Teaching Style: International Education Explained

In the realm of education, teaching styles are as diverse as the cultures they originate from. This article delves into the intricacies of teaching styles in the context of international education. We will explore the various teaching methods employed around the globe, the philosophies that underpin them, and how they contribute to the rich tapestry of international education.

International education is a broad term that encompasses a variety of educational practices and philosophies from around the world. It is a field that is continually evolving, shaped by global trends, technological advancements, and cultural exchanges. As we journey through this glossary, we will uncover the unique characteristics of different teaching styles and their impact on international education.

Understanding Teaching Styles

Teaching styles refer to the distinct methods and strategies used by educators to facilitate learning. These styles can be influenced by a variety of factors, including cultural norms, educational philosophies, and individual teacher’s beliefs about learning.

Teaching styles are not one-size-fits-all. They can vary greatly from one teacher to another, from one school to another, and from one country to another. This diversity in teaching styles is one of the hallmarks of international education, offering students a rich and varied learning experience.

Authoritative Teaching Style

The authoritative teaching style is characterised by a high level of both responsiveness and demandingness. Teachers who adopt this style set clear standards and expectations for their students, but they also provide a high level of support and feedback. This style is often associated with positive student outcomes, including higher academic achievement and better social skills.

Internationally, the authoritative teaching style is widely used and respected. It strikes a balance between maintaining order and fostering a supportive learning environment. This style can be seen in many Western countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, where teachers are expected to be both guides and disciplinarians.

Permissive Teaching Style

The permissive teaching style is characterised by a high level of responsiveness but low demandingness. Teachers who adopt this style are often warm and nurturing, but they may lack clear or consistent expectations for their students. This style can lead to students feeling loved and accepted, but it may also result in lower academic achievement.

Internationally, the permissive teaching style is less common in formal education settings. However, it can be seen in certain alternative education models, such as Montessori or Waldorf schools, which emphasise child-led learning and deemphasise traditional grading systems.

Teaching Styles in Different Cultures

Teaching styles are deeply influenced by culture. They reflect a society’s values, beliefs, and attitudes towards education and learning. By examining teaching styles in different cultures, we can gain a deeper understanding of how education is approached around the world.

International education is a melting pot of these diverse teaching styles. It offers students the opportunity to experience different ways of learning, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures.

Eastern Teaching Styles

Eastern teaching styles, particularly those found in countries like China and Japan, often emphasise discipline, respect for authority, and rote learning. Teachers are viewed as the ultimate source of knowledge, and students are expected to listen, absorb, and reproduce this knowledge.

However, this is not to say that creativity and critical thinking are not valued in Eastern education. In fact, many Eastern countries are now incorporating more Western teaching methods, such as problem-based learning and student-led discussions, into their educational systems.

Western Teaching Styles

Western teaching styles, on the other hand, often emphasise creativity, critical thinking, and individuality. Teachers are viewed more as facilitators of learning rather than the sole source of knowledge. Students are encouraged to ask questions, challenge ideas, and explore their own interests.

Despite these general trends, it’s important to note that there is a great deal of diversity within both Eastern and Western teaching styles. For example, the teaching styles in Northern European countries like Finland and Sweden can be quite different from those in the United States or the United Kingdom.

The Impact of Teaching Styles on International Education

Teaching styles play a crucial role in shaping international education. They influence how students learn, how they interact with their teachers and peers, and how they perceive education and learning.

As students encounter different teaching styles in international education, they learn to adapt to different learning environments, develop new ways of thinking, and gain a broader perspective on education and the world. This exposure to diverse teaching styles is one of the many benefits of international education.

Adapting to Different Teaching Styles

One of the challenges of international education is learning to adapt to different teaching styles. This can be a difficult adjustment for students who are used to a particular style of teaching. However, it can also be a valuable learning experience, helping students to become more flexible and adaptable learners.

Teachers in international education also need to be adaptable. They need to understand and respect the diverse teaching styles of their colleagues, and they need to be able to adjust their own teaching style to meet the needs of their diverse student population.

Developing New Ways of Thinking

Exposure to different teaching styles can also help students develop new ways of thinking. For example, a student who is used to a more authoritative teaching style may learn to think more independently and creatively when exposed to a more permissive teaching style. Conversely, a student who is used to a more permissive teaching style may learn to appreciate the structure and discipline of a more authoritative teaching style.

These shifts in thinking can have a profound impact on a student’s learning and development. They can help students become more well-rounded learners, capable of thinking critically, creatively, and independently.


Teaching styles are a fundamental aspect of international education. They reflect the diversity of educational practices and philosophies around the world, offering students a rich and varied learning experience.

As we continue to explore and understand these diverse teaching styles, we can better appreciate the complexity and richness of international education. And as we learn to adapt to and appreciate these different styles, we can become more effective educators and learners in the global classroom.

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