Direct Instruction And Discovery Learning Essay

Direct Instruction And Discovery Learning Essay

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Direct instruction and discovery learning are two very different styles and their effectiveness has been argued extensively. This paper focuses mainly on elementary school students of science and math and the efficacy of each teaching method in those subjects. The paper investigates the effect each has on recall and retention paying attention to the cognitive load imposed upon the learner by each method when applying the concepts in later lessons (Kalyuga, 2011). The rote memorization of math facts like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division shows an edge in effectiveness and efficiency for our youngest learners over discovery learning which seeks to allow students to create their own knowledge. The author looks at testing data and meta-analyses of large collections of studies on the subject of direct instruction as well as studies showing advantages to discovery learning. While there are benefits of using each method, the author finds that the most beneficial method of teaching our youngest learners would include elements of both methods with strong emphasis on direct instruction to ease cognitive load in young students while still creating the depth of knowledge aimed for with discovery learning (Fast & Hankes, 2010). These findings imply that the United States school system should shift to a curriculum with a mix of teaching methods heavy in direct instruction to provide its students with the best preparation for the courses in higher grades (Marzano, 2011).
Direct Instruction versus Discovery Learning in Elementary School Mathematics
The debate has been fierce over the best way to teach our nation’s youth. The topic is of extreme importance in a time when it seems there is school reform every few years. Cla...


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...e the problem presented. There may be more than one correct answer.
The teacher takes the role of a “guide on the side”, no explicit answers are given. In pure discovery learning, no input at all is given after the problem is presented. Students construct the solutions to the problems presented and discover the targeted concepts for themselves. This is thought to develop a much deeper understanding of the concepts taught this way.
Child development pioneer, Jean Piaget believes not only that people learn better if they discover knowledge for themselves, but that if a child is taught something directly that could have been learned on his or her own through discovery, he or she has lost the chance to completely understand it (Klahr & Nigam, 2004). It is argued that it is more important and more valuable to teach a student how to think rather than what to think.

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