Strict Vs. Lenient: What Should An Ideal Educator Be?

Strict Vs. Lenient: What Should An Ideal Educator Be?

Different educators have different approaches when it comes to teaching. However, in general, teachers can be grouped into two main classifications: those who impose strict rules in the classroom and those who are liberal. A strict educator expects all students to be responsible in performing their part of the learning process, while a lenient teacher recognises the fact that students come from different backgrounds and have different potentials.

A common challenge for new educators is to figure out which approach to teaching works best for them and their students. Workshops for leadership training in Singapore touch on this strict-versus-liberal debate. Just like business leaders, teachers are usually confronted with the dilemma of whether to practice rigidity or liberality in the classroom. In this article, we will look at the essential advantages of strictness and leniency in the classroom to identify which of them should be possessed by an educator.

Advantages of Strictness

As mentioned earlier, strict teachers are those who expect their students to take responsibility for their part of the learning process. They challenge their students behaviorally and academically and often use punishment as a way of encouraging their students to improve. Perhaps, one good thing about being a strict educator is that you can push your students to prepare responsibly for their lessons and become more attentive in class.

Here are some ways in which being strict in class can benefit students:


A strict educator is usually characterised by a lack of redundant emotions, clear subordination, and sometimes even indifference to their students’ achievements. With the display of such behaviour, even the slightest motivation from the strict teacher can be treated by the students as the highest degree of praise. This then encourages the students to reach more achievements in class. 

Hard Work

A strict educator often prefers to underestimate rather than overestimate their students’ capabilities. As a result, they make their students work hard, and underachieving students are repeatedly pushed to redo tasks that are poorly performed. This teaching approach disciplines students and forces them to develop attentiveness and concentration. 

Goal Achievement 

A strict educator sets academic goals and a course of action to attain them. They insist that their students should clearly satisfy their duties and follow the desired direction they have set in class. As a result, their students tend to develop a penchant for participating in competitions and intellectual games with the highest demands.

Advantages of Leniency 

A lenient teacher is the opposite of a strict one – they are warm, and they acknowledge the value and potential of each of their students. Leniency and kindness are among the most essential resources of every educator, as they allow them to create conditions for creative self-development and independence in their students.

Without consideration and kindness, a teacher would find it very hard to make other educational techniques work. However, it is important to keep in mind that kindness is not necessarily forgiveness and sentimentality. In essence, leniency or kindness pertains to a teacher’s interest in working with their students in a safe and comfortable environment and their desire to see the latter as individuals, not as cogs in a machine.

Here are some ways in which leniency can help an educator:

Promoting a supportive learning environment

Leniency can foster a supportive and comfortable classroom environment where students feel safe to express themselves, ask questions, and make mistakes without the fear of harsh consequences. This can enhance overall learning experiences.

Encouraging risk-taking

When educators are lenient to a reasonable extent, students are more likely to take academic risks. They may be more willing to try new approaches, explore creative ideas, and participate actively in class discussions.

Cultivating a growth mindset

A lenient approach can encourage the development of a growth mindset in students, where they believe that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. They are more likely to embrace challenges and persevere in the face of setbacks.

Reducing stress and anxiety

An overly strict or punitive atmosphere can lead to heightened stress and anxiety among students. Leniency can alleviate some of this pressure, making the learning process less daunting and more enjoyable. 


Strictness and leniency in the classroom come with their respective benefits. As such, it is difficult to determine with certainty which approach to teaching is best to facilitate student success. That said, students are likely unanimous that an effective teacher must know how to strike a delicate balance between being strict and liberal in class. These qualities are not mutually exclusive – an educator can be strict in class while still leaving room for consideration and kindness.

Learn how to keep a balance between strictness and liberality in class by signing up for StrengthsAsia’s teacher training and leadership development workshops in Singapore. With the help of our CliftonStrengths education programmes, you can effectively nurture a healthy, comfortable, and strengths-based education culture that underpins students’ optimal learning.

Aside from training workshops for teachers and business leaders, we provide excellent corporate team-building workshops to help businesses improve collaboration and productivity in their organisations. Find out more about StrengthsAsia and the courses we offer by reaching out to us here.

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