the one which is now about you.
- Architect Howard Gossard
Obtaining New Perspectives on Our Teaching Styles
Getting outside the “domes” that surround us is an important part of enhancing our
teaching style. This process involves exploring underlying attitudes, values, and
assumptions about teaching and learning. It also entails challenging long-held beliefs
about ourselves, our students, and the complex processes of teaching and learning. By
seriously challenging those beliefs, we initiate processes for personal growth and
development.
Self-reflection plays a critical role in examining other perspectives about our styles
as teachers and in challenging existing beliefs. In a classic work, Donald Schon’s
The
Reflective Practitioner
[1983] describes the need for practitioners to “turn thought
back on action.” That is, to examine the relationship between what they know and
what they do. Schon indicates that this process has several components.
They may ask themselves, for example, "What features do I notice
when I recognize this thing? What are the criteria by which I make
this judgment? What procedures am I enacting when I perform this
skill? How am I framing the problem I am trying to solve?” [p. 50]
Reflection about our actions as teachers can occur during our private moments, in
discussions with colleagues and students, in a journal, or perhaps as part of the
statements about ourselves and our teaching that appear in teaching portfolios. The
overall goal of self-reflection is to learn from our experiences in order to make
ourselves better teachers. Amber Dahlin [1994] also argues that internal debates and
analyses about our instructional processes “marks teachers as problem solvers and
negates the concept of teachers as technicians, waiting for researchers, or legislators
to tell them what they need to do in their classrooms” [p. 60]. An added benefit is that
in an era in which teachers need to justify what they are doing, the insights gained
from self-reflection help us communicate the mode of inquiry in which we operate
to others.
Teaching With Style

50
Teaching With Style
Arguing for self-reflection and analysis has an “apple pie and ice-cream quality to it.”
It is a point with which few would take exception.
Yet, it may be the most difficult
task we try to do as teachers.
There are two issues that make self-reflection difficult:
Our teaching styles tend to be overlearned
. Thus, we can
execute the thoughts and behaviors associated with our
styles in a routine manner but at a very competent level of
performance. This is possible because teachers, like experts
in any field, are able to use many of the elements of their
skills without a high degree of conscious awareness. This is
because automatic mental control processes take over and
operate without conscious awareness. They include well
rehearsed modes of thinking, speaking, and behaving and
are labeled
autopilots, tacit knowledge, schemas, and mental
scripts
. Such processes allow us to conserve our limited
conscious processing capabilities for those instances when
it is absolutely needed. [Baddeley, 1986; Czikszentmihalyi,
1990; Druckman & Bjork, 1991].
One disadvantage is that functioning on “autopilot” leads to
a focus upon the outcomes of our teaching but not the
processes that got us there. Because many aspects of our
instruction are not consciously monitored, their strengths
and weaknesses are not normally examined.
Self-reflection,
however, can help us to control our natural inclinations to
operate without much attention to the underlying processes
that guide and direct our actions as teachers.
For example,
it forces us to attend to what we are saying, how we ask and
answer questions, the dynamics of small group discussions,
how the content was organized, the reactions of students to
what we are doing, and other things that normally would not
be monitored as closely.
• Under normal conditions, self-reflection is biased.
Our
attitudes, values, and other beliefs about teaching and learning
act as filters for interpreting our actions. How we understand
our actions is partly based upon what we initially believe
about ourselves. Thus, it is important to include in our
analysis of ourselves what we believe about ourselves and
how such beliefs appear in our styles as teachers.
To examine ourselves and to enhance self-understanding, we must first “step outside
of ourselves.” Howard Gossard's quote at the beginning of this section suggests that
we must move outside of the “domes” or perspectives that surround us. Several
devices can help us do this and thus allow us to come to terms with “Who am I as
a teacher?” and “What do I want to become?”
They include comparing our teaching
style to a divergent role model, examining our values, and asking imaginative
questions about our teaching.
Stepping Outside of the "Domes That Surround Us"

The Role of Self-Reflection
51
Comparing Our Styles to a Divergent Role Model
Sometimes ideas about what elements to change can be obtained by examining
another person’s teaching style. In particular, examining the elements of style
in someone who is very different than us is helpful. Such individuals often
possess qualities that force us to consider approaches to instruction we
otherwise never would have imagined. By exploring how to assimilate or
accommodate such qualities into our teaching, new possibilities for defining
ourselves emerge. Use the example of a teaching style that follows and the
questions in Self-Reflection Activity 2-1 on the next page to see how this works.
A participant in a recent workshop described how she used concepts from
humanistic psychology to teach a course in Contemporary Topics in American
History. The class was organized around ten short books that focused on an
important theme in American History. Students were required to write a 3-
4 page synopsis of the book. It included specific ways they agreed and
disagreed with the author’s point of view and the attitudes and values the
author had regarding the subject matter. Each week of the academic quarter
was devoted to discussing one of the books.
“I dropped into the background in those discussions,” she reported. “I began
class by asking, What is it that interests you?” The group sat in silence until
someone spoke. “Occasionally,” she said, “I would ask for points of
clarification or have students develop a broader implication of the point the
author was making. Mostly, I just sat there and had them talk about their
reactions. If they tried to get me to tell them what I thought, then I responded
by saying that it was more important for them to know what they thought
about the material. If they asked me to present, I simply said that presentations
were usually a very active form of learning for the presenter and I was more
interested in promoting their active involvement as learners.”
She believed in ideas advocated by Carl Rogers regarding the difficulty of
teaching one human being anything simply by talking to them. She also
believed that having students identify the attitudes and values of the authors
and then react to them led to valuable insights about the material. From her
point of view, such explorations were more valuable than anything she might
offer in the way of specific content. “My role as a teacher,” she said, “is to
facilitate the learning of my students and not to transmit content to them.”
It is impossible to read an account of this historian's approach to teaching and
not react to it. Participants in the workshop also had a difficult time. She
violates conventional wisdom about how to conduct a discussion, how to
organize a course in American History, and the role of the teacher. To react,
however, we must compare and contrast the approach she takes based on
Rogerian theory to our own. In effect, use of Rogerian theory and how her
teaching processes are compatible with it serves as a catalyst to help us
explore who we are as a teacher. In the process, we can begin to imagine
aspects of how our styles as teachers might change. Such thoughts are an
important step in beginning the process of exploring new directions for our
instruction.

52
Teaching With Style
Exploring Our Values
Have you given much thought to your values as a teacher? Are you aware of
how many of your classroom behaviors are affected by your values? Getting
in touch with what we value also can help us examine the domes that surround
us. They affect our teaching styles, for example, because they influence the
educational goals and instructional processes we pursue. The choice of
lecturing, independent term papers, or group projects reflect our values about
authority, autonomy, and collaboration. Personal values also affect our
perceptions of the classroom environment. Events are often identified and
perceived in line with our values [e.g., a teacher who values independence
will easily identify students with similar leanings].
Our positive and negative feelings are sometimes related to whether classroom-
related events correspond to our values. Faculty members who value independence,
autonomy, and self-direction are typically pleased when they discover students
who demonstrate such characteristics. They are less happy with students who are
dependent, take little initiative, and flounder about in the classroom. And when
we meet students and colleagues whose values collide or are discrepant from our
own; anger, tension, and frustration typically enters the relationship.
Reactions to the Rogerian Classroom
1.] What words, images, and feelings summarize your reactions to
her History course?
2.] Other people have reacted to her teaching by calling it creative,
innovative, problematic, exciting, a cop-out , and inappropriate.
Do you agree or disagree with such descriptions?
3.] What aspects of her teaching could you integrate into your courses?
How would you prepare your students for this style of teaching?
Self-Reflection Activity 2-1

The Role of Self-Reflection
53
1.] To see how this process works, select three of the personal values listed in
Table 2-1 on the next page and identify how each one appears in your style
as a teacher. Focus on specific behaviors you engage in that reflect these
values. For example, indicators of the presence of the value freedom might
be; "Students have an open reading list and read books of their own
choosing." Or, "Students interact with one another on course projects
without direction from the teacher."
[Value 1]
[Value 2]
[Value 3]
Also, consider how each value influences your goals and the choices you
make as a teacher, your emotions, and your general perceptions of the
classroom environment and your role as a teacher. For example, "I always
allow time in a course for students to work independently on projects.
When students resist the freedom I give them, I find myself becoming
angry. The students I dislike the most are those who want me to tell them
what to do. I see myself more as a consultant and resource person to them.
2.] List the classroom goals and/or choices you make for each value.
[Value 1]
[Value 2]
[Value 3]
Self-Reflection Activity 2-2
Personal Values and Our Teaching

54
Teaching With Style
3.] List one way each value affects your perceptions of classroom events.
[Value 1]
[Value 2]
[Value 3]
4.] Give an example of how each value influences your emotions in class.
[Value 1]
[Value 2]
[Value 3]
5.] Select two new values at random from Table 2-1. Ask yourself, “How
could these values become integrated into my teaching style?”
[Value 1]
[Value 2]
achievement
independence
rebellion
affection
dependence
inferiority
respect
initiative
alienation
discipline
integrity
rigidity
disorder
safety
security
isolation
efficiency
intimacy
justice
autonomy
truth
honesty
knowledge
sharing
freedom
equality
success
trust
comfort
peace
variety
violence
harmony
conflict
creativity
wisdom
excitement
integrity
influence
work
inclusion
progress
love
chaos
bravery
practicality
intuition
rules
charity
choice
dignity
sharing
boredom
community
disrespect
privacy
disorder
life
play
winning
responsibility
selfishness
connection
time
Table 2-1
A List of Values
Self-Reflection Activity 2-2 [
Continued
]

