A blog about all things pertaining to Trent Lott, Leadership and Blogs.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Deductive vs. Inductive

At the Jackson Public School convocation right before school started, the keynote speaker was some teacher from New York, I believe, her name was Successful McTeacher but I don't recall for sure. After she spoke for a while about some vague teaching strategies that ultimately worked because of her personality and for no reason of relevance to me, they showed some clips of her in the classroom. She would introduce a concept and shout out a questions to advance the student's comprehension and the students would shout back answers. I wondered ... this is great for the students inclined to shout back, but what did the others gain from the experience? I saw this again when a teacher from another middle school came to my classroom to model a lesson through some math teacher exchange program. It looks great for observers because it feeds off the intelligence of the best kids, but the remainder are inevitabely left behind.

My impression is that this is true of most inductive teaching strategies as well. I would rather my students learned just about everything through inductive teaching, but only in a world where all my students bore the potential to acquire knowledge in this fashion. Our curriculum is packed and leaves us little time for anything but a quick and cursory treatement of each math concept. The few times I chose to introduce a topic through inductive strategies, I found myself compelled to move on as soon as a few smart kids "got it." I doubt if anyone else gained much benefit from the excercise at all. I can see that deductive teaching does not provide the same intuitive grasp of the subject matter, but at least everyone can gain exposure to the processes and methods necessary to gain competency in the subject. Otherwise I'm no different than the teacher who teaches to a few smart kids shouting out answers and leaving the others behind. For now I'llmostly stick with deductive, forego the intimate knowledge of the subject matter and just try to keep as many students as possible on the same page.


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