The following summary is based on Muska Mosston’s spectrum of teaching styles (Teaching Physical Education, 3rd Edition, Merrill Publishing Company, 1986).  These styles are described to assist the teacher in Physical Education to use a variety of teaching strategies to enhance learning and development of students.  In many cases, the type of activity or sport dictates the style or strategy used.  In addition, the characteristics of the teacher and the learners affect how the material is presented and assimilated.  This summary was downloaded from (






  • Teacher makes all decisions
  • Teacher directed instructions re: location, start time, pace, stop time, demonstration, etc. 
  • Learner responds to instructions
  • Class is set up in an orderly manner
  • Teacher circulates to give feedback
  • Examples include dance, aerobics, drills, etc. 
  • efficient use of time (time on task is high)
  • learning by recall and repeated performance
  • fixed standard of performance (based on model)
  • progress is rapid
  • no “thinking” on part of students other than memory


  • learner performs tasks prescribed by teacher, but learner determines pace, rhythm, start, stop, interval
  • teacher circulates to give individual feedback
  • designed for individual practice, class is dispersed
  • examples include individual skills in volleyball, basketball shooting, etc.
  • learners held accountable for decisions
  • learners begin to experience independence
  • providing activity for students who finish task
  • time on task can be affected


  • class is organized in pairs or threes
  • observer gives feedback, doer performs the skill, feeder, if necessary, feeds object to doer
  • observer makes feedback decisions, rather than teacher
  • use of task cards or criteria sheets designed by teacher
  • teacher communicates only with observers
  • greater socialization between students
  • students take more active role in learning process
  • constant presence of teacher not required
  • teacher trusts students to make decisions


  • learners assess themselves in comparison to criteria sheets established by teacher
  • examples include individual skills, target games, fitness results, etc.
  • teacher provides feedback at end of class
  • students monitor themselves
  • self-check is private
  • students learn their own limits, successes, failures
  • more concerned with the results of a movement, not the movement itself


  • multiple levels of performance of the same task to allow for success of all learners (slanted rope)
  • accommodates individual skill differences
  • student chooses the level of performance based on perceived ability
  • self-assessment
  • teacher provides feedback regarding the decision-making process, not the chosen level
  • examples include gymnastics, basketball shooting (distance from basket), fitness and weight training
  • students can take a step backward to experience success
  • inclusive, invites involvement
  • be aware of the gap between reality and aspiration
  • some students have difficulty choosing a particular level because they are conditioned to being told
  • often a positive style for students who get excluded from other activities


  • teacher guides students through a series of problems in which students make decisions to arrive at solutions
  • each step is based on the response to the previous step
  • teacher must wait for the learner’s response and offer frequent feedback or clues (patience)
  • examples include center of gravity in gymnastics, levers, stability, strength, speed, the need for a variety of passes in basketball, etc.
  • lots of preparation on part of teacher
  • teacher must be prepared to experiment with the “unknown” because responses may be unanticipated
  • minimal social contact with other students, but cognitive involvement is high
  • level of physical activity may be low


  • learner is engaged in discovering a number of solutions to a problem
  • cooperative learning, each solution has value
  • teacher merely encourages responses, does not make judgments
  • examples include rolling the body, getting from one side of the gym to another using limited equipment, combining movements in gymnastics or dance, tactics in sport, game situations, etc.
  • demanding for the teacher, must have expertise in the area
  • creativity of students
  • cooperation of students


  • program developed by the learner based on physical and cognitive abilities
  • highly individualistic, not suited to all learners
  • learner designs the questions and the solutions
  • teacher observes, guides and provides individual conferences
  • enrichment activity
  • prior experience in an activity is necessary for learners to engage in this style
  • time consuming – thinking, experimenting, performing, recording