Learning is a lifelong activity for most of us. When we want to learn–be it at school, at work, from books, or from a website on the internet, beside a student there always has to be a teacher. Someone who conveys their message in the most appropriate way, and helps the student to understand the subject of learning. Different teachers, writers, and corporate leaders have different ways of conveying their message to their audience, different teaching styles.
Inquiring about your teaching style in an interview, the hiring managers (or the hiring committee members) try to understand whether your teaching style is a good fit for their organization, for the audiences you are supposed to teach in your new job.
Let’s have a a look at 7 sample answers to this interesting interview question. I purposely included also unconventional answers on my list, answers you can opt for while trying o stand out and say something else than the rest of the job applicants will say. Do not forget to read also my notes below the answers, for additional explanations and hints.
7 sample answers to “How would you describe your teaching style?” interview question
- I would describe my teaching style as coaching. Instead of offering answers to my students, I try to ask the right questions, and with the help of demonstration and group activities they should find the answers. In my opinion, the young generation lacks critical thinking and creativity. I try to help them develop these abilities, and that’s exactly why I prefer coaching to lecturing, the prevalent teaching style for this grade level. I just try to prepare my students better for the challenges they will face in the employment market.
- I would describe it as highly adaptable. I do not really prefer one teaching method, or one way of interacting with the students in the classroom environment. Because in my opinion, each class is different, so is each lesson, and a good teacher should always adjust their teaching to their audience, the level of discipline in the class, the difficulty of the lesson, and so on. I simply prefer individual approach to teaching, and I alternate between being an authority, demonstrator, facilitator, and delegator. So far it has been working great, so I have no reason to doubt the effectiveness of my teaching style.
- I would describe it as results driven. Since I typically work with students one on one, I always try to clearly define the goals with each one. Not what I want to achieve, but what they want to achieve, what they expect from our cooperation. Then, considering their current level of language skills, and what kind of personality they are, I come up with a clear plan for the entire year, including some milestones and tests, in order to evaluate our progress regularly. And just then do I choose my teaching methods, adjusting them to the plan and the ultimate goal we have with the student.
- To be honest, I cannot really tell. I am just starting my teaching career, and haven’t had a chance yet to find my way, to understand what works best with the students at this grade level. I hope to learn something from my new colleagues, who have more experience from the classroom environment. Anyway, the basic principle I stick to is that we are in the classes for the children, and not the other way around. I won’t opt for a certain teaching style just because it is the most convenient one, such as plain lecturing…
- I’ve been working as a manager for over a decade now. In my experience, nothing works better than empowering your people. You know, throw them into the water, give them responsibility, let them find the answers, let them fail so they can learn and grow on both personal and professional level. Maybe you can describe this management (or teaching) style as laissez-faire, and it has definitely been working great for me.
- I always put emphasis on practice doing. As many hours as possible in the lab, as much on hands on experience as students can get. First of all, students prefer such form of learning–at least most of them do. And secondly, we are preparing them for the real challenges they will face in the workplace, once they graduate. Because in the lab they work in teams, have conflicts, face deadlines, have to handle problems, record their findings, sometimes they even have to multitask… Of course, we cannot avoid the theory altogether. But my teaching style consists in maximizing the hours students spend working on practical tasks.
- To be honest, I do not support all these classifications of teaching styles and methodologies. It is a lot of theory, but it has little to do with the real environment of a classroom, where always different personalities meet, and one has to work with students of all levels of abilities. I simply try my best with each student–that’s the definition of my teaching style. It may mean one thing in one lesson and a completely different one in another. I may give a complete freedom to some students, but lead others with an iron fist. But I prefer not using some empty classifications that have nothing to do with the actual challenges we face in classes.
A good research can help you find the right answer
You can do your research about the school (company, organization), trying to understand what teaching style prevails there. Maybe the administrators encourage the teachers to use this or that style in the classes.
If it is the case (and you somehow find out the information), you can stick to it in your interviewer answer. Ensure them that you do not come to revolutionize the way they lead their school. On the contrary, you will be a new force in the staff room, and you are ready to learn from your colleagues, and apply the proven teaching methods in the classes.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Show your willingness to adapt
Let’s face it: one fits all approach to teaching does not exist. What works great with one student, may fail completely with another one. A teaching style that yields excellent results in one classroom will do little good in the next one. That’s how it is, since we live in a diverse and polarized world…
Bearing this in mind, you can always emphasize individual approach. Sure, you may not be able to work individually with each student (unless you work in special education or as a paraprofessional and actually work one on one with students), but you may at least adjust your teaching style to the lesson covered, and the situation in the classroom.
Job interview is not a school exam
You can refer to a widely-accepted classification of teaching style, but you definitely do not have to. You can talk about a results driven approach, or even describe your teaching style in your own words, without giving it any names, or classifying it in this or that way.
Remember that job interview is not a school exam, and that not every member of the interviewing panel will be aware of some general classifications of teaching styles. Hence it is always better to elaborate on your answer, even when you opt for one of the widely-recognized teaching styles. Because if the hiring committee members struggle to understand you, they won’t give you the job…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Teacher – what are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why do you want to be a teacher?
- What does diversity mean to you?