Although guided discovery is generally associated with grammatical rules, it really lends itself to a variety of concepts and aspects of language ranging from grammatical form and usage to pronunciation, spelling and lexis. It is, however, important to make sure that the rules we present fulfill the following guidelines, as outlined byMichael Swan (cited in Thornbury, 1999, p. 32) 1. The rules should be true; 2. The rules should show clearly what limits are on the use of a given form; 3. The rules need to be clear; 4. The rules ought to be simple; 5. The rules need to make use of concepts already familiar to the learners; and 6. The rules ought to be relevant.
This first step allows learners to activate their personal learningstrategies in order to understand the language. For example, a lesson for beginners focusing on the use of the articles a vs. an might approach Step 1 like this. Learners are shown a list of occupations like the ones below and are invited to match the occupations with their pictures. At this point the teacher might simply call learners’ attention to the fact that there are two different articles (aand an) which introduce each occupation. a nurse an artist a dentist an engineer a teacher an architect an assistant an electrician a student a journalist a lawyer
An easy step by step methodological framework
Guided Discovery can be easily implemented with any class, at any level, by following these four steps. Step 1: Exposure to language through examples or illustrations The teacher exposesstudents to the language through illustrations, examples or a combination of both. The examples can be in the form of isolated sentences, although it is always more effective if the language is presented in context. Contextualization of the language makes grammar relevant and alive and can be done through a reading or listening text, illustrations or photos, or real life situations and topics.Context also helps to facilitate understanding.
Step 2: Observation and analysis of the language through guided questions The teacher guides the observation and analysis of the language by drawing attention to the significant points he or she wants to present. This can be done through questions, by completing gaps in sentences or rules or by matching examples and rules. Learners’ cognitivepotential is put into play as they cooperate, analyze, hypothesize, compare, and construct and generate knowledge. Taking part in the learning process empowers them. This scaffolding step is essential to avoid learners reaching a wrong conclusion or misunderstanding the rule. In the example mentioned above, the teacher might ask beginning students to think about what is different about the occupationsfollowing a from those following an. Learners could be invited to rewrite the words in two separate lists under one column for a and another column for an. A further step could be to ask learners to circle the first letter of each occupation and to think about what the occupation words have in common within each column.
“Guided discovery really lends itself to a variety of concepts and aspects oflanguage ranging from grammatical form and usage to pronunciation, spelling and lexis.”
Step 3: Statement of the rule The teacher uses the information from step 2 to state, or gets the learners to state, the rule in order to make sure that all learners understand it. Learners construct their new knowledge based on their own insights from their observations in the previous step. For example,after having analyzed the occupations using a and an, learners can be asked to complete the rules as follows: Look at the jobs in Ex 1. Complete the rules with a or an. 1. Use before vowel sounds, such as /a/,/e/, and /i/. artist. She`s 2. Use before consonant sounds, such as /b/,/d/, and /f/. lawyer. She`s
To apply the newly learned rules in free practice, learners could engage in natural...