The Role of Self-Reflection
55
Imagine that a reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education asks to
interview you for a special section on the qualities of effective teachers.
In your mind’s eye, how would you respond to the following questions?
1.] What is a “personal best” achievement for you as a teacher
during the past two years?
2.] What aspect of your teaching would you never give up?
3.] If your could transport your classroom anywhere on the face
of the earth, where would you take it? What advantages and
disadvantages would this new location have for your teaching?
4.] What plant or animal best describes you as a teacher?
5.] What plant or animal best describes your students?
6.] Imagine that you have just returned from a trip ten years into
the future. How were you teaching your classes? How were
your teaching methods and students different?
7.] Who is the best teacher you have ever known? What personal
qualities made this person a great teacher?
8.] How do the qualities of the best teacher you knew appear
in your instruction?
9.] If you could give others a gift-wrapped box that contained the
best qualities of your teaching style, what items would that box
contain?
10.] If you could put the worst qualities you have as a teacher in
the trash, what would you throw away?
11.] What is one action you need to take to give up one or more of
the latter qualities?
12.] If you could talk to anyone who has ever lived about your
teaching and how to enhance it, who would you talk to?
13.] What advice would the person mentioned above likely give you?
14.] If you wrote a book about teaching, what would the title be?
What are three points about instruction you would make?
Questions can open up possibilities for thinking about “Who am I?” as well
as “What do I want to become as a teacher?” Good questions for accomplishing
the latter goal are those for which we have no easy answer. Of course,
imaginative questions we never believed anyone would ask us can work well
too. Sorting through the complications of the question and our responses
provides us with additional insights into our styles as teachers.
Asking Imaginative Questions about Ourselves
Self-Reflection Activity 2-3
A Very Private Interview

56
Teaching With Style
It would appear axiomatic that he who knows himself best
stands a better chance of controlling his environment and
his own fate, in the sense of recognizing more clearly
means-ends relationships and being able to reach a de-
sired goal by alternative routes.
- O.J. Harvey and H.M. Schroder
The goal of self-discovery is not to complete a journey. Rather, self-insight serves us
best when it allows us to continually refine as well as elaborate our definitions of
ourselves as teachers.
Without such insights, we run the risk of embracing teaching
strategies that simply do not fit our personal makeup.
Or, we might adopt strategies
because they are popular or there is peer pressure to do so. In both cases, the changes
in style are superficial, and like most New Year’s resolutions, they will be abandoned.
Self-reflection also forces us to examine our commitment and our self-confidence to
enact changes in our lives.
Commitment results from our analysis of the pros and cons
associated with our options for change. Those alternatives with the more favorable
qualities receive our attention. Also, a commitment to modify our instruction is
enhanced when we believe that we possess self-discipline, the willpower to persist,
an aversion to letting ourselves down, and a willingness to tolerate an occasional
setback [Grasha, 1993; Grasha & Kirschenbaum, 1986].
Our sense of self-efficacy or confidence in our ability to succeed is related to two
beliefs
[Bandura, 1986]. One is the belief that we possess the skills and abilities needed
to plan and implement change or that the means to acquire the skills needed are
available to us. The second is that if we used our skills and abilities to vary our styles
as teachers, for example, a successful outcome would result. Judgments about deficits
in either component of self-efficacy can hold us back.
Information, training, observing others trying new things, gentle encouragement, and
taking a few successful small steps can do wonders for self-confidence and our
motivation. Yet all of these things must be preceded by a certain amount of comfort
with our thoughts about possible new directions for our teaching. Self-reflection and
analysis about “Who I am as a teacher and what do I want to become” are important
parts of achieving the latter goal.
This process of self-reflection and analysis cannot
be short-circuited, and in my experience, it is not valued enough
. The following
critical incidents illustrate the importance of the latter point.
The Role of Self-Reflection in Modifying Teaching Style
A small liberal arts college holds a faculty development day at the
beginning of the school year. This is the first time the college has
sponsored such a day, and it is devoted to the topic of learning
styles and their instructional implications. The dean hopes the
time spent will translate into specific improvements in the
classroom. The program is structured so that during the morning I
introduce the faculty to issues in using learning styles. I am thanked
The Case of the Disappointed Committee

The Role of Self-Reflection
57
for my contributions, given lunch, and I left campus.
A faculty committee runs the afternoon session action plans to
incorporate information about learning styles into the classrooms.
Very few detailed plans are developed and a follow-up showed
that out of the sixty-five people in attendance, twelve reported that
they had used information from the workshop during the term.
for my contribution, and after lunch I left campus.
Analysis
The problem was that the facilitator had spent two decades think-
ing about learning styles and its classroom applications. Those
faculty attending were given three hours of content and expected
to somehow develop and implement action plans based on such
information.
Learning styles provide another dome to understand ourselves,
our students, and our teaching. The mistake is to assume that
simply being show a new dome or perspective is enough. Time
for reflection is needed before the information can be integrated.
The Case of the Faulty Faculty Development Week
A two year technical school holds a week long faculty development
conference. Once again the goal is to have faculty take information
from a parade of speakers and workshop leaders and integrate it
into the classroom. This faculty development activity occurs the
week before classes begin. Not a single hour during that week is
devoted to time for the faculty to privately think about the issues
raised or to plan their courses for the next term. The dean did not
trust the faculty to use such time wisely yet expected that somehow
information from the faculty development programs would be
integrated into the classroom.
Analysis
The assumption here is that being exposed to information will
somehow lead to it being used. Self-reflection time is seen as un-
necessary and it is programmed out of the activities. In this case,
it is done because of the dean’s focus on task, a lack of trust that
the faculty would use the extra-time wisely, and a lack of apprecia-
tion for self-reflection.
The Case of the Disloyal Faculty Member
A large university has a fund to support faculty development
activities. Members of the faculty must write a proposal to obtain
such funds. One person asks for money to attend two conferen-
ces dealing with collaborative learning processes. This particu-

58
Teaching With Style
lar individual is seen as needing as much help as possible. Thus,
the department head enthusiastically endorses the proposal. Six
months later, her department head asks what changes have been
made in the classroom. The faculty member replies, “Actually, none so
far. I’ve been thinking about what I’m doing and how collaborative
learning processes might be used in my teaching. So far, I have some
general ideas but nothing concrete in mind.”
The department head becomes angry and replies , “I really feel
betrayed by your attitude. I went out on a limb to help you get
the money and you still don’t have anything to show for it. I fail
to see what’s so difficult about adding a few new things to your
classes.”
Analysis
Self-reflection cannot be rushed. People need to develop some
sense of intellectual comfort with new ideas about teaching
before they have a chance of getting into the classroom. This
process takes time and unfortunately other people do not always
appreciate this fact. Those who are not making progress in
changing their teaching, or who on the surface appear to be doing
nothing, are in some cases still thinking about it. Some are doing
so seriously while others are perhaps locked into procrastination.
Yet, all too often department heads, deans, individuals involved
in faculty development, and those faculty who are well into their
changing their teaching are impatient with those who seem to be
“standing in place.”
An important point in each of the cases is that taking time to think is an integral
part of any process of personal change.
In my experience, the amount of time
such reflection and internal debate takes is seldom appreciated nor is adequate
time always put aside for it. Part of the problem is that those individuals most
interested in facilitating change in others [i.e., department heads, deans, colleagues,
individuals working in faculty development] are impatient for it to occur.
Everyone wants to see their ideas quickly put into action. Consequently, the
seemingly slow pace at which implementation occurs can become frustrating.
Furthermore, those who have already made significant changes in their approach
to instruction often cannot understand why others cannot do the same thing. As
one colleague said, “I made a number of changes in my teaching and what I did
could be done by almost everyone. I don’t know what’s holding others back.” In
my experiences, such views occur out of the mistaken belief that people are not
that much different from each other. Finally, there is a tendency to assume that
the major part of the changes needed are mechanical. That is, all someone has to
do is learn new techniques and to apply them to their classes.

The Role of Self-Reflection
59
The latter reasons tell more about what others want than they do about the needs of
the individual contemplating change.
Those promoting change are sometimes
insensitive to the needs of faculty who are contemplating a modification in their
approach to instruction.
They fail to recognize the amount of inner turmoil associated
with modifying instructional processes. They also fail to take into account how much
people teach to a projected image of themselves that is difficult to discard.
Finally,
there is not enough recognition that someone's style as a teacher is a part of one's
personality.
Let us examine each of the latter issues in more detail.
What Others Seldom See in Faculty Considering Change
The Inner Turmoil Associated with Change
Old habits and thought patterns typically are not given up easily and a mental
tug- of- war between old ways and new ways of doing things occurs. This
battle is not easily won. Old ways of teaching, for example, are overlearned
while new approaches must be assimilated or accommodated into mental
structures that have taken a long time to develop. Unless there are very
compelling reasons to change, this integration normally takes time.
In discussing this inner turmoil, William Bridges notes that several psychological
processes are involved in letting go of the past.
We must disengage and stop
identifying with old habits and patterns of thinkin
g. Perhaps this is best summed
up by the New Year’s Eve theme of
out with the old and in with the new.
Unfortunately, it is not that easy. We can neither wish new changes into our lives
nor can we simply throw away past habits and thinking patterns without
remembering the strong role they played. Rather, it typically happens only
after we work through our disenchantment with such things. To do so often
leads to periods of frustration, anxiety, and a certain amount of disorientation.
After all, each of us needs some familiar structures to hang on to. Even if a
familiar manner of teaching is no longer working well for us, at least it
provides a structure for how to conduct a class.
We must of course get used to new ideas and this requires that several things
happen. One is that variations in our teaching styles must first become
integrated into alternate ways of thinking about ourselves as teachers.
Furthermore, a variety of new rules, mental schemas, and sensorimotor
scripts for executing the changes we desire must be developed. Any new
thoughts and actions also must compete with their overlearned counterparts
for our attention.
In effect, our old habits must be overridden and this does not happen easily.
Old habits have the benefit being familiar and routine and can be executed
quickly and without much conscious thought. Being less familiar, new ways
of thinking and behaving require more conscious processing time and their
execution initially can be awkward. Unlike old habits, the benefits of a
smooth and automatic execution take time to develop. Thus, there is likely to
be some discomfort while trying to employ them.

