Types of Instructional Teaching Styles

No matter what style of teaching you have there are a few factors that you need to consider. These factors play a major role in helping you determine the type of teaching styles that would be most effective for each student.

Here are the factors that you must consider to teach successfully;

The age of your students – If your student is in Kindergarten then you simply cannot use the discussion or lecture style of teaching. Similarly, games and activities may not work with a student who is studying for his/her Ph.D. You have to consider the age of your student before selecting the teaching method you want to use.

The purpose of learning – Every student has a different purpose for learning English; some want to improve their writing skills while others want to develop speaking skills to pass an IELTS exam. The purpose of learning is an important factor that will help you determine which teaching approach will be most effective.

The intellect level of your students – You may think that this is related to the age of the student but it is not! A 20-year-old student may not be a high school graduate or very bright and an 8-year-old may be smarted for his age group. Therefore, you must take their intellect level into consideration before deciding on a teaching method.

VIPKID has more than 500,000 students learning English as a Second or Foreign language. As a teacher, on VIPKID you will get students from different age groups, academic levels and with different learning styles. Therefore, it is quite possible that you may have to adapt and change your teaching style according to your students.

Every teacher has his or her own unique teaching style, which can be adjusted to the needs of individual students. It’s also normal to mix some traditional teaching styles with each other to create your own unique teaching style.  Teaching styles are really important to make sure students can understand and retain the content taught.

Overall, there are about 5 key types of instructional strategies that we will discuss in this article. The idea is that every style of teaching falls more or less into one of these buckets, and, of course, there is variation from teacher-to-teacher.

Let’s get into it.

Lecture Style Teaching

This teacher style is more suitable for higher education institutions, where students from different groups gather in a spacious, multilevel lecture halls (auditoriums), listen to the lecturer and take notes.

Besides, it is suitable only for specific disciplines. If we speak of pros and cons of lecture teaching method, it will hardly work with foreign languages, especially when teaching English to kids, due to lack of interaction.

For examples of teaching english to kids, see this article.

Coach Teaching Approach

This approach is similar to the lecture style teaching, but the difference is that the teacher also uses multimedia presentations, activities, and demonstrations.

This approach is suitable for exact sciences, such as math and physics, or natural sciences, such as chemistry and biology. However, it still will not work with languages, and it is difficult to cater to the individual needs of language learners in larger classrooms.

Activity Style of Teaching

In this type of teaching, the teacher plays the role of a facilitator who fosters self-learning, and helps the students to develop critical thinking skills to retain knowledge that leads to self-actualization.

This style encourages the learners to ask questions and helps them develop skills to find answers and solutions through exploration. It is perfect for teaching science and similar subjects. However, it challenges the teacher to interact with the students and prompt them toward discovery rather than lecturing facts and testing knowledge through memorizing, so it becomes more difficult to measure the learners’ success.

Group Teaching Methods

teaching styles

This teaching style implies group activities. It is perfect for lab lessons as well as language lessons, where the students need to discuss something in groups to practice a language that is not native for them.

The group method provides the guided discovery and inquiry-based learning that gives the teacher an observer role, inspiring the learners to work together and achieve common goals. The teacher acts more as a delegator or consultant rather than a traditional authority figure.

Integrated Teaching Style

This is a combined approach to teaching, which unites the teacher’s personality and interests with the needs of the students and curriculum-appropriate methods.

Teachers can tailor their styles to student needs. However, by using such a blended approach, the teachers can spread themselves too thin and avoid deep studying of specific subjects.

These styles of teaching are typically aimed at classroom teaching, but what if you would prefer to teach your students online?

Not all traditional types of instructional strategies word in an online classroom. For example, online teachers cannot walk around the classroom, observing the learners’ work and guiding them. So let’s find out which new teaching styles can be appropriate for a virtual classroom.


Discussion belongs to online teaching styles that support learning and actively engaging the online students in the learning process. The students can ask questions and communicate their ideas while practicing analytical and cognitive skills.

Besides, many learners feel more comfortable when taking part in discussions online rather than in traditional classrooms.


Can an online English teacher use more than one teaching styles?

It is not important for you as an online teacher to pick just one style and teach all your lessons using that because that would make a very boring English teacher. Depending on the material you have to teach, you can use different types of teaching styles. Even during a single lesson, you can go from one style to another. For example; you can start your lesson off by using games as a warm up activity and then take a few minutes to deliver a lecture after which you can open a discussion to discuss your student’s views on what you taught them. This way your single lesson can include at least three different teaching styles.

The success of the teaching style you choose depends greatly on the content you select to teach. If your lesson is all about games and activities and you choose the lecture style of teaching, then your students will not only get bored they will also not understand the purpose of the games you ask them to play.

Moreover, it is important to remember is that no matter what teaching style you use; you must have a reason for it. If you choose to use an activity style of teaching, then your activities must be related to your lesson and should help achieve the learning objectives you set for your students.

A teaching style that fails to communicate well with your students will be deemed a failure no matter how comfortable you are with it.