One of the learning families I want to summarize from this course is the process of inductive teaching. Constructing ideas and concepts from the students themselves provides meaning and engagement. This method of teaching can be scary to some teachers as there is not a direct goal or path when working with students. Generating ideas from the students is a great way to get their minds thinking and brainstorming. The next step is focusing on one topic to promote deep thinking and comprehension. “One is focusing the investigation, helping the students concentrate on a domain (an area of inquiry) they can master, without constricting them so much that they can’t use their full abilities to generate ideas.” ( Calhoun, Joyce, & Weil, 2015, p 42) Giving students the freedom to choose their own domains allows them to collectively pull together a meaningful topic where they can be most successful.
Another social learning method is role playing. Students are able to develop social skills, investigate social issues, and develop empathy when working with one another. By putting themselves in different simulated roles, they can discover their own values and how best to work with others. “It explores how values drive behavior and raises student consciousness about the role of values in their lives.” (Calhoun, Joyce, & Weil, 2015, p 258) Students can begin to figure out how to interact cooperatively with others and respectfully disagree when conflict arises. Humans are inherently social and giving students the time and space to develop these skills with provide them with long term benefits.
Calhoun, E., Weil, M., & Joyce, B. (2015). Models of Teaching. (9th ed.) Boston: Pearson.
Jerome S. Brunner’s article, Some Elements of Discovery, discusses methods of teaching where students use knowledge and learning from school in meaningful and effective ways. Tools that students can draw upon when progressing to the next subject, grade, or level. Rather than focusing on learning new material, students need to discover what they already know to approach new information. “Discovery teaching involves not so much the process of leading students to discover what is ‘out there,’ but, rather, their discovering what is in their own heads.” (Brunner, 1966) Students have many skills they can use towards education, they just need the techniques discover them. Figuring out what they’ve got is the first step to higher learning and thinking.
Brunner compares student’s learning by discovery to concept formation in an example where a class develops ideas of a steadying tool when discussing what the purpose of a compass to draw circles is. The students collaborated together and made meaning from information they already knew. When students listened to each other, they found more and more connections which grew the class’s understanding. ““The children are getting connections that allow them to travel from one part of the system to the other and when something new comes in, they find compatible connections.” (Brunner, 1966) The students formed their own abstract idea of what a steadying tool is based on evidence they already had in their heads. Teaching students methods to unlock this potential will lead to productive and effective approaches to all areas of their education.
Brunner, J. S. (1966). Some Elements of Discovery. Learning by Discovery: A Critical Appraisal.
Rand McNally & Company: Michigan.
Inductive learning is the process of students making sense of new information through what they already know or have experienced. It is a basic form of teaching that allows students to construct their own learning, knowledge and information. Inductive teaching allows students to discover concepts and topics they are interested in with the teacher following whatever route the class decides. This style of teaching could make an educator uncomfortable when leading as it is not a predictable lesson that planned out with details. Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2004) emphasize practicing and giving control over to the class when teaching inductively. “Let go and have fun. Build a learning community around the model – designing a weekly lesson won’t accomplish that.” (Joyce et al., 2004, p. 66) Inductive teaching can be an enjoyable experience as the learning is happening spontaneously while keeping standards and requirements in mind.
An example of the inductive teaching model can be seen where a class of fourth grade students are deciding the topic of a research project. They eventually decide to explore the topic of ancestry and researching their family history. Students show interest in this topic because it relates to their lives and is meaningful to their identity. They will practice research skills and discover new details about their past. This assignment will also create a sense of pride for their ancestor’s past and how that has brought them to the present. It will be a fun experience and since the students came up with the topic themselves, they will be more engaged and interested.
Calhoun E., Joyce B., & Weil M. (2004). Models of Teaching. (9th ed.) New Jersey: Pearson.