Strategies for Reshaping Practice: The habits of the classroom #17

Adjust your style

Style is a very personal subject but most teachers are flexible and can incorporate a variety of styles within their repertoire. When thinking about style we need to consider whether it is right for a particular lesson with its new emphasis, and will it serve the learners in engaging with this new perspective? Style can be formal or informal and have many kinds of practices within either. For example, if we are exploring sensitive or controversial aspects of sin and brokenness then a formal style is sometimes appropriate to give students/pupils structure and distance. If the lesson is about serving the community by cooking for the elderly and you are joining in then a more informal style is appropriate. If the emphasis is on fostering focused attentiveness then our general style, whatever it is, might have to slow down to incorporate, for example, a slow reading of a text.

  • Teachers can use a more formal style when looking at difficult subjects such as anxiety over changing in PE or tackling inappropriate goal celebrations. The formality gives structure that can help students engage with the subject in a way that is less threatening. A formal presentation can create the distance needed for pupils to consider the role of faith in their own lives in relation to a character in a story in English/literacy.
  • Teachers can use an informal style if they want to draw children into a Bible story so that they engage with the characters. A conversational style can be used in RE and science when talking about faith and reason.

These examples show how adjusting our general style can make a difference to a lesson and can reinforce a new understanding.