Style is a very personal subject, but most teachers are flexible and can incorporate a variety of styles within their repertoire. When thinking about style, we need to consider whether it is right for a particular lesson with its new emphasis, and whether it will serve the students as they engage with this new perspective. Style can be formal or informal, and both of these can have many kinds of practices. For example, if we are exploring sensitive or controversial aspects of sin and brokenness, a formal approach is sometimes appropriate to give students structure and distance. If the lesson is about serving the community by cooking for the elderly and you are joining in, a more informal style is appropriate. If the emphasis is on fostering focused attentiveness, then our general style, whatever it is, might have to slow down to incorporate, say, a slow reading of a text.
- Teachers can use a more formal style when looking at difficult subjects such as locker room anxiety in PE or tackling inappropriate celebrations when scoring. The formality gives structure that can help students engage with the subject in a way that is less threatening. A formal presentation can create the distance needed for students to consider the role of faith in their own lives in relation to a character in a story in English class.
- Teachers can use an informal style to draw children into a Bible story so that they can engage with the characters. A conversational style can be used in Bible class and science when talking about faith and reason.
These examples show how adjusting our general style can make a difference to a lesson and can reinforce a new understanding.