By the time the worldviews underlying formalism and progressivism transmute into classroom practice, considerable variety in classroom behaviour may ensue. A Teaching Styles Model posits five teaching styles from more to less teacher-centred. The Authoritarian, Formalistic, Flexible, Liberal and Democratic styles are not intended as ‘better’ than one another, such evaluative judgements being external to the model. Further classroom research can help clarify conflicts about different types of teaching that are implicit in teacher training, inspections, curriculum design, and syllabus and textbook production in ‘developing’ countries. The implication is that conscious, independent choices should be made about the appropriateness of a teaching style or styles, and these choices should be based on country-specific evidence and be aligned with their economic and administrative realities. Systemic barriers to classroom change are problematic, but extra financial and administrative capacity if available can be applied more cost-effectively for the benefit of formalistic schools, classrooms and teachers than for more expensive progressive reforms with dubious likelihood of success.