Deductive and Inductive Approaches

Topics: Language acquisition, Linguistics, Universal grammar Pages: 3 (1054 words) Published: September 7, 2013

1.1. Definitions and names

When it comes to teaching grammar two main trends have been competing with one another for ages, these are: deductive and inductive approaches. While the first one seems to be more successful as it has continuously been applied since ancient times, the other was appreciated only in Classical, Reneissance, 19th and 20th century (Johnson, 1999, p. 147). However, it seems to have gained real popularity recently. We can observe (Johnson, 1999, p. 147), that the deductive approach was extremaly in favour in the Middle Ages, 18th and 19th century, when reading, writing and translating texts were regarded as the most important skills. Luckily, nowadays advantages of inductive teaching have been discovered and a lot of the latest coursebooks of English Language Teaching consider this approach as a very effective one (Sikorzyńska, 1995, p. 8). According to the Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (1992) the deductive approach is “an approach to language teaching in which learners are taught rules and given specific information about a language. They then apply these rules when they use the language” (p. 98). On the contrary, an inductive approach is an approach “in which learners are not taught grammatical or other types of rules directly but are left to discover or induce rules from their experience of using the language” (p. 99). Thornbury (1999) formulated very simple definitions of these two approaches. He maintains that employing the deductive approach means beginning a lesson with the explanation of a grammar rule. Then, learners are asked to practise the rule by doing appropriate exercises (p. 29). If learners are given a set of exercises to work on first and they are expected to derive some knowledge about grammar rules applied in these exercises, the inductive approach is used (p. 29). Similar definitions are presented by Brown (2000, p....
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