60
Teaching With Style
For example, a colleague recently attended a faculty development workshop and
was intrigued with the idea of using case studies to help students develop critical
thinking skills. He normally used a traditional lecture-discussion approach to
teaching. In discussing his reactions to the workshop, he made the following comments:
I understand that case studies can promote active learning and
critical analysis. But I can cover so much more content in my
lectures than I could if I used cases. I’m also not good at dis-
cussing issues I raised with a class. I don’t know if I could handle
a group that could go off in directions I did not want to go. It’s
hard enough getting them to prepare for class with what I do
now, how on earth can I get them to do the preparation needed
to discuss a case?”
Thoughts about new ways of doing things are contrasted with the old and the
familiar. The struggle over giving up what I know I do best to encounter the
unknown is evident in his reactions. After conducting this internal debate over
a period of three months, he eventually decided to try using the case study
method. He did so, however, only after thinking of ways his objections to this
form of teaching could be managed. And, he only did so for a handful of
classes in order to add a little variety to his instruction.
Many faculty in my experience adopt teaching strategies that they would be
most comfortable with if they were the students. This comes across in
statements such as: “I would have loved some teacher to have given me the
information I presented today. No one seemed moved by what I said.” Or,
“When I was a student, I would have quickly debated any teacher who said
what I did. They just did not react as I did to the information.” The fact that
many people tend to teach as they were taught also speaks to their comfort with
instructional processes that structure teacher-student interactions in familiar
ways. In effect many faculty teach to a projected image of themselves and
such projections are difficult to discard.
People often want the comfort of past ways of relating to others and at times
prefer to treat current relationships
as if
they reflected those from their past.
Such tendencies are well documented and described in the context of object-
relations theory [Cashdan, 1988]. This approach to relationships suggests that
we become disappointed and frustrated when current relationships do not
match expectations that largely are grounded in our past experiences. Thus,
someone who was comfortable with the teacher as an authority and a rigid
status hierarchy in student-teacher relationships will strive to reproduce it in
the future. Anything that threatens such needs is likely to be resisted.
In effect, we tend to structure current situations and to influence others in
ways that allow past wishes, desires, and needs to be expressed.
Everyone
A Desire for Familiar Teaching Habits
A Desire for Familiar Teacher-Student Relationships

The Role of Self-Reflection
61
The Relationship of Personal Identity and Teaching Style
is susceptible to such influences. The extent to which we can shape current
relationships to reflect desirable qualities of those from our past can help us
reduce stress in our interactions with others.
To change one’s teaching, however, often means that new ways of relating
to students must be established. This means that some of what we most desire
from our past must be modified or perhaps given-up. Unfortunately, anything
in our lives we invest energy in is often not easily put aside.
“Asking faculty to modify their teaching style is like asking them to change
their personality,” a psychotherapist friend once remarked. Her comment
occurred in the context of a discussion about the problem of getting college
faculty to adopt alternative modes of instruction. I initially resisted her
suggestion but soon realized the valuable insight it provided.
All of us, have aspects of our beliefs, attitudes, values, motives, and other
personal characteristics bundled up in our daily activities. Someone who
begins a class with the statement “I’m going to cover a considerable amount
of material this term as I talk about ....” is likely to have a different set of
personality characteristics than an instructor who begins class by stating,
“You are going to learn the content by independent study projects.” The
former likely prefers a more teacher centered style of instruction while the
latter individual prefers more of a facilitative style to help students learn.
Getting either instructor to adopt the other’s approach will involve more than
simply showing them how to use each other’s methods.
The choice of a
teaching method is in part dictated by one’s personality.
This is one reason
why research comparing the relative efficacy of different teaching processes
must be cautiously interpreted. For example, people who decide to teach
large or small classes, who use computer assisted instruction or who employ
peer assisted instructional methods have self-selected those methods. In
effect, the methods and the personality of the individuals employing them are
intertwined.
In my experience, people are more likely to adopt alternative teaching
methods if they provide a comfortable match to their personal dispositions.
Thus, someone who values control over their environment is more likely to
consider an approach to involving students that also keeps the teacher in the
foreground. In contrast, someone with fewer needs for personal control may
opt for teaching strategies where classroom tasks are delegated to small
groups of students to complete. The teacher stays in the background as a
consultant and resource person to students.
It was largely my friend’s comments that helped me to understand one of the
sources of resistance to change. It also forced me to keep in mind the
intrapersonal context in which someone’s teaching style is embedded.

62
Teaching With Style
Self-Reflection Activity 2-4
The Side of You Others Seldom See
Complete the following sentences.
1.] The old habits of teaching I need to disengage from are .......
2.] Three words that best describe my inner turmoil when I think about mak-
ing significant changes in my approach to teaching are ....
3.] Teaching to a projected image of myself does [or does not] apply to me be-
cause ... [Hint: Think of how elements of your teaching would make you
comfortable if you were a student in the class.]
4.] One aspect of this projected image I admire is ....
5.] One aspect of this projected image I need to change is ....
6.] I tend to structure my teaching in order to allow the following needs and
desires to be expressed.....
7.] My approach to teaching matches my personality in that .....

The Role of Self-Reflection
63
Self-Reflection and the Cycle of Change in Teaching
The product of self-knowledge is to create more responsibility,
more choice. Just being able to describe one’s habitual patterns
will not necessarily lead to more choice. Understanding, clari-
fying, and admitting to yourself the structure of your response
pattern is a necessary, but insufficient condition for creating
alternative responses.
- Richard Curwin and Barbara Fuhrmann
Self-reflection alone is not enough. It is part of a larger scheme of factors needed to
initiate changes in our approaches to instruction An extension of James prochaska’s
model of change to modifying teaching styles integrates self-understanding with a
larger set of variables responsible for personal growth [Prochaska, 1991; Prochaska
et al., 1992]. The basic features of his model are described in Table 2-2.
Research suggests that it takes time for anyone to muster the courage and resolve to
change. Prochaska finds that people may spend months and years in the
precontemplative and contemplative stages before making at least minimal changes
in their behaviors. This may be one reason why some of us recognize problems with
our teaching, we sense what needs to be done, yet needed actions are not immediately
taken. In effect, our cognitive network of attitudes and values must first be realigned
to support a particular change. The attitudes, beliefs, and values supporting current
teaching practices have in many cases taken years to develop.
Thus, there is no reason
to expect that the attitudes, beliefs, and values needed to support alternative and
possibly more effective modes of teaching will change overnight.
In addition, the stages are a continuing cycle that all of us undergo in a variety of areas
of our everyday lives. This cycle is illustrated in Figure 2-1. It is important to note
that once a change is initiated, achieving our goal is only one outcome. It is possible
for a relapse to occur or for older habits to intrude. Old habits often intrude because
they are overlearned, familiar, and there is some comfort in retreating to them.
A key element in the cycle of change is how people handle relapses.
They are a normal
part of any attempts to vary aspects of our teaching. Taking two steps forward and
one step backwards is not atypical. Thus, relapses as well as slow progress should be
recognized as the norm and we should use them as learning experiences.
Unfortunately, relapses are not always used for learning what not to do next time.
Instead, some individuals engage in self-criticism for not accomplishing their goals
and objectives. Those who can avoid such tendencies are more successful in
changing their lives. An important element here is the use of self-coaching strategies
such as, “Ok, so you didn't do everything you wanted. No big deal, you still have time
to improve. Let's do it this way next time.” [Grasha, 1995].
The key to managing relapses is to become your own best friend and not your own
worst enemy. Otherwise, a self-defeating attitude develops and attempts to produce
effective changes in our lives are hampered.

