Examining Your Teaching Style

Have you ever examined your own teaching style when working with a student clinician? In teacher education, Blumberg identified 2 types of supervisory behaviours:

Direct Supervisory Behaviours: telling, giving opinions & suggestions, suggesting change, criticizing, evaluating, AND

Indirect Supervisory Behaviours:
accepting/clarifying student questions, asking student opinions, accepting student ideas, praising performance, discussing supervisor/ee relationship

He developed the following 4 supervisory styles and validated these categories based on students’ perceptions of their supervisors’ styles.

Style A: High Direct/High Indirect: both telling/evaluating but also much listening and asking

Style B: High Direct/Low Indirect: a great deal of telling/evaluating; less listening/asking

Style C: Low Direct/High Indirect: little telling/criticizing, more listening and reflecting back students’ ideas and feelings

Style D: Low Direct/Low Indirect: supervisor perceived by student as passive, not interacting much

Ideas for the Clinical Educator:

  • record a post-session conference with your student
  • tally the types of “direct” and “indirect” comments you make during the conference
  • determine which style best captures your interaction. Does it confirm what you expected? Is there anything you would change?

“[students] seemed to be saying that the more their supervisor came across in an indirect manner the more they were able to get insight into themselves, both into their [professional] role and as a person.” (Blumberg, 1980, p. 67)

What strategies for analyzing your teaching style have you used? Let us know


Blumberg, A. (1980). Supervisors & Teachers: A Private Cold War. Berkeley, Ca: McCutchan Publishing Corporation