Friday, September 30, 2005

Deductive and Inductive Instruction

Through reading about and using deductive and inductive strategies, I have found that both effective depending on what I am teaching. While in some classes I depend mostly on students' deductive reasoning skills, I depend on their inductive reasoning skills in other classes.
In my English III classes, I usually use inductive instruction. Because my classes are based largely on discussion and critical thinking, I allow students to put ideas together to reach the big idea. Although I guide the discussions, I try to ask more questions than I answer. This way, students teach themselves and each other. Also, they enjoy my praise when they arrive at the big idea. At the same time, inductive instruction does have negative aspects. For example, sometimes students arrive at an incorrect conclusion, and I have to lead them back in the right direction.
Meanwhile, deductive instruction also has positive and negative impacts. I typically depend on this type of instruction in my Spanish classes. For example, I explain the general rule of grammar, citing an example. I then allow students to apply the rule to other relevant examples. By using this strategy, I am able to avoid students' frustration that sometimes comes with inductive reasoning. However, it sometimes feels like I am doing most of the work. (I want the students to do the work, but with a foreign language it is necessary for me interact with them constantly.)
I have discovered that inductive reasoning is most effective for my English classes, because I want students to be able to think for themselves. I would like for them to use texts to arrive at themes and main ideas. It seems more useful than giving them the main idea ahead of time. Deductive reasoning, however, is useful in Spanish classes. Because the students would get frustrated quickly if I made them discover the rules most of the time, I feel that it is better that I guide them, especially by showing examples after giving a rule.
I plan to continue using both strategies in the classroom. In addition, I would like to begin using more deductive reasoning in English III, and more inductive reasoning in Spanish. I hope to effectively use both strategies in order to aid several different types of learners.


The past several weeks have been rough, but it's always good to discuss the events with others. I have broken up several fights, had students walk out of my room, etc. At times, I was a bit's always best to go talk to Mom.
I discussed my classroom problems with my mother a few days ago, and she gave me the best advice I've heard in a while. After I explained my frustration at my students' misbehavior and apathy, she told me this story...
My Mom and Dad used to work at the Columbia Training School, one of the state's educational facilities for juvenile delinquents. They helped murderers, rapists, and other criminals. She said that one student in particular had major behavior problems. In addition, he couldn't read, write, and he didn't even know exactly how old he was. Everyone arrived at the decision that he was probably about seventeen, so "Seventeen" became his nickname. My Mom said that over the years, she tried her hardest to teach him to read and write. She never succeeded in teaching him to read, and he could only write a little bit when he left. She told me that most importantly, when Seventeen left the Columbia Training School, he knew that someone cared about him. She ended her story saying, "Sometimes it's just important for a child to know that someone is there to care for him or her." While this is a pretty simple idea, I hadn't really thought about it that way. Now I enter the classroom with a primary goal of letting the students know I care.