64
Teaching With Style
Stage
Thoughts
Characteristics
Table 2-2
The Prochaska Model Applied To Teaching
I’ve achieved the
changes I wanted
to make and it
feels good. I have
every right to feel
proud of my
accomplishments.
Teachers are relatively unaware of
the problem. They feel no immediate
and pressing need to change.
Colleagues, administrators, and
students are often more aware that
problems exist.
Serious thought is given to making
certain changes. The pros and cons
as well as the costs in terms of time
and energy of taking various courses
of action are considered. Some
individuals remain in this stage for
several months or years. Someone
may respond to pressures from
others to change but there is very
little commitment. They typically
stop when the pressure is off.
Specific plans are developed and
very small changes in instruction
are initiated to test the water.
Intentions are converted to goals and
appropriate patterns of thoughts and
actions are initiated. Relapses to old
habits can be a problem.
Attempts are made to consolidate
gains and to continue the changes.
The prevention of relapses to old
ways of doing things is also a
concern.
.
The ability to maintain the changes
has been a success and new
approaches to instruction have
been integrated into the classroom.
Periodic feedback and reflection is
still needed to fine tune one’s
efforts. The new approaches have
been fully integrated into one’s
attitudes and values about teaching.
Precontemplation
Contemplation
Preparation
Action
Maintenance
Termination
I don’t have any
problems in my
teaching that need
to be changed.
I know what I
need to do but I’m
not ready to act
yet.
I’m ready to do
something but I
want to go slowly.
I’m now doing
something about
the issues I’m
facing.
I’m doing what it
takes to be able to
stick with it and
I’m committed to
these changes for
a long time.

The Role of Self-Reflection
65
People who are successful in making changes in their lives appear to
have three characteristics.
They try to learn from their mistakes.
They do not blame themselves or overly chastise themselves
for slow progress or relapses to older ways of doing things.
They fall back into the contemplation stage to think things
over and to decide how to try again in the future.
Prochaska’s research also suggests two basic principle about personal growth.
People wanting to change need time to think. Those wanting to change
others need to allow them time to think.
Rushing into the preparation and
action stages too early is likely to produce two outcomes.
Resistance to change.
Resistance to change in instruction is not
always the old guard holding out and trying to sabotage new
ideas. Such resistance might better be understood in terms of
some individuals needing additional time to reframe their be-
liefs about the teaching-learning process. Over the years, more
Figure 2-1:
Cycles of Change in the Prochaska Model: Once initiated, changes in behavior
do not always lead to an expected outcome or termination. Relapses to old habits are always
a possibility. The majority of those who relapse typically revert back to the contemplation
stage and the process continues from that point.

66
Teaching With Style
The results of trying to change too quickly are likely to be less than
desired.
One instructor told me how he modified his English
Literature course from a lecture-discussion format to one where
collaborative learning activities were employed. He did this about
halfway through a semester and only a few days after attending a
workshop on collaborative learning strategies. The students resisted
the change in the classroom procedures. They were not prepared for
it and he was not particularly adept in facilitating some of the new
ways of learning. In retrospect, it might have been more effective
to gradually introduce collaborative learning processes into his
course.
Along similar lines, follow-up data to various workshops and
seminars I have conducted over the past two decades suggests that
only 10-15% of the participants will take some of what they learned
and use it to enhance their teaching. This data can be further
understood in terms of the two categories of people who attend
faculty development activities. One group were those faculty who
wanted to be
reborn and invigorated.
They appeared ready for
moving from contemplation to the preparation and action stages.
Others attended to be
affirmed.
For the most part, they wanted their
current ideas and biases acknowledged as legitimate.
My experiences
suggest that the latter tend to be more numerous than the former.
The last two outcomes typically lead to frustration among those on
campuses wanting to facilitate faculty development in teaching or
otherwise to promote changes in instructional processes. A predictable
response is for campus change agents to view the lack of readiness
as a personal deficit among those not willing to adopt new ideas.
[Yes, even those in faculty development are sometimes guilty of the
fundamental attribution bias; i.e., the tendency to assign blame to
personal dispositions]. Based on the discussion here, however, such
conclusions are probably unwarranted. It is quite possible that a
number of so-called
resisters
are in the precontemplative and
contemplative stages of change. Rather than chastised, some simply
need additional time to think and activities that encourage processes
of self-reflection should be developed and implemented.
than one teacher has said to me, “I like what you are saying, I can see
how it might help me, but I’m just not ready to change what I’m doing
yet. I need more time to think about what I want to do.”

The Role of Self-Reflection
67
Factors That Facilitate the Cycle of Change
The model for change not only describes critical processes needed to modify one's
instruction, but it also suggests ideas that are helpful for engaging each of the stages
in the cycle of change. Several ideas for you to consider are presented in Table 2- 3.
Perhaps the overriding point is that trying to modify one's teaching is not unlike
learning any new set of skills. It basically takes time, patience, and practice.
The
latter point may seem obvious but it is worth mentioning. Over the years, I have
encountered faculty who have said, “I tried what you said once and it didn't work.”
I know of very few skills that I would subject to such a stringent criterion. After all,
most of us play some sport, musical instrument, or operate a computer or other
difficult piece of equipment. Most of us did not give up the first time our efforts were
not successful.
Part of the problem here is that some individuals assume that teaching should not take
so much work. Or, at least, its not worth it to them to spend a lot of extra time honing
their skills. After all, as one colleague told me, “I'm going to get ahead in this field
based on my scholarship and not my teaching.” When someone with this attitude
considers alternatives to current instructional practices, my experiences suggests it
is often with an eye towards how much time and effort it will take. Thus, if the method
fails to show immediate results, it is often abandoned in favor of older and familiar
ways of behaving.
Another reason for the
I tried it once and it did not work
attitude is a tendency for
some individuals to distance themselves from the particular method employed. That
is, the attitude appears to be,
if the method failed, then the method failed.
Rather than
question the intensity of their effort, their motivation to do well, and their skill in
employing it, the failure is ascribed to the a deficiency in the teaching process.
For some, this stringent standard of immediate results is typically reserved for new
teaching processes. Somehow, the need for practice, persistence, and fine-tuning
one's skills are not as readily applied to matters of teaching and learning. The latter
statement is not an attempt to blame others for what they should not be. Rather it
forms the basis for an analogy or metaphor for what it takes to change in teaching.
Namely, if one imagined what it was like to learn a new skill in some other area and
how various errors, mistakes, and setbacks were overcome, then the implications
become clear.
The same processes effectively used elsewhere can be employed in
developing one's skills in teaching. In particular, research shows that time on task,
practice, a sensitivity to feedback, a willingness to learn from one's mistakes, and a
desire to meet standards of excellence produce results
[Druckman & Bork, 1991].
Proficiency in teaching, however, takes time to develop and it cannot be short-
circuited. In teaching and elsewhere, it is probably 10% inspiration and 90%
perspiration. This would appear to be true whether one looks at teaching as a set of
skills, an art form, or some combination of the two. It seldom comes easy to anyone.

68
Teaching With Style
Table 2-3
Change Processes at Each Stage of the Cycle
• Think about the positive and negative effects that current teaching processes
have upon you and your satisfaction with your role.
• Read books and journal articles that describe innovations in instruction
within your discipline.
• Participate in workshops and seminars where alternative approaches to
instruction are discussed.
• Begin a log or journal on teaching. Write a short autobiography about your life
as a teacher. Compose some poetry on teaching. Write a fictional story about
the teaching-learning process.
Preparation
Action
• Reevaluate your current practices. Imagine yourself using alternatives in
a course and how you and your students would respond.
• Form a list of the pros and cons associated with specific changes you made.
• Study the teaching portfolios and syllabi of colleagues for ideas to use.
• Take the time to develop skills you believe you are deficient in. Attend
workshops, read books on particular teaching methods, and ask for assistance
from informed colleagues.
• Seek support by getting colleagues to join you or to discuss your ideas.
• Proceed in small steps and periodically reward your effort and progress.
• Develop lists to remind yourself about what actions you need to take.
• Rehearse in your “minds eye” the things you want to try before doing so in class.
Focus on what you will be saying and doing.
•Arrange your teaching environment to facilitate the changes you want to make.
[e.g., seating arrangements, size of room, lighting, equipment].
• Consciously coach yourself through the thoughts and actions you want to take.
Maintenance
Precontemplation/Contemplation
• Identify at least three class sessions a term you want to get feedback on. Ask
students to use a 1-7 rating scale to rate the session overall where a 1 = worst
session I have attended and a 7= the best session ever. Next ask them to
identify 1-2 specific things you did that led them to give you the rating. Then
ask for 1-2 things you could have done that would have enabled them to give
you a 7. Finally ask students to list 1-2 things they could have done to have
made this the best session possible.
• Reflect on how the changes appear to be working out using as a baseline how
you used to teach. Ask a peer to observe and comment.
• Set a
self-destruct
date to make a decision about whether or not you will
continue to employ the changes you have initiated.
• Use inevitable relapses and mistakes as an opportunity to learn. Always ask,
"What did I do well and not so well?” “What changes must I make?”
• Develop a teaching portfolio to evaluate and monitor your efforts to change.
• Talk to colleagues, students, and others about what you have tried and the
outcomes. Keep others informed and ask for advice and assistance.

The Role of Self-Reflection
69
Self-Reflection Activity 2-5
Reflections on Your Position
in the Cycle of Change
1.] What is one change you have considered making in your teaching style?
2.] Where are you currently located in the cycle of change described in Table 2-3
and Figure 2-1 with the change in teaching style identified above?
3.] Are you currently where you need to be in the change cycle? Give a reason.
4.] What are two or three ideas in Table 2-3 that you need to consider in order to
move forward in the cycle and/or to maintain those variations in your
teaching style that are already underway?
Factors That Hinder the Cycle of Change
Engaging in self-reflection and analysis is a necessary first step in modifying one’s teaching.
The trick, however, is to avoid becoming locked into analyzing a situation without taking the
actions needed to correct it. This is sometimes called “analysis paralysis.” At some point in
time, the analysis must end and then be immediately followed by thoughts such as “I need
to take the following actions now....!” This latter realization is the catalyst that allows people
to engage the other elements of the change process.

