In early childhood education, we encounter the term, "Developmentally Appropriate Practices" and in more advanced grades, we encounter the term, "Differentiated Instructional Strategies". They both point us to the same concept... IT IS OUR JOB TO MEET ALL STUDENTS WHERE THEY ARE AS UNIQUE INDIVIDUALS.
Therefore, the only appropriate style to teach in is the style that best suits the needs of our students. If you prefer not to conduct learning centers with young children because you don't like the initial chaos of students learning how to behave and interact with each other in order to work somewhat independently, you must question who is benefiting from your strategy. If you teach upper grades and prefer to assign group work whenever you see fit to do so, think again. You may have students who don't function best in a group setting or in a group for a particular type of assignment. Who gains?
I once had a classroom of kindergarten students with approximately 1/3 of them demonstrating difficulties with impulse control during whole group and teacher-centered lessons. It quickly became apparent that this was a developmentally younger group. When I switched to very short intervals of teacher-centered and whole-group time (just snippets of giving directions, brief demonstrations, etc.), with many intervals of small group, hands-on activities -- involving manipulatives whenever possible, the entire learning experience and classroom tone changed dramatically. We found...Success!!!
How are YOU meeting the needs of each of YOUR students?