• Introduction
  • The practice style (b)
  • Pros and cons of the practice style
  • Final thoughts
  • Pre-impact set: a set of educational decisions that define the intent of the lesson. Includes planning, preparation, organizing, etc.
  • Impact set: a set of actions made during the lesson and one-on-one feedback. The implementation of the pre-impact decisions in the actual lesson.
  • Post-impact set: the assessment made after the lesson. Evaluating the goal and the outcome.


The spectrum of teaching styles was created by Muska Mosston (1966) as a guide for physical education teachers. These teaching styles make sure that the educator caters to each student’s needs while ensuring that the students learn all the necessary skills, concepts, and processes ingrained in physical education. Mosston himself said that it is “a framework of options in the relationships between teacher and learner”.

Mosston’s teaching styles consist of eleven different teaching styles, ranging from more teacher-directed lessons to student-oriented styles. Each of these styles has its own characteristics, strengths, and uses in the classroom.

This post focuses on the practice style, and why it is such an important method for teachers of physical education.

The practice style (b)

The practice style refers to a teaching method where the teacher first describes/demonstrates a task and then lets the students practice it at their own pace. For example, when a teacher demonstrates how to throw a basketball from the free-throw line before letting students practice the task by themselves. Thus, the learner is responsible for privately practicing a specific memory/reproduction task. In simple terms, the learner is replicating a task from stored memory. 

The teacher’s role is to make all of the subject matter and logistical decisions (pre-impact decisions) and provide individual feedback after the exercise (post-impact decisions). On the other hand, the student is responsible for all the decisions during the exercise. This includes factors such as location, time per task, order of the task, pace, intervals, etc. 




Pre-impact set:
(decisions that define the intent – specific planning & preparation of the lesson)


Impact set:
(decisions related to the implementation of the lesson plan & face-to-face interaction)


Post-impact set:
(decisions concerning assessment after the lesson)


This means that the learner is able to decide how they practice that specific task. By doing so, the teacher also initiates the student’s independence as they have control of the way the exercise is performed.

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The practice style (b)

The teacher demonstrates a taskThe learner makes decisions how to perform the task(Order, starting time, pace, stopping time, intervals, location, posture, appearance & questions)The learner practices the task to the best of their abilitiesTeacher provides answers & individual feedback

Pros and cons of the practice style

By shifting some of the decisions from the teacher to the student, it is possible to start individualizing the learning process to better suit the students’ needs. This effect is two-fold: the teacher must see each learner as individual performers with their own responsibilities while refraining from giving feedback for every decision, movement, or comment.

On the other hand, the learner must take initiative and learn how to make decisions according to the logistical instructions provided by the teacher. Thus, the learner learns how to take responsibility for their own decisions as they participate in the process of individualization. In short, the learner can experience autonomy and independence.

Although the practice style allows for a lot of individual decision-making, it is often used in situations with a relatively direct path to the objective. Much like in our previous example, where the teacher set a training goal of learning how to throw a basketball from the free-throw line, the instructions alone provide relatively little room for personal decision-making.

The students must also be able to perform the task without guidance, whereas more skilled students must learn how to challenge themselves within the training parameters. Lastly, the teacher is responsible for feedback, which leaves out possible peer feedback from other learners. Luckily, there are other teaching styles that take this into consideration.

Final thoughts

The practice style is one of the most common teaching styles around – and for good reason! It offers a nice blend of teacher-driven tasks while giving the students some room to make their own decisions on how they perform the task. This style also works well for both large and small groups.

Although it would be easy to implement the practice style in all of your lessons, it is important that you also use more student-oriented teaching styles once they have learned the basics. After all, feelings of competence, relatedness, and autonomy are significant contributors to sparking your intrinsic motivation. Luckily, the spectrum of teaching styles has plenty of other options, so be sure to check them out!

Did you learn anything new about the practice style? let us know in the comments!


  • Magill, R. A. (1998). Motor learning: concepts and applications (5th Ed.). McGraw-Hill, Boston.
  • Mosston, M. & Ashworth, S. (2008) Teaching Physical Education. 1st Online Edition. Cited on 20.9.2021.

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