Tips & Tricks – Inductive Approach

As promised, here is the first set of English teaching tips & tricks!

One very effective method for learning (English and other subjects) is the inductive approach. This can be applied with beginner students, all the way up to advanced students.

There are many ways to apply the inductive approach, one of which is by introducing new grammar/language function through a short story (free resource here!). Pictures are especially important for beginners (even adults), to help give context. The short story should include the same grammar/language function over and over with different vocabulary so that students might be able to see a trend. The short story should be followed by an activity where they must use some part of the target grammar/function. This way, students are building their own knowledge about the particular grammar or function, rather than simply being told – this results in much deeper learning.

Of course, most students won’t achieve full mastery of the grammar concept immediately. You can present multiple focused activities, where students can practice their new skill in a controlled way. At this time, you may notice common errors emerging. Keep a note of these, because you may want to deliver an error correction lesson, to ensure that everyone can use the skill properly. Once you’ve a) presented the story, b) worked through multiple focused activities, and c) performed an error correction lesson, you can then encourage students to use the new grammar form in a more free manner. They can do this by talking about themselves using both previous English knowledge, and some of the new knowledge. If you think it might be beneficial to your students, you could follow this up by presenting the grammar in a traditional way (explicitly explain the rules), to ensure there is no confusion among your students.

This approach, like many teaching approaches, isn’t appropriate to use all the time, with all learners. I personally do like this approach, but I mix it in with others. What do you think about the inductive approach?

If you would like more ESL teaching tips and information, subscribe to my e-mail list.

Happy teaching!

If you’re interested, check out these resources that you can use with your English class.

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