If you have read the “About Me” section of my blog, it might stand out that I am currently a Psychology major that plans to acquire a Masters in Education. Throughout my college career I have found myself falling madly in love with these two opposite yet similar fields and I would like to use this post to explain just how they tend to mingle with one another.
In my current psychology research team, we are studying how teaching styles in the classroom are reflective of parenting styles at home and how they are equally influential on the education of the child as the parenting style is on the lifestyle of that child. Diana Baumrind was a developmental psychologist that identified three different types of parenting styles based on the characteristics of “demandingness” and “responsiveness” between the parent and child. These three styles include Permissive, Authoritative, and Authoritarian. Other researchers later discovered a fourth type, neglectful or indifferent, but for the sake of applying these concepts to teaching, we will stick to the original three. The idea is that a neglectful or indifferent teacher, is not a teacher. Permissive is a possibility but to be neglectful would mean to be absent and to be absent is to be out of a job, therefore it’s not really something we have to worry ourselves with when it comes to education. Permissive parents are usually described as indulgent in that they give in to their child’s every want and whim and typically do not set nor enforce rules or structure in their house. Authoritarian parents are on the opposite side of the spectrum in that they set strict rules and expect the children to abide by them out of fear of some form of punishment and they typically do not show any flexibility. Lastly, authoritative parents, fall directly in the middle. They provide rules and structure and expect their children to abide by them, however they listen and reason with their children. There has been plenty of research over the past few decades to support authoritative parenting to be the “ideal” parenting style, but we now have research to also support it as the ideal teaching style.
Studies have shown that students with authoritative teachers find themselves to be more interested in the class and academically successful. Some researchers have done broad studies in just observing the teacher and class; others have gone as far as evaluating the teachers and the test scores of the students. Regardless of the method, they all had the same findings. Authoritative teaching styles are far more beneficial to the students than permissive or authoritarian. Studies have showed student scoring higher on test, being engaged and respectful in the classroom, and even having a liking of the teacher. All of these things make for an academically successful student, which is why this is something present and potential educators should take into consideration. When you are overly strict and instill fear in children, they tend to block you out to avoid contact. However, on the opposite end of that spectrum, when you allow them to do as they please, they tend to lose respect for the teacher and do not stay on task. The idea of the authoritative teaching style is that educators are able to enforce rules within reason and allow for some flexibility when it comes to special circumstances. Authoritative teachers are able to set a lesson plan and have students incorporate their own ideas into it. And there should be a level of respect where the students understand you are not their “friend” but you do care for their wellbeing.
Most past studies have focused on younger ages between preschool and fifth grade, but there has been recent research to support the same idea in a college setting. My research team is focusing on college professors and students’ class satisfaction as well as how well they liked that particular professor and comparing those results with the reported teaching style of the professor. It will be interesting to see these results in our own university and I’ll be sure to share them all with you! Or you can watch me and my team present it during Alumni Weekend on April 29th!