small black sboard

Inductive Method of Teaching

What is the Inductive Method of Teaching?

The inductive teaching method presents the solutions/examples but does not explain the general rule (or formula for the solution). Learners are required to infer the general rules.

An example from a math lecture

I will explain it using the duality between deduction and induction because the deductive method is the most prevalent. It is what most people think when they say learning.

The deductive method of teaching

Example: The teacher writes the formula to calculate the area of a rectangle: AREA = Length x Width. Then students are asked to calculate the area of the given rectangles.

This is the most common method of teaching. First, learn the general rule (formula), then solves the questions. We can teach students the formula of the rectangle in a different way.

The Inductive method of teacing

Example: Teacher draws a rectangle to the blackboard. She demonstrates the unit squares in the rectangle as follows:

A rectangle with unit squares

She counts the number of unit squares. She explains that the count of the unit squares is a measure of the rectangle’s area. We show a few more examples. Then students are asked to infer the general rule.

An Example From a Language Class

I am not going to make a comparison with the deductive method.

Example: The lecturer teaches some sentences commonly used in daily life such as “My name is… “, “How are you?”, “What is your name” and “How old are you” along with the commonly used words. (If you would like to learn a language, learn the most commonly used 1000 words as first thing) The Lecturer uses simple tense to create sentences. Students are asked to do the same using the sentence and words they know. By doing so, they get familiar with the new language. After months of learning, the lecturer presents some grammar rules. Each rule comes with a lot of examples. Students are asked to use these rules by speaking, writing, listening, and reading.

Imagine what happens if you present grammar rules first.

An Example From a Reading Class

Example: In primary school, students learn reading and writing. Learning either starts with letters in order from a to z or starts with example sentences/words. Students will infer the reading in time by repeating. It is controversial which method is better, but both involve a lot of examples and practice. Teaching sounds alone never enough to learn reading for anyone.

The Advantage of the Inductive Method of Teaching

The method of inductive reasoning is demanding for both students and lecturers. Efforts may lead to a failed inference, but students will still better understand the rectangle’s area. If the teacher explains the area of all polygons, in the same way, students will have a better understanding of the area formulas. If they forget to formula, for instance, they could derive them on their own.

Moreover, the inductive method of teaching is also a practice for inductive reasoning. It helps students to be self-learner.

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