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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