What is Your Teaching Style?

What is Your Teaching Style?

Victor X. Wang (Florida Atlantic University, USA) and Susan K. Dennett (Northwood University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch043


The authors compare the knowledge facilitator and the knowledge dictator in today's organizations. Research around cultures in the Confucius-influenced Eastern hemisphere relating to teaching approaches and classroom behavior is explored and contrasted to the Western approaches. The differences in learning styles play a major role in how facilitators transmit information and an insight into the different ways information is processed by learners is outlined. In order to remain competitive in the 21st century and in today's global environment, organizations must determine what type of teaching style is influential in their learning culture, and an appreciation of the interactive model of program planning is discussed.
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Numerous studies have postulated that the knowledge facilitator is superior to the knowledge dictator in Western literature in that a knowledge facilitator is germane to learning whereas a knowledge dictator may well stifle learning in today’s organizations. However, in some other cultures such as in China, South Korea, Japan or Singapore, scholars and practitioners may prove otherwise (Biggs, 1996). The issue of knowledge facilitator versus knowledge dictator seems to be a perennial topic for scholars and researchers in all cultures. Scholars and practitioners in the West do not seem to agree with their counterparts in oriental cultures. In China the educational practitioner focuses on lecture methods to deliver material to the students. Students view the teacher as an authority figure rather than a facilitator. Reward is provided for memorizing the material (Biggs, 1996 in Wang, Dennett, & Bryan, 2013). In the Chinese classrooms, rows of chairs are the norm and there is an expectation that the students will listen and remain quiet and not challenge their teacher (Bond, 1992). Bond also states that the textbooks and handouts are provided to help the students to memorize the material. The western approach to teaching is very different to the Eastern approach. Biggs (1994) stresses the approach of the West as being the encouragement of deeper thought. Western teachers teach students how to: Understand the abstract framework of a concept, to take control of their learning by planning and measuring how well they are learning the material, and to make sure they are enjoying the learning process.

The Table 1 highlights the differences between the Eastern and Western world of teaching.

Table 1.
Eastern versus Western educational system
CountryMain Purpose
USAFocus on individual.
Develop individual’s full potential.
Transmitter of cultural heritage.
East AsiaFocus of loyal citizenry.
Develop literate citizenry.
Help select future leaders.
Transmitter of past cultural heritage.
Instructor Mode.
Stresses understanding, application and ability.
Use of educational psychology.
Learner active.
East AsiaTeacher-centered.
Stresses recall of facts.
Use of rote learning.
Examinations as a motivator.
Learner passive.
Curricular Orientation.
USAPresent-future orientated.
Development of whole person.
Social interaction promoted.
East AsiaPast-present orientated.
Strict exams to develop academic knowledge.
Concepts first then skills (p. 8).

Chan (1999) Adapted from Yee (1989)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Self-Actualization: This is a term used by educational psychologist, Maslow in the 1960s to refer to one’s potentialities and abilities that have been developed to the fullest. According to Maslow, very few people can realize self-actualization during their life time.

Culture: The ideas, activities (art, foods, businesses), and ways of behaving that are special to a country, people, or region. In this article, it is also used to refer to ways of behaving that are special to an organization.

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