70
Teaching With Style
To move into the action mode of modifying our teaching styles, two types of
cognitive barriers must be managed.
Defensive patterns of thinking about ourselves must be identified
and managed.
Such processes adversely affect our ability to honestly
and objectively engage in the self-reflection needed. This interferes
with our inability to develop a realistic appraisal of our current
teaching styles. What we are currently doing receives a somewhat
biased and distorted interpretation. Typically such factors operate
in a self-serving manner designed to protect our preferred image of
ourselves.
Elements of our cognitive styles and absolute and extreme modes
of thinking must be countered.
Such things often prevent or stop
us from initiating and following through on needed actions.
One way to short-circuit the latter factors is to follow Ellen Langer’s advice and
become
mindful
of them. She argues that we must consciously focus on the latter
factors so that their influences are brought into conscious awareness. This involves
identifying each one and to then analyze the role it plays in our ability [or inability]
to make needed modifications in our instruction [Langer, 1989].
Patterns of Thinking That Affect Taking
Actions to Change
All of us use a variety of conscious and unconscious thought processes to manage and
to protect our preferred images of ourselves. And when it comes to assessing our
teaching, few of us are willing to admit that problems exist in some aspects of what
we do in the classroom.
Such tendencies can be seen in statements such as:
• Students just aren’t as interested in this topic as they
were when I went to school.
• Student ratings of how well I’m doing are a waste of time.
They are nothing more than a popularity contest. I’m a
much better teacher than some of these students think I am.
• Teaching around here would be a lot more fun if we had
better students. I wish the admissions people would do a
better job.
Unfortunately, such analyses of student interest, evaluations of our performance, or
the quality of the student body takes us away from asking; “How can I make a topic
more interesting to students?” “In what ways are student perceptions of my teaching
accurate?” “Are the problems I’m experiencing really with the quality of the
students? Have I done all that I can do to “play the hand that I’ve been dealt?”
There is a potential pitfall associated with trying to answer the latter questions.
Rather than acknowledging a problem and taking actions to remedy it, we may
develop a biased view of the situation and the image of ourselves in it.
We then may

The Role of Self-Reflection
71
fail to deal with any problems identified in a realistic manner. Effectively our
understanding of what is happening, our role in the event, and what remedies are
needed can become distorted.
Some people, for example, may imagine that they posses qualities that in reality
seldom appear in their actions. One colleague likened his teaching style to someone
who takes novice learners on a journey through the wilderness. Several of his
students reported that his courses felt more like “being lost in a wilderness.” Still
others might deny that some personal characteristics play a role in their teaching. Few
would admit that their teaching lacks excitement or that their presentation of
information lacks clarity and organization. Yet such qualities are a part of the
instructional practices of some faculty in every college.
A few teachers also may rationalize that their disorganized lectures, for example,
have a positive influence on students. As one faculty member told me, “Students
learn more when they can organize information and clarify things for themselves.
Why should I have to do it for them?”
In working with college faculty, I find that several defensive patterns of thinking
occur. Each interferes with self-reflection and the ability to eventually engage the
action stage in the cycle of change.
Defensive Avoidance
A recognition that things are not going well emerges. Instead of taking action,
people believe they have little hope of finding a solution. People affected by
defensive avoidance appear to be saying, “What’s the use of thinking about
it, there’s little that I can do about it anyway. ”Understandably
, people
adhering to such attitudes are likely to see further reflection and analysis as
a waste of time.
Defensive avoidance takes several forms.
Some individuals rationalize the problem
and make up reasons why it does
not exist or they develop explanations for why they should not take action.
A teacher of literature contacted me hoping I would help her discount a
number of poor evaluations of her teaching. She was convinced that students
were not a good judge of the quality of her instruction. Rather than try to
identify the consistent themes in what the students were saying, and to think
about what was accurate, she said, ”I’ve been teaching this way for years and
I must be doing something right. Just because a few students are acting out
against my authority is no reason to change my methods. They are hardly in
a position to judge the quality of what I am doing. “
Others may procrastinate and put off taking action.
Such tendencies are
understandable when someone becomes anxious and uncomfortable with
some aspects of their teaching. Unsure of what to do, they choose to do
nothing. One participant in a workshop told me that he was asked by his
department head to teach a large lecture class on U.S. History. “Teaching 150
students in one room is not what I do best,” he confided. But we were
shorthanded that year so I became a good soldier and did what he asked.

72
Teaching With Style
His lecture style was in his own words “straightforward, it lacked emotion,
and I was probably not as organized as I could be.” He also noted that student
responses were predictable. “Many cut class, those that showed had an air of
indifference about them and getting a discussion going was nearly impossible.
“Quite frankly,” he told me, I was at a loss for what to do to turn this class around.
It bothered me, I was anxious and often dreaded meeting with that class. In effect,
I decided that nothing could be done. I was out of my league in a large class so I
opted to “grin and bear it” until a suitable replacement could be found.
Unfortunately, his department head followed a familiar unwritten rule that the
last person to teach the course gets to do it again. He kept the course for four
years until as he said, “they found someone more suitable.”
Finally, a few people engage in defensive avoidance by trying to “pass the buck”
and in effect attempt to get someone else to bail them out. Those of us who have
worked closely with faculty are familiar with this strategy. Assistance is requested,
the consultant shows up and is met with the following question. “I want you to tell
me exactly what I need to do to turn this class around.” To “tell” under such
circumstances is a trap that must be avoided. The appropriate response is to engage
someone through observations and discussions about their teaching where they
identify issues and actions that must be taken.
In some departments, a variation on the latter strategy occurs. Some faculty
members may teach a course they dislike or that is not going well and then
look for opportunities to pass it on to someone else. The “someone else” is
often a junior faculty member, a new hire, or an adjunct. There is nothing
wrong with wanting to teach other things. Typically, however, some instructors
see passing it off as preferable to engaging in the analysis and reflection to
make it better.
Denial
While some recognize a problem but choose inaction, others refuse to admit
that some aspect of their teaching needs to be examined. The phrase “out of
sight, out of mind” describes the stance that such individuals take.
In effect,
the unwillingness to recognize an issue negates the need for self-reflection.
A College of Business Administration I visited had serious problems with a
first year course required of all majors. “In theory, the course made lots of
sense,” one of the people involved told me. The students would be exposed
to “what’s it really like to enter the world of business and high finance.” She
explained that three faculty members were assigned to team teach the course
and to select topics that “anyone entering the business world had to know
about.” The faculty members decided to use a large auditorium for the two-
hundred students and to have junior and senior majors lead small discussion
groups outside of the large group sessions.

The Role of Self-Reflection
73
Several problems soon emerged. The faculty members disagreed on what
topics should be taught. The team teaching soon became “You take one class
session and I’ll take the next one.” Unfortunately, lecturing to large groups
was not something they did particularly well and students became dissatisfied.
Rules for course grades were changed in midstream and when the students
complained the faculty members choose to argue with them in the large
auditorium.
Student complaints about the course were largely ignored. One of the faculty
members involved told me, “We basically assumed it was, “the usual
moaning and groaning of students who just didn’t want to go to class.” The
faculty involved did not seriously ask questions such as; “What are we doing
that makes the students dissatisfied?” Or, “How can we make this a better
experience for everyone concerned?”
The answers to the latter questions demand self-reflection and analysis. They
cannot be asked or answered as long as someone denies that a problem exists.
If left alone, the problems someone refuses to admit exist typically get worse.
Eventually, it becomes much more difficult to deny their existence. Indeed,
this is what happened with the business course. After two months, less than
one-third of the students showed up for class, those that did attend became
openly hostile towards the teachers, and the dean’s office was inundated with
complaints. It was in the words of one faculty member, “A real mess.”
So widespread was the dissatisfaction, that all administrators in the college and
a significant number of faculty became concerned. The dean publicly apologized
to the students, promised that their concerns would be addressed. He initiated a
self-study of the course and the added reflection paid off. The course was
redesigned, the students were happier, and a lesson in the “wages of denial” was
acquired by all of those responsible for the initial version of the course.
Defensive Pessimism
When people begin to think about and analyze their teaching, some of their
thoughts eventually come around to “what can I do differently in the future
and what outcomes can I expect.” Not everyone has an optimistic view of the
future. Sometimes negative or inaccurate images of the future are generated
as a means of self-protection. In effect, people hedge their bets and prefer to
see a worst -case scenario. This tendency towards defensive pessimism is a
self-handicapping strategy.
It affects someone’s ability to self-reflect and
analyze their teaching because it overemphasizes potential negative
consequences of one’s actions.
It may provide a certain amount of protection
because if things go wrong, those using this strategy can say to themselves,
“See, I knew modifying my teaching style would not work.” Or, if things did
work out for the best, they can remain pleasantly surprised.
In my experience, defensive pessimism is often associated with teachers who
by any objective measure of their abilities are quite competent. For some
reason, they have a difficult time allowing themselves the luxury of admitting
this to themselves. I am reminded of a former client who spent 18 months

