There are many theorists who have had significant influence on education through the promotion of child-centred approaches to teaching. For this reason, I have chosen to talk about Discovery Learning as a learning theory originated by Jerome Bruner.
This theory aims at providing a cooperative and a student-centred environment where students can learn by themselves. It transforms traditional classrooms into more engaging environments. It nudges students inquire in order to acquire information, which helps them build up their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Let us now discover some of the essential principles of Discovery Learning:
- Children are in need of autonomy, new experiences, responsibility, praise and recognition. They are by nature motivated to learn.
- Structure and mode of presentation are important in instruction.
- Sequencing the material is also essential in instruction so as to make students encouraged to move through certain sequences.
- Feedback is important in learning. It gives students an insight on their mistakes and how their learning progress.
- Errors are valuable in learning.
- Children find out by themselves their own interests.
On the whole, Discovery Learning is not only a teaching approach, it is an attitude. The most effective learning is that which arises from the students own discovery of the material. The same material can be taught several times by sequencing it, and with each experience, understanding should be deepened.