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Plot your teaching style and boost your classroom impact

Next time your observation feedback mentions your teaching style and interactions with students, stop the observer in his or her tracks and ask politely if they could point out where exactly on the Wubbels matrix they would place you. If they look at you blankly, you may have grounds to challenge the judgement.

As the classroom practice feature in this week’s TES details, Theo Wubbels is a professor of education at Utrecht University and he has formulated a matrix that can pinpoint where a teaching style sits between dominance, opposition, submission and co-operation. The four dynamics are in two overlapping continuums: dominance versus submission and co-operation versus opposition. It looks a bit like this, though admittedly our version is a little more ape-heavy:

Robin Launder, the writer of the feature, explains that knowing where you are on the matrix means that you can address any areas in need of improvement. He gives detailed examples of each dynamic and how it may manifest in the classroom. 

For example, if you have a tendency to give more weight to your own point of view in lessons, then you are slipping into being too dominant and you need to become a little more co-operative. Likewise, if you take any misbehaviour as a personal attack, then you are heading towards being too oppositional.

Launder gives many more examples and some practical tips as to where on the matrix you should be aiming for.

So where do you sit on the Wubbels matrix? Well, not wanting to put you through a series of observations or an extensive psychological assessment, we have devised a slightly tongue-in-cheek quiz, which, once taken, should give you a rough idea of where you stand. Then read Robin’s feature to find out whether you need to do some work on your style to have optimum impact in the classroom. 

Read the full story in the 6 June edition of TES on your tablet or phone by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up in all good newsagents.

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