In the inductive process, students seek patterns and use them to identify their broader meanings and significance. In the deductive process, meanings or rules are given, and students have to then apply them.
I’m a huge fan of using inductive learning, and plenty of research (which you’ll find in the resources on this list) document its effectiveness.
I’ve written many posts about it, and thought it would be useful to bring together a few of my best ones, along with resources developed by others, that explain the inductive process and how to apply it in mainstream and English Language Learner classrooms (feel free to make suggestions of ones I’ve missed):
The British Council has shared a short post that Paul Kaye wrote six years ago that does a great job explaining the difference between inductive and deductive, and he provides a number of practical examples from the language-learning classroom. Check out his article, Presenting New Language.
Here are two British Council posts where I wrote about it:
So what do you think the purpose of consciousness is?
I think the purpose of it is to draw all the relevant information together in a larger space. It’s almost as if we can’t spot it because we are doing it all the time. Why do we love crossword puzzles and why are people addicted to sudoku? That’s what a huge bit of the cortex is primed to do — to spot [patterns] — and once we spot them we can assimilate them into our pyramid of knowledge and build more layers of strategy, and knowing how to do that makes us incredibly successful at controlling the world.
And that’s why solving puzzles or finding a useful bit of information feels so good?
We get streams of pleasure when we find something that can really help us understand some deep pattern. Sudoku isn’t the most [fun activity], but it sure feels good when you put in that last number. It’s why scientists love doing research. The way I approach my job, it’s like trying to solve a really big fuzzy crossword puzzle and when you do put in that new clue and see the deeper pattern, that’s incredibly pleasurable.
If our brains are hungry for information, then why do we tend to see learning as a chore and fail to recognize it as a huge source of pleasure?
I don’t know. Obviously, more intelligent people get more pleasure from spotting these patterns, but I think almost every normal person does this. I think it’s a pretty pervasive thing but it’s almost as if we can’t notice it because it’s so pervasive.
The blog also has a useful chart. It’s worth checking-out but, in summary, it discusses findings that students will remember things far better if they bring their own meaning to in a way they choose:
What this research suggests is that, merely in terms of remembering, it would be more effective for students to come up with their own organisation for course material…..You’ll remember better (and understand much better) if you try and re-organise the material you’ve been given in your own way.
If you are a teacher, like me, then this research raises some distrurbing questions. At a University the main form of teaching we do is the lecture, which puts the student in a passive role and, essentially, asks them to “remember this” – an instruction we know to be ineffective. Instead, we should be thinking hard, always, about how to create teaching experiences in which students are more active, and about creating courses in which students are permitted and encouraged to come up with their own organisation of material, rather than just forced to regurgitate ours.
It’s nothing particularly new, but any research that backs up that kind of perspective certainly can’t hurt….
And here’s a photo with just a few of the many wonderful students I taught this year:
I thought the last day of school would be a good time for me to take some time and reflect on what I want to do the same – and differently – to make next year an even better one!
Here is what I’ve come up with – please share your own reflections in the comments section:
BEGINNING ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS:
* One thing I did differently this year was spend a shorter amount of time (a few months instead of most of the school year) using the Picture Word Induction Model (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching) before I moved students into more formal academic writing. That change seemed to work quite well, and was facilitated by having a bilingual aide work more intensively with newcomers while I was working with the larger numbers of High Beginners/Low Intermediates.
* This summer, Katie Hull and I are writing our third book on teaching ELLs. We both experimented with a number of new instructional strategies this year, and our writing over the next two months will give us a chance to reflect on them. As we all know, writing helps us think better, and I’m hoping that this process will help me implement many of these strategies more effectively and systematically next year!
* In that evaluation, several students did comment on the clutter in my room. That was a well-founded critique, and this week moved many materials into a storage closet across from my room. I can access materials from there when needed instead of keeping them all in my room.
* When I introduce class evaluations, I always request that students take it very seriously and help me become a better teacher. This year, though, I made an addition. I said that they should feel free to make a funny comment if they wanted, but that it had to be accompanied by a serious one. Not only did that admonition, I believe, result in more substantial evaluations, but it also meant I received more and funnier comments than I have received in the past. I hope to compile them in the next week or two. Several were along with lines of “He is a good teacher considering he is an old man.” After reading them, I assured my classes that I would somehow identify who wrote those lines and hunt them down 🙂
ELL SOCIAL STUDIES CLASSES
* I like the curriculum I’ve developed for my ELL World History, U.S. History and Geography classes (you can see much of it at our class blogs). I pretty much supervised student teachers in all of them. I think I got very lucky this year with some very talented teacher candidates, and know that I can’t count on that happening every year. Future ones (like some others I’ve had in the past) might require far great supervision than I gave this year, and I have to spend some time this summer figuring out how to make that happen.
I write a lot about the different ways I use inductive teaching and learning with both English Language Learners and English-proficient students (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching). It’s an extremely versatile instructional strategy that promotes higher-order thinking.
Inductive teaching and learning often involves categorizing, and Padlet is a perfect online tool for that purpose.
Today, we began using it as part of our study of “signs” (by the way, the “Shelf” template works best). After doing some preliminary categorization in the classroom where we identified the primary categories of “labels/names; warnings; information; and instructions,” we went to the library and students began to expand their knowledge of signs by searching for Web images and put them on Padlets. Today, I only had four students begin to create them – they’ll teach other students on Tuesday. In addition to creating these categorized “Picture Data Sets,” they will also add a text description explaining the purpose of each sign.
There are lots of ways to use Padlet for this kind of exercise – transportation, for example (public, cars, sea). I think copying and pasting text for “text data sets” are still best in Word or Google Docs because they can be easily printed out and used. But Padlet is great for images.
What are other ways you have used Padlet with ELLs or English-proficient students?
We’re doing our IB Theory of Knowledge Oral Presentations, and this is a video of Michelle’s presentation. She’s given me permission to share it here. I’m giving her a 7 on the (in my opinion) somewhat weird IB Presentation Rubric.
What do you think? (by the way, you can find all our class materials on the Oral Presentation, including many other videos, here).
In my book I give credit to the late Grant Wiggins for an example of how to promote transfer through generalizing. He used the example of students learning about the qualities of a successful social movement from analyzing the women’s movement. I also use that example in the video but, because of a miscommunication, credit to him , unfortunately, doesn’t appear. You can see links to several articles by him on the topic at my “Best” list.
Gail Desler – with the support of educators and students – has organized the fabulous Time Of Remembrance website documenting Japanese-American internment in World War Two, along with the Vietnam War.
Because of my work with Hmong refugees, I was honored to received an invitation to be interviewed as part of the project.
The full video is thirty-six minutes along. ELL teachers might find it useful, since I discuss a wide-ranging list of issues, including the importance of looking at our students through the eyes of assets and not deficits, inductive learning, concept attainment, parent engagement, professional development and many other items of possible interest.
In the PBS segment, he also discusses the demotivating aspects of seeing your work destroyed in front of you, which is why I am always very careful to wait to throw away student posters and other work until they are long gone for the day..
The New York Times has published a series of short and very accessible videos helping people understand implicit bias.