What is the discovery technique?
Grammar can either be taught explicitly or implicitly. When we talk about an explicit approach to grammar we are talking about stating directly, usually at the beginning of a particular activity, what the grammar is. For example, “Today we are looking at the third conditional.” On the other hand an implicit approach to grammar is one where the students are ‘led’ to the grammar through a series of steps – this is what is meant by the ‘discovery technique’. In other words, the ‘discovery technique’ aims to lead students towards a generalised grammar rule or pattern.
Isn’t that the same as task-based learning?
No. Certainly task based learning is one form of ‘discovery technique’ but not the only way. In task-based learning the focus is on carrying out communicative tasks without specific focus on form. However, it is possible in the ‘discovery technique’ to be predominantly concerned with the form. The idea is that students will ‘discover’ the grammar through a series of steps (these might be tasks, language awareness activities, pictures, questions etc) and will deduce both the form and the meaning from the context(s). (more…)