Monday, September 24, 2007

Teaching Style

If you are a teacher and would like to assess your teaching style, you may use the Principles of Adult Learning Scale (PALS), developed by Conti (1991). High PALS scores indicate that you have a learner-centered style, and low scores indicate a teacher-centered style. The scales comprise seven factors that are of importance to your teaching style. The factors relate to the teachers' attitudes toward: learner-centered activities, personalizing instruction, relating to experience, assessing student needs, climate building, participation in the learning process, and flexibility for personal development.

Your teaching style is based on your philosophical orientation and your theories of education. In discussing adult education philosophies, Zinn (1991) distinguished between liberal, behaviorist, progressive, humanistic, and radical philosophies. These and other philosophies in adult education are presented in selected writings edited by Merriam (1984) and Jarvis (1987). An interesting online resource is The Theory Into Practice( database, shown in Figure 8, that contains descriptions of 50 theories relevant to human learning and instruction। With regard to distance education, Keegan (1988) identified three theoretical positions: theories of autonomy and independence, theories of industrialization, and theories of interaction and communication. Discussing these theoretical positions, Paulsen (1992b) presented a theory on cooperative freedom, which was a first attempt to establish a distance education theory attuned to CMC. In other words, teachers will perceive their functions in educational computer conferencing in light of their basic theories and philosophies toward education.

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