Hello and welcome again my name is Jo Gakonga this is another
video for elt-training.com. This month we going to be looking at guided
You might be asking this question and the answer to it is
that guided discovery is a way of presenting language. Particularly presenting
grammar. We have two approaches to presenting new language -we can use an
inductive approach, or a deductive approach.
A deductive approach
is one where the teacher gives a rule first like this, and then asks the
students to give an example from that rule.
This has its origins right back in Aristotle’s deductive
reasoning. All men are mortal, Socrates
is a man, therefore S is mortal. We work
from the rule to deduce the current example.
An inductive approach is a bit different. We start with
examples of language and look at it for patterns, usually with the help of some
questions from the teacher.
So in this approach, we start with the examples, and work
towards finding out the rules and it’s the questions that the teacher
asks which make it a guided discovery approach.
Here’s an example. If
we are introducing the past tense to low-level learners, we might give them a
text like this and asked them to underline the verbs
They can see from this that the past tense is formed with –ed
at the end of the verb.
After this, you might give them some other examples to show
that not all verbs work this way. Sometimes this is called ‘noticing’ or
So what are the advantages and disadvantages of this
approach. Is it any better?
well, the research evidence is very mixed. Some trials have
shown that it works well some not so well, so there’s probably no right answer
But it does seem likely that a rule but you work out yourself
is going to be more memorable than one that somebody tells you
it gives learners practice in identifying patterns in
and this might help them to become better learners.
The other really good reason I can see is that it
gives learners time for speaking practice and it avoids the teacher giving a chalk
and talk grammar presentation
there are some disadvantages though. Not all learners are
going to like this
and it’s not easy for the teacher. You need to be quite
imaginative and have a solid knowledge of the language
the other big problem is that a lot of grammar rules just
aren’t that tidy
let’s have a look at this one for example. If I look at these
two sentences, I’d be tempted to think that we use the present perfect with
unfinished time and the simple past with finish time. Of course that can be
but if I have a look at these examples I can see the simple
past being used for unfinished time and the present perfect been used for
something which might have happened years ago.
So let’s have a look at some examples that do work well. This
approach tends to work best where the meaning is quite straightforward but the
form is complicated-comparatives and superlatives are a good example of this. The
meaning isn’t very difficult but there are lots of different forms. We could
give the learner’s and text like this. Ask
them to underline all the adjectives and then ask them to look for the patterns.
Obviously, this only covers a small part of this grammatical area – if you were
doing it in class, you’d need to look at a lot more examples and ask a lot more
Question tags are another great example. The meaning is
really easy here and in many languages the form’s very easy too. Unfortunately,
not in English. So you could give some examples, and ask questions to support
the learners to find out the rules. Again, you’d have to expand this to look at
which auxiliary to use in a real class.
Articles are another grammatical feature of English where the
meaning is usually not very important but the form is horrendous – sooo many
rules! Here, you could elicit that the
first time we mention something we use ‘a’ and after that ‘the.
Other examples? Conditionals, determiners with count and
non-count nouns, (have you got ANY apples? Yes, I’ve got SOME) word order with
adverbs of frequency (I alwaysgo but I amalways late) the backshift of tenses in reported speech …anything where
the form is very rule-bound works well.
Just a word of caution before we finish – remember that this
is about language presentation – making sure that the learners know the way the
language works. This doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to use it – they’ll need
lots of practice to do this.