74
Teaching With Style
trying to learn how to run discussion groups, case studies, and role plays
effectively in his political science courses. Throughout this period of time, he
was sure “I’ll fall on my face when I try this and I’ll be really fortunate if this
works out as well as you think it will.”
In spite of himself, his teaching improved, he was able to modify his approach
to teaching, and students were impressed with his efforts. I recently heard that
he was given an outstanding teaching award by his college. I’m almost
convinced that when I ask he’ll probably smile and say, “I guess I was lucky.”
Defensive Attributions
A fundamental principle of human behavior is that our actions are always a
function of personal dispositions [e. g., genetic makeup, needs and motives,
intellectual capacity, personality traits] and forces in our environment. To
adequately understand why a faculty member teaches a particular way, and
why problems develop in a course, one must come to terms with the influence
of both factors.
A related principle of human behavior is that people find it convenient to
ignore the latter principle. Research indicates that most of us error in
emphasizing either personal dispositions or factors in the environment to
explain why we or other people take certain actions.
Attribution biases affect
self-reflection because they lead us to focus on a limited number of factors
responsible for issues in our teaching.
Because we develop through experiences certain biases for interpreting
events, our preferences for personal and situational responsibility for events
are remarkably predictable. Two types of errors, the actor-observer bias and
the fundamental attribution bias tend to dominate. Each leads us to conclude
that factors outside of our own beliefs and actions are largely responsible for
whatever problems are experienced in our teaching.
The
actor-observer
bias is a tendency to focus on factors in the situation to
explain events for which we are personally responsible. An instructor
encountering a lack of interest or involvement in students typically blames
the students, the classroom facilities, the time of day, or the required nature
of the course. What is usually ignored or overlooked is his or her personal
responsibility for the lack of involvement.
Or, when focusing on the students behaviors, explanations for their actions
are sought in real or imagined personal dispositions. Thus, they may be seen
as lazy, uninterested in the material, intellectually deficient, or fatigued from
taking too many classes. This
fundamental attribution
bias forces us to look
for dispositional causes of student responses and to down play situational
influences including instructors assuming their fair share of the problem.
Studies suggest that in western cultures, this is the default mode of our
information processing system when faced with the problem of “Why did this
action occur.” Our experiences and cultural values emphasize individual

The Role of Self-Reflection
75
initiative and responsibility and this naturally affects our perceptions of why
people behave in certain ways. It is a deeply ingrained bias and to short-circuit
it demands that we not only recognize its existence but force ourselves to
consider possible situational influences for the actions we dislike in others.
The combination of the actor-observer and the fundamental attribution
biases prevents the self-reflection needed to change problems in the classroom.
Since the blame is largely externalized, something out there needs to change
in order to make the situation tolerable. Thus, it is easy to “blame the
situation” and in the process ignore personal responsibility for the problem
and its solution. Complete Self-Reflection Activity 2-6 to assess the presence
of the such tendencies when analyzing your teaching.
This does not mean that situational influences including student attitudes and
behaviors are trivial concerns. They also must be examined in any serious
attempt to analyze problems in the classroom. However, to focus exclusively
on them is a mistake because students are unlikely to change unless faculty
change their ways. One of the outcomes of my research on the classroom
behaviors of students is that their attitudes and classroom behaviors can be
modified with changes in the classroom environment. Course methods, for
example, that emphasize and consistently reinforce student involvement and
active learning encourage more participation and less dependence on the
instructor. The intellectual excitement and interest on the part of students that
many teachers want begins to emerge.
More will be said about such outcomes in a later section of this book. The
important point is that teachers are finding it easier to get what they want in
a course when they create a classroom environment that facilitates desired
outcomes. A process of personal reflection and analysis is critical to making
such changes. So too is a recognition that the attribution biases mentioned in
this section only detract from obtaining the self-awareness and insight
needed to initiate needed changes in the classroom.
Problematic Cognitive Styles
Our thinking processes are like a double edged sword.
They help us to
manage our lives effectively, but certain patterns of thinking can block our
ability to take action. Graduate training tends to place an emphasis on
analytical skills and values the process of intellectual insight and discovery.
Studying a situation carefully and cautiously approaching a problem is a part
of the training most academicians receive. It largely works and the scholarship
in any discipline is a testament to the effectiveness of using such thought
processes.
On the other hand, there are aspects of our thinking processes that affect our
ability to analyze our teaching and to make needed changes. One way to
approach this problem is to use concepts from Carl Jung’s theory discussed
in Chapter 1. His model of personality type emphasizes aspects of how we
perceive our environment, make decisions, resolve problems, and otherwise
process information. Thus, it identifies important components of our cognitive

76
Teaching With Style
Self-Reflection Activity 2-6
Asking What “I Do” and Not What “They Do”
Defensive ways of interpreting situations can be countered by refocusing how
questions are framed about problems we experience in teaching. Thus, when
the focus of attention is directed towards the students, other people, and factors
in the environment, it is easy to assign blame outside of myself. A healthier
perspective is to shift the focus of attention to
what I do
. When
I
is kept figural
in the examination of issues in teaching, and I do not allow myself to consider
what
they do,
it is possible to get beyond defensive modes of responding
While looking in a mirror, how would you answer the following questions?
1.] What attitudes and behaviors in students do my teaching methods tend to
encourage and are they likely to create the excitement and interest in the
content of the course I desire?
2.] How do I currently blame students for the problems that I experience in the
classroom? In what ways am I being unfair to the students?
3.] What is one thing I can do to get students to take more initiative and to
assume responsibility for their learning?
4] What do students think needs to happen to make this a better course for
them? How can I obtain this information from my students?

The Role of Self-Reflection
77
style or preferred ways of thinking. The dimensions in Jung’s model have
several implications for our ability to initiate changes in how we teach. [A
summary of each dimension in Jung’s theory appears in Tables 1-7 and 1-8
of Chapter 1] To understand how cognitive style can sometimes interfere
with modifying our styles as teachers, consider the examples that follow.
A prominent trend today in higher education is the use of collaborative
learning strategies. Such methods emphasize students working together in
small groups on a variety of instructor-designed or self-designed tasks.
For
faculty who are overrepresented on the introversion , intuition, and thinking
dimensions of Jung’s model [i.e., INT’s], such strategies are not as easy to
adopt.
The learning tasks typically involve students working on concrete
examples and tasks that integrate course content. Such activities often must
be designed by a faculty member. The groups work best if productive
relationships among group members and with the instructor are developed
and maintained.
Thus, the teacher must become a relationship expert.
Group
work takes time away from the amount a traditionally oriented instructor
normally has available to present conceptual issues in a lecture. Deeper
intellectual concerns and issues also may not emerge as often from the groups
and/or there may not be as much time to discuss them.
Many of the characteristics of collaborative learning described above are
unlikely to engage the interests of someone who is a strongly introverted,
intuitive, and thinking type. Collaborative forms of teaching are at odds with
an INT’s interests and sources of energy, modes of gathering information,
and ways of making decisions and solving problems.
Changing from
traditional methods to embrace collaborative approaches is less likely to
occur.
Such methods are simply not valued as much.
The point is not that
faculty members who are INT’s cannot or will not use collaborative learning
strategies.
Rather, because of their styles, they are less likely to find such
methods attractive. They simply become a harder sell.
The critical issue is that our attraction to particular teaching strategies is
related to whatever cognitive styles we possess
[Review Tables 1-8 and 1-9
in Chapter 1 for examples of such preferences]. To change our teaching
entails moving away from the comfortable and the familiar into uncharted
territory. The more the methods deviate from our preferred cognitive styles,
the more anxiety and tension about using them is likely to occur.
We might
be better off considering teaching strategies that fit our styles or enhancing
those that do.
A related point is that we often seek out or at least pay attention to people who
are like us. While some discrepancies exist between students and faculty on
their cognitive styles [cf., Table 1-12 in Chapter 1], there are always some
students whose styles match those of a particular teacher. It is not unusual in
my experience to find some instructors gauge the appropriateness of their
teaching methods upon the reactions of students whose cognitive styles are
most like them. Thus, the motivation to consider options to current methods
is lessened because as one colleague told me, “there are always students who
manage to get the material in the way that I prefer to teach it.”

78
Teaching With Style
Even for those willing to consider alternatives to their teaching, the styles
may interfere. INT’s, for example, are comfortable with reflection and
contemplating ideas and future directions for themselves. Usually, they think
carefully and thoroughly about their concerns before taking action. In some
sense, they adhere to the adage,
Decide in haste—repent at leisure.
While
sometimes helpful, they may remain overly comfortable with remaining in
the contemplative and preparation stages of the cycle of change.
The latter dimensions are not the only ones that can interfere with considering
and/or initiating changes in one’s teaching. For
those faculty with a more
extravert, sensing, and feeling style [ESF], taking actions may come easier
but the analysis needed to successfully implement may be deficient or rushed.
Similarly, teachers with a more extraverted and sensing style may have
difficulty communicating with those students who are introverted and
intuitive. The latter want more intellectual depth in a course, and in the words
on one student, “fewer Mickey Mouse activities that are a waste of my time.”
Absolute and Extreme Ways of Thinking
Because the processes of change are intimately tied up with our patterns of
thinking, what we think about can facilitate or hinder our attempts to change.
Albert Ellis notes that people who say encouraging things about their self-
concept, skills and abilities are more willing to manage and adapt to the
situations they face. When people give themselves discouraging messages,
their willingness to manage issues and to adapt to change decreases.
One of the important classes of beliefs that control our behaviors is irrational
beliefs.
According to Ellis, such beliefs are characterized by illogical and
exaggerated patterns of thinking. Clues to their presence are thoughts and
verbal statements that present things in extreme and absolute ways and as a
result keep us from exploring options or trying more adaptive behaviors.
Extreme thoughts
include words such as
all, every, always, awful, terrible,
horrible, totally, and essential.
When they are used, we typically see ourselves
and the world in ways that are worse than deserved.
Absolute thoughts
suggest
that we have no choices. They include words such as
must, should, have to, need,
and ought.
Absolute thinking patterns direct our actions and prevent us from
recognizing our choices in a situation.
It is not unusual to see the use of extreme and absolute ways of thinking in the
self-reflections of faculty. They become blocks to making changes in their
teaching styles. Three ways such thoughts capture our attention and hold us back
are listed below [Grasha, 1995]. Examples of each appear in Table 2-4, and
suggestions for coping with them are discussed in Self-Reflection Activity 2-7.
Irrational thinking drives us away
from a reasonable pace of doing things.
Irrational thinking stops us from taking action.
Extreme and absolute ways of thinking distort reality
and leads us to
develop false impressions about our lives.

