It is an absolute necessity to use different teaching styles in the classroom, most importantly, because no two children are alike. It is ludicrous to think that a “one type fits all” mentality will work in the teaching profession. A lot of times teachers feel that they can reuse lesson plans and curriculum and resources from the previous year or years and that somehow it will work magically for the new, incoming group. That is never the case and years of experience will prove this point in a most dramatic fashion.
Even in the case of a primary classroom where teachers think there is little variation of levels among students, it is most probably that the students are all of different backgrounds culturally, socially, economically, geographically and other impending factors which will determine the style that a teacher will use. There is always the class curriculum that the particular school or district requires to be taught, but within that core there is always a need for small group intervention and individualization within a class setting.
There is also the fact that not all students will excel or be successful in an academic way. It is the responsibility of the teacher or facilitator to find out a child’s individual strengths, which may not be pencil and paper oriented and build on their foundation for success. It could be in the area of the fine arts, or mechanical ability, or a knack for creating some other type of special skill that the students possesses and that they can freely demonstrate in a safe environment that will help them achieve their highest potential at school.
Another factor to consider are the goals and mission of the school, and what a teacher’s personal goals for his or her class may be. There are sometimes those that feel compelled, but most often pressured, to get students from one level to the next via the appointed curriculum and endless guides of nearly reading word for word the lessons to be delivered. It is very easy to be somewhat lazy and feel no pain in delivering that type of instruction. And it does not usually end with a great and wonderful ending.
Children learn in many different ways, and the teacher must be prepared to teach and deliver lessons in a variety of ways. There are those children who are visual learners and an interesting and word-rich environment would serve them well. Then there are those who are auditory learners and as a teacher you must make your teaching interesting and understandable and not fall into the trap of the “lecture mode”. There are also the students who learn best by manipulating objects or being able to “play” with language or math or writing that inspires them to do their best, and obviously makes life easier for the instructor, once he or she has tapped into their individual learning style(s).
All in all, it takes a very wise and patient individual with the gift of being able to look deeper into students’ interests and abilities and to use whatever means or resources necessary to make learning a fun and non-threatening space for all learners to succeed!