• Introduction
  • The basics of the self-teaching style (k)
  • The pros and cons of the self-teaching style
  • Final thoughts
  • Sources
  • 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.
  • Pedagogy: the method and practice of teaching.


The spectrum of teaching styles was first developed by an Israeli sports scientist named Muska Mosston in 1966. The purpose of this spectrum was to be used as a guide for physical education teachers to ensure all lessons satisfy each students’ individual learning needs. Thus, helping pupils learn the fundamental skills, concepts, and processes found in PE. Mosston himself characterized the spectrum as “a framework of options in the relationships between teacher and learner”.

The spectrum of teaching styles consists of eleven distinct teaching methods. These styles range from teacher-focused styles to more student-oriented techniques. All of which have its own distinct characteristics, strengths, and functions in physical education.

This post concentrates on the final style in the spectrum – the self-teaching style. 

The basics of the self-teaching style (k)

The self-teaching style is characterized by the learner’s own motivation, desire, perseverance, and ability to create their own learning experience. Here, the learner assumes the roles of both teacher and learner. Because this teaching style is self-initiated, its content, process, and success criteria are determined entirely by the learner. Thus, they have to identify the shortcomings in their own performance and analyze the skill/concept first to be successful in it. 

So who is this teaching style for? It could be anyone with the willingness and aptitude to understand the subject they are trying to master. For example, trying to uncover new scientific find, exploring an unknown area, or trying to understand the complex nature of a new hobby can all be considered self-teaching to some degree. Furthermore, this style also includes a huge variety of skill or experience levels – there is always something new to learn as long as the individual is bold enough to push their own boundaries.




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)


Because the self-teaching style relies heavily on intrinsic motivation, it cannot be initiated or assigned by another person. Therefore, it does not exist in a school setting. Another thing to keep in mind is that it often fits better with curious and determined learners than traditionally “gifted” students. 

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The Self-Teaching Style (k)

The learner assumes the roles of both the teacher and the learnerAll decisions regarding the subject are done by the learnerRelies on intrinsic motivation and desire to learnWorks well with motivated individuals that show high levels of perseveranceDoes not exist in the classroom

The pros and cons of the self-teaching style

The biggest benefit of the self-teaching style is that it solely relies on the learner. Thus, the learner can choose the topic, materials, methods while working at their own pace. The learning process is also not tied to a certain time or place. This also means that the learner will have more opportunities to train while being less stressed about failing in front of others. 

With these in mind, the self-teaching style requires a high level of intrinsic motivation. Having the possibility to make all decisions regarding the subject results in a high level of autonomy, relatedness, and competence. All of which further fuel the motivation and the learning process of the individual. 

However, the self-teaching style is not optimal for all learners. First, the learner must now some basics skills and concepts in the subject to make any meaningful progress. Thus, they may need to learn these skills through other means and teaching styles.

Second, the self-teaching style is highly individualistic. This can lead to a situation where the learner is unable to adapt to the social conditions, traditions, or norms that the subject has to offer. This “lone wolf” style with little face-to-face interaction can hinder the overall learning progress and ultimately give a one-dimensional view of the topic.

Final thoughts

The process of self teaching takes place in the mind of the individual. Therefore, it does not need feedback from outside sources, such as an audience, a friend, or a teacher, unless the learner specifically goes to them for feedback. Even then, the learner must consider whether the feedback they receive is relevant to them or not. 

Because the self-teaching style is the last method in the spectrum of teaching styles, it is often considered the apex of human learning – the style that frees the individual from the dependence of others. Like any other method, the self-teaching style also has its limitations as it represents only a small portion of the world of teaching styles. So, instead of a particular style, the entire spectrum of teaching styles should be considered as the cornerstone for well-rounded physical education. 

From a pedagogical (the method and practice of teaching) standpoint, the learner should be seen as an independent person, whose goal is to adapt to the conditions of their surroundings. Thus, the spectrum of teaching styles helps the learner experience the physical, social, and emotional goals seen in physical education. 

Did you learn anything new about the self-teaching style? Let us know in the comments. 


  • Mosston, M. & Ashworth, S. (2008) Teaching Physical Education. 1st Online Edition.

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