Chatterfun News

Traditional versus Discovery & Exploration Method for Learning Language

February 1, 2013:

There are some teachers that we can never forget. These teachers are either our worst nightmare or are the only teachers who have encouraged us to broaden our horizons. The latter teachers are those who have the natural ability to engage students in the learning process and motivate them. It does not matter what they teach, we understand everything and wonder of wonders we do not forget!

These teachers are criticized by the traditional teachers who believe in memorizing the facts, procedures and definitions. However, studies have shown that teachers who create a more engaging environment are able to help students learn and understand the complex knowledge much easily and for a longer time. These teachers usually apply different techniques that help students explore and think of ideas that would seem impossible.

Discovery and exploration makes a child think out of the box. This can be done by having the child relate to a life experience and then exploring on the different outcomes that are possible and which is the most plausible of them all. Once children have learned the concept, they can then apply it in other situations that relate to such concepts.

There was a reason Matilda and her classmates liked Miss Honey. The reason was simple; she would allow them to learn things while having fun. Most discovery and exploration learning techniques applied are appropriate for teaching students complex logical subjects like mathematics and science.

Teachers who believe in traditional learning have come up with a few logical arguments to support their method. These teachers say that the traditional way has been very effective for hard to discover procedures like algebra and computer programming. These teachers are right to an extent. Program languages are written in codes for different reasons and not all of know why a certain instruction is phrased that particular way. Algebra is not as easy as finding ‘x’.  There are complex theories behind these techniques that are not easy to discover or explain unless teachers are ready to devote years to help children discover.

These traditional approach teachers might be right but there are many other concepts that can be taught by having the child discover. Just because discovery and exploration in encouraged it does not mean that it has to be totally unguided. For example, a simple science experiment where a child develops a volcano, involves a teacher explaining how a volcano is made and asking questions in the process.

The debate about which learning method is the best cannot be concluded. There is no study as yet to explain which teaching method is better. However, there is one thing for sure, students who learn through discovery and exploration are more extroverts and are much better at questioning the different things that are around them.