Guided Discovery Learning


    Guided Discovery Learning is based on Socratic Teaching, which is the oldest and still the most powerful teaching tactic for fostering critical thinking. Discovery Learning allows the learner to draw on his own experience and prior knowledge to discover the truths that are to be learned. Through carefully designed instruction, the student is led to discover for himself by moving from the known to the unknown, linking previous knowledge to the new learning.








Guided Discovery Teaching


    Definition: The presentation of new material or concepts which can be deduced or discovered by the students. Only material which relates logically to their previous learning or which they can evolve through reason, chronology, or sequence will lend itself to the students' discovery. Arbitrary learning is new learning which cannot be established through logic or reasonable decision. Students will remember more readily the learning which they have been allowed to discover. (Cox, Aylett. Structures and Techniques. EPS, Inc., 1984)


    "The instructional approach called guided discovery teaching is effective in ensuring that students learn sound-symbol correspondences and other patterns of language. The word education comes from the Latin word educere, which means to lead out. Discovery Teaching uses the Socratic Method of asking questions to lead students to discover new information. When students make a discovery, they understand and connect the new learning to prior knowledge." Judith Birsh, Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, Brookes Publishing Company, 2002.


    Jerome Bruner was influential in defining Discovery Learning. It uses Cognitive psychology as a base. Discovery Learning is "an approach to instruction through which students interact with their environment by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments" (Ormrod, 1995, p.442). The idea is that students are more likely to remember concepts they discover on their own. Teachers have found that discovery learning is most successful when students have a prerequisite knowledge and undergo some structured experiences. (Roblyer, Edwards, and Havriluk, 1997, p.68)


    Guided Discovery Teaching Pointers: Guided Discovery Teaching is a powerful component of multisensory instruction. The multisensory discovery of a pattern has three general parts which pertain to either a new phonetic letter or a reading/spelling concept.

Auditory Discovery


  • Teacher reads approximately four to six words
  • Student echoes the words
  • Student attempts to discover through guided questioning by the teacher, the sound or concept the words have in common
  • Student predicts what letter or idea may be represented by the auditory discovery


Visual Discovery
  • Teacher writes controlled* words on the board
  • Student visually discovers the letter, letters or ideas that are the same

*Controlled refers to words made up of only the sounds that the child has been previously taught.


Kinesthetic Discovery
  • Student skywrites, traces, codes the model


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