The Role of Self-Reflection
79
Part I
1.] Think about a change you tried to make in your teaching that did not work
out as well as you had hoped it would. List the change you tried and 2-3
things you remember saying to yourself [i.e., your self-talk] about your
attempts to initiate a change and/or the outcome.
For Example:
Situation:
I put students into small groups to discuss a problem I had
presented in class. Normally I just try to hold a discussion with the
entire class.
Self-Talk:
Every time I try to put students into small groups for
discussion, they either talk about everything but the topic I want them
to discuss or only a couple of people participate in the groups.” “I'm
better off just doing what I normally do.
Your Situation:
Your Self-Talk:
#1:
#2:
#3:
2.] Which type of belief in Table 2-4 does your self-talk fit?
For Example
“Every time.....” [ Distorter/Overgeneralization]
“I'm better off.....” [Stopper/Living in the past]
Your Beliefs:
3.] For each of your beliefs you identified that fits the category of a driver,
stopper, or distorter in Table 2-4, try to dispute it by doing the
following.
Self-Reflection Activity 2-7
Disputing Absolute and Extreme Beliefs about Change

80
Teaching With Style
Table 2-4
Beliefs That Interfere With Modifying
Our Teaching Styles
Drivers
Keep us from a natural pace. While often rewarded, they may lead us to
become fatigued, exhausted, and frustrated.
Perfectionism:
Be perfect in everything you do in the classroom.
Do it yesterday:
Hurry up, you have to get this done quickly.
Be Macho:
Be strong and put up a tough front. Never let
students and colleagues think you are weak.
Self-sacrifice:
Please students, colleagues, and administrators
at any cost, or they will not like you.
Push self to limit:
No limit to what you can do. Do as much as you
can until it begins to hurt.
Stoppers
Keep us from taking actions, hold us back, and otherwise make us behave as
we always have. Give us a good excuse for doing nothing.
Catastrophizing:
This classroom situation is utterly hopeless.
Nothing I do will ever correct it.
Negative thinking:
I can see nothing but gloom and doom here.
Arbitrary inference:
The new things I tried in class today did not
work. I guess I should stop innovating.
Rigidity:
There is no reason to change how I teach.
Living in past:
The old ways of doing things are always best.
Waiting around:
I can’t do anything until others change first.
Quitter:
I have tried everything and nothing worked.
Procrastination:
I have plenty of time to take care of this issue.
Distorters
Lead us to develop false impressions about ourselves, other people, and
events. They add confusion to our lives.
Overgeneralize:
I had a bad class today and I’ll probably never
have a good one again.
Blame others:
Students are responsible for what occurred.
Narrow minded:
The way I’m teaching is the only way to do it.
Denial:
This is not a problem I have to worry about.
Stereotype:
Students are basically all alike.
Either/or thinking:
This teaching method will either succeed or fail.
Overestimate:
This is the most horrible thing that has ever
happened to me in the classroom.
llogical thoughts:
My colleagues must support me no matter what I
do with my teaching.
Personalization
Somehow, bad things seem to happen just to me.”

The Role of Self-Reflection
81
Self-Reflection 2-7 [
Continued
]
Restate that thought so that it reflects a more balanced and evenhanded
perspective on the situation that you could accept.
For Example:
Not all of the groups drifted away from the topic. At most only two or
three of the ten groups did so and it was in those groups that I noticed
only a few people participating. Also, I'm not really sure that going back
to my usual way of doing things is justified. After all, the reason I wanted
to try this was because I was dissatisfied with trying to hold discussions
with the entire group.
Your restatement:
# 1:
# 2:
# 3:
4.] New ways of thinking without actions to back them up are largely empty
thoughts. What action steps could you take to reinforce this new way of
thinking about what happened?
For Example:
I need to continue trying the small group format and examine why some
groups get off of the topic. Maybe I'm giving them too much time or the
instructions are not clear enough. Making the groups smaller also might
help to allow everyone to participate. I just need to try some things
instead of giving up.
Actions you can take that fit your restatement [s] of the situation:
# 1:
# 2:
# 3:
Part II

82
Teaching With Style
Countering absolute and extreme beliefs involves developing a balanced
perspective on what changes to make in our teaching and the expected
outcomes of our efforts.
We must avoid becoming our own worst enemy.
The
goal here is not to become self-delusional about the difficulties that sometimes
exist whenever we try to change. Rather, the goal is to give ourselves the
benefit of the doubt and to keep ourselves motivated to continue looking for
ways to enhance our teaching.
A balanced perspective, unfortunately, is not enough. We also need to take
actions consistent with any new way of looking at ourselves and the world
around us. Otherwise, we run the risk of being "all talk and no action."
Furthermore, several lines of research suggest that our behaviors tend to
reinforce underlying belief systems
[Watson & Tharp, 1993; Weinberg,
1984]. Thus, if I believe my attempts to produce changes in my teaching
never work, continuing to behave as I always do will only further strengthen
my existing beliefs. If I can see my attempts to change as producing several
positive and negative outcomes, however, then I have begun to distance
myself from thoughts that it never works. By taking actions to examine what
works and what does not, and to subsequently look for ways to improve,
eventually helps me reinforce new beliefs about myself and my capacity to
change. In effect, the process of initiating new behaviors in line with a
balanced or less extreme perspective has the potential to help me redefine
myself. If successful, I have taken a small step along the road of self-renewal.
A succession of such
small wins
can help me to eventually make significant
changes in my teaching style.
Themes and Variations
The information in this section was organized around several interrelated
themes.
One was the emphasis on the important role that self-reflection plays
in identifying, employing, and modifying our styles as teachers.
Unless we
reflect and analyze our current behaviors as teachers, and try to identify the
attitudes, values, and beliefs associated with our practices, our understanding
of our teaching styles becomes limited. Under such conditions, we will see
the outcomes of our efforts but will remain relatively unaware of the
processes used to produce those results.
Also, without adequate amounts of self-reflection, people typically fail to
gain a good sense of “Who Am I” as a teacher. Attempts to change under such
conditions are likely to be superficial. In such cases, my experience suggests
that teaching strategies and practices often fail to fit the underlying dynamics
Epilogue

The Role of Self-Reflection
83
of the person trying to use them. The result is frustration, inadequate
execution, and a lack of commitment to working the
bugs out of them.
A second theme was the importance of self-reflection in a cycle of change .
A model of change in teaching style was presented that includes stages of pre-
contemplation, contemplation, planning, action, and maintenance. There
were two important aspects of this model that are largely ignored in current
thinking about faculty development.
A considerable amount of time must be
spent in self-reflection before changes in our teaching styles is possible.
In
the Prochaska change model discussed in this section, people need time in
the reflective components of the change cycle [i.e., the pre-contemplation
and contemplation stages].
Instructors must first become comfortable with the need to change before the
planning and action stages can be engaged. Prematurely engaging the
planning and action cycles because of pressures from others is unlikely to
produce successful outcomes. Faculty wanting to initiate changes in their
teaching styles, and those interested in promoting faculty development in
teaching, must allow adequate amounts of time for such reflective processes
to occur.
Furthermore, relapses can be expected. In my experience, they are often the
rule rather than the exception when attempting to modify one's style as a
teacher.
Whether someone uses a relapse to learn from their mistakes or to
chastise themselves ultimately determines whether that individual will
experience a successful outcome. My contacts with college faculty suggest
that if they decide to persist after a relapse, usually they return to the
contemplative stage in the cycle of change. Most need additional time to think
about it before engaging in further action steps.
The third theme in this chapter was the way various thinking processes and
cognitive styles hindered and/or blocked the cycle of change.
Included in the
discussion were examples of defensive modes of thinking such as defensive
avoidance, denial, defensive pessimism, and defensive attributions that
adversely affected an objective analysis of one's teaching. Aspects of our
cognitive styles such as being overly analytical, intuitive, and introverted
also may clash with the styles of students as well as interfere with our ability
to modify our instructional processes. Finally, the use of absolute and
extreme modes of thinking about classroom issues may lead us to distort or
exaggerate the problems we face and stop us from taking actions to correct
them.
The Cognitive Imperative
Information presented in this chapter placed a considerable amount of
emphasis on the role cognitive factors played in attempts to understand and
to consider changes in our styles as teachers.
The position taken was that our
patterns of thinking largely determine our ability to successfully initiate and
complete such changes.
Self-understanding through actively engaging

