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Q: I am a kindergarten teacher. The parent of one of my students is a former middle school teacher. She asked me what my teaching style was, and when I explained how I teach, she didn't seem too excited. Is there another way I can present this to parents? Is there such a thing as an eclectic teaching style? Thank you.
A: There definitely is such a thing as an eclectic teaching style. In fact, I think that most teachers fall into this category. They draw on a variety of methods and theories to teach their students.
Your particular teaching style is the unique product of your personality and your beliefs about how kids learn. If you are a life-long learner, your teaching style will always be changing and developing, as your understanding of kids deepens.
But what do you tell parents? Well, you could start with an explanation of how you think different kids learn. Multiple intelligence theory and learning style theory are good places to start. Then I would recommend explaining what your approaches to teaching are. For instance, how do you have your classroom set up for learning? Do you have activity stations in your classroom? How are the desks arranged? Do kids ever work together in teams? What kind of activity progression do you have during the day? Do you use visual material? Music?
If you subscribe to current learning style theory (that there are three main styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic), then you could explain how it influences your teaching. If you acknowledge multiple intelligences in children, give an example of an activity you structured that took the strengths of different kids into account. Use concrete examples; the parent will understand you better.
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After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.