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You gotta have style

Sue Cowley favours the drama queen approach, others enjoy the old school tie method.Teachers are a stylish bunch - we all have our unique teaching styles. While the strategies and techniques for good teaching remain the same, the way we apply them varies hugely.

There are the comedians, who use a relaxed style - making the pupils laugh and seeing the funny side when things go wrong. And then there are the earth mothers or fathers, who favour a gentle, approachable manner.

Some teachers enjoy the old school tie method: firm, disciplined and hard to please. In a similar vein is the brisk, businesslike manner often used by those keen to move into senior management.

Crazy works for me - the drama queen (or king) approach. The pupils never know quite what might happen next and it keeps them on their toes. Effective teachers adapt their style to appeal to different classes: a tender approach with nervous reception children, a no-nonsense tack with a chatty Year 7 class, an informal, "we're in this together" one with disaffected GCSE pupils.

Whatever your personal style, if it works for you and your kids, then that's all that matters. We might not earn any prizes for sartorial elegance, but in the teaching style stakes we win hands down

Sue Cowley is an educational author, trainer and presenter. Her books include Guerilla Guide to Teaching (Continuum). For more information, visit www.suecowley.co.uk

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