84
Teaching With Style
Such factors have been prominent members of the
laundry list
of
why it's
difficult to change things around here
for decades.
Yet analyses of the
resistance to instructional change based on this laundry list have missed an
important point.
When times are tough [i.e., the laundry list is in effect] some
faculty still manage to find ways to enhance the nature and quality of their
teaching. And, tough times in higher education have existed for at least the
past decade. Yet, a variety of innovations in curriculum and teaching
processes have taken hold [e.g., general education reforms, writing across the
curriculum, classroom assessment processes, collaborative learning, active
learning, a renewed emphasis on critical thinking.] I am also reminded that
even when times were not so tough [e.g., the period of the 60's and 70's come
to mind], instructional improvement and curricular reform was still a hard
sell.
Thus, it does not appear to be the case that the mere presence or absence of
items from the above mentioned “laundry list” are associated with the
willingness of people to evoke changes in their teaching. In my work over
the past two decades in higher education, I see such factors as a backdrop in
which individuals and groups decide to initiate changes. They are part of the
context in which change occurs and not simply forces that individually or
collectively dictate the course of instructional and curriculum change.
Rather, the most important factors in my experiences are cognitive.
One is the
tendency mentioned earlier for people to drift into absolute and extreme ways
of interpreting events.
This leads to overgeneralizations, arbitrary inferences
and exaggerations of current conditions and what is possible to do. They tend
to prevent or hinder change. For example, a faculty member participating in
a seminar I was running on teaching issues said, “The current fiscal and
political environment for higher education is the worst thing to happen to our
educational system. In such an environment, there is little reason to look for
ways to become creative in my teaching. I'm better off just doing what I've
always done and hope for the best.”
Optimistic and Pessimistic Explanatory Styles
and Processes of Change in Teaching
Maintaining an optimistic or pessimistic outlook towards the environment
affects our ability to change.
In my work, I find that whether faculty
members interpret events in optimistic or pessimistic terms also is
associated with their capacity to change. Technically, such interpretations
are labeled our "explanatory style." Research by Chris Peterson [1991] and
processes of self-analysis and reflection was seen as a crucial first step in this
process.
One might argue, however, that such an approach is simplistic and
ignores other factors such as:
the rewards [or lack thereof] for teaching in our
institutions; the pressures for research and scholarly production; declining
resources, large classes, unprepared students, poor faculty preparation for
teaching, a lack of funds for faculty development, anti-intellectual political
climates, insensitive administrators, and poor institutional leadership

The Role of Self-Reflection
85
Our explanations and interpretations of incidents in our teaching reflect
three underlying beliefs that we have about them. They are:
-
The event was a stable/permanent or an unstable/temporary
part of my life.
-
The event was a global/pervasive experience for me or was
confined to a specific situation.
-
The event was due to personal or internal causes or was
caused by external events outside of my control.
Individuals with optimistic and pessimist explanatory styles interpret events
differently. Pessimists explain bad things that happen as stable over time,
pervasive across situations, and as something they influenced. Optimists cope
by interpreting such events as unstable, confined to a specific situation, and due
to factors outside of their control.
Just the opposite occurs when they are asked
to explain why good things happened to them.
Scenario 1: A teacher tries to use a small group collaborative activity for
the first time. The small group work and discussion did not go very well.
Pessimistic:
“I've always had trouble getting small groups to discuss content.”
Stable/Permanent |________|_______|________|______ | Unstable/Temporary
Optimistic:
“I’ve learned something. That mistake won’t happen the next time.”
______________
Pessimistic:
“Seems like I mess up small group activities no matter what I teach.”
Global/Pervasive
Specific
Experience
|________|_______|________|______ | Situation
Optimistic:
“This class is the only group where I’ve seen such problems occur.”
______________
Pessimistic:
“I have no one to blame but myself for doing something so foolish.”
Internal Cause
|________|_______|________|______ | External Cause
Optimistic:
“The students were tired at the end of the week and it was difficult
for them to keep their attention focused during the activity.”
___________________________________________________________
Table 2-5
Characteristics of Optimistic and Pessimistic
Explanatory Styles
X
X
X
X
X
X

86
Teaching With Style
Scenario 2: A teacher who normally lectures decides to try case studies
as the primary teaching method for a course. After four sessions, the use
of cases is working out very well.
Pessimistic:
“I don’t think my initial successes will last for the remainder of
the term.”
Stable/Permanent |_______|_______|________|______ | Unstable/Temporary
Optimistic:
“Everything should continue to work out well this term.”
______________
Pessimistic:
“Cases work well but I doubt they would do so in my other classes.”
Global/Pervasive |_______|_______|________|______ |
Experience
Optimistic:
“This is a great way to teach. I bet it would work in my other course.”
______________
Pessimistic:
“I’m either having a run of good luck or some very special students.”
Internal Cause
|_______|_______|________|______ | External Cause
Optimistic:
“The hard work and preparation for this course is really paying off.”
Table 2-5 [Continued]
X
X
X
X
X
X
Specific
Situation
Martin Seligman [1991] have identified the underlying components of
optimistic and pessimistic explanations. These are illustrated in Table 2-5.
Peterson’s and Seligman's empirical research on optimistic and pessimistic
explanatory styles has identified differences between people who prefer one
set of explanations to the other. Those with an optimistic mode of thinking
were more willing to take control of events in their lives. They engaged in
solution based problem solving and were generally happier and excited about
the work they did.
Also, they were more willing to try new things and to speculate on the positive
implications of ideas for the future. As a group they tended to maintain a
balanced perspective on events and were not subject to exaggeration,
arbitrary inferences, and overgeneralizations. Finally, they were self-confident,
less anxious, and less depressed.

The Role of Self-Reflection
87
Their pessimistic counterparts, however, tended to believe there was little
they could do to produce changes in their lives. At the extreme, they saw life
as a game where they were pawns subject to the whims of outside forces.
Denial and defensive approaches to managing problems were often employed.
Furthermore, they did not persist as well in their attempts to initiate changes
in their lives. They also tended to perceive events in much more absolute and
extreme ways. Personality wise, they tended to be less confident of their skills
and more anxious and depressed.
My sense of the college faculty with whom I worked with over the years who
have attempted to produce changes in their teaching, and who succeeded over
the long-haul, is that they possessed an optimistic outlook. As noted in Table
2-5, they were able to perceive unfavorable conditions for change in ways that
did not hold them back. They also did not discount positive forces for change
in their environment. Their optimistic outlook facilitated their ability to
initiate the cycle of change discussed in this chapter.
In his research program, Martin Seligman [1991] has demonstrated that
tendencies to be inappropriately pessimistic can be countered. He argues that
people need to consider modifying pessimistic interpretations of good and
bad events in order to enhance their satisfaction with aspects of their lives.
One process he has examined for accomplishing this goal is similar to the one
described in Self-Reflection Activity 2-7.
Because overly pessimistic ways of
interpreting events often represent absolute and extreme ways of thinking,
attempts should be made to dispute them.
This would be accomplished by
training ourselves to adopt the optimistic modes of interpreting positive and
negative events described in Table 2-5.
For positive and negative events that occur in the classroom, for example, we
would counter a normally pessimistic explanation by asking several questions.
For positive events given a pessimistic interpretation we would look for ways
to enhance our sense of personal optimism.
That is, to see good events as
much more stable over time than we normally think, to perceive them as
occurring in more than one situation in our lives, and to give ourselves more
credit for producing the positive outcome.
The questions to ask are:
Is this pleasant event really as unstable over time as I am making it out
to be? What concrete evidence do I have from my experiences that
what occurred was a “fluke? At what other time periods in my
teaching have I been successful in trying new things?
• What evidence do I have that this is basically the only situation where
I have had such a positive experience in my teaching? What are other
examples of specific classes and/or courses where I have been
successful as a teacher?
• What makes me so sure that luck, chance, or other factors outside of
my control produced the positive results I obtained? What are 2-3
specific thoughts and actions that I took to make what I tried in this
class/course successful?

88
Teaching With Style
For negative events given a pessimistic interpretation, we also would look for
ways to enhance our sense of personal optimism.
That is, to view bad events
as much more stable over time than we normally think, to perceive them as
having much more limited occurrences, and to see that other people and
events often contribute to things not working out as well for us.
The questions
to ask are:
Is this unpleasant experience a good representation of how
bad things always happen to me? In what ways was it
unusual or different from other unpleasant events in my
life. What are examples of good things that have happened
in my teaching from time to time?
• What elements of what happened were confined to this
particular teaching situation? What is it about this class
and/or course that are unique from others I currently teach
and/or have taught in my career?
• Is everything that happens in my life and in my teaching
always my fault? What other factors besides my thoughts
and actions played a role in what happened? In what ways
did the environment, the students, colleagues, or others
play a role in making this an unpleasant experience?
Booters and Bootstrappers
Self-reflection is a necessary step in the process of modifying or changing our
styles as teachers. At some point in our reflection and analysis, however, the
preparation and action stages of the cycle of change must be engaged. Good
intentions must be translated into plans that contain specific goals and
objectives for ourselves.
Taking actions and adopting patterns of thinking
compatible with such plans must be initiated.
This, of course, is the most
difficult part of the process. If it were easy people would seldom have
problems with anxiety, depression, and stress. Whatever needed to be
accomplished would be quickly initiated and life would soon return to
normal.
In addition to the issues raised about overcoming thinking patterns that
interfere with change, some attention also must be given to our beliefs about
human plasticity. This concept refers to our beliefs about whether or not
people can change and what it takes to change them. Psychologist Martin
Seligman [1994] in his book titled
What You Can Change and What You