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discovery method

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noun Education.
a largely unstructured, situational method or philosophy of teaching whereby students are permitted to find solutions to problems on their own or at their own pace, often jointly in group activities, either independent of or under the guidance of a teacher.
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Origin of discovery method

First recorded in 1970–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

MORE ABOUT DISCOVERY METHOD

What is a discovery method?

The discovery method is a style of teaching that involves students researching solutions to problems at their own pace on their own or in groups.

The discovery method is any teaching philosophy that allows students to learn and solve problems at their own pace. In the discovery method, students are given the tools to find answers to problems rather than the answers themselves.

With the discovery method, students can be completely independent, collaborating with other students in groups (or not), or they can be guided by an instructor in a questioning manner rather than through a lecture.  

Example: Since I switched to the discovery method for my history classes, students have been doing much better on exams.

Where does discovery method come from?

The first records of the term discovery method come from around the 1970s. It combines the terms discovery, meaning “the act of gaining knowledge,” and method, meaning “a way of doing something.”

One of the first uses of a discovery method in primary education predates the term. In the 1890s in Italy, educationists Carolina Agazzi and Rosa Agazzi created a school for young children in which the students were encouraged to collaborate while learning. Maria Montessori also applied the discovery method in her teaching in Italy in the 1890s. Today, we still have schools that teach using the Agazzi or Montessori method.

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How is discovery method used in real life?

Discovery method is usually used to discuss a way of teaching and learning. It can also be used generally to refer to a way of discovering something.

 

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Lecturing students on course content and then testing them is part of the discovery method.

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