Types of Reasoning in Human Learning
In human learning, generalization is crucially important and pervading strategy. Generalizing means that inferring or driving a law, rule, or conclusion, usually based on the observation of particular instances. There are two types of reasoning which become important aspects in generalization process namely deductive and inductive reasoning. These types of reasoning are used either in language teaching or research. It is an interesting topic to be discussed because we can know how the people conclude the information that they have perceived.
1. The Difference between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
In the case of inductive reasoning, one stores a number of specific instances and induces a general law, rule or conclusion that governs a number of specific instances, while deductive reasoning is a movement from a generalization to specific instances: specific subsumed facts are inferred or deduced from a general principle (Brown, 1994:92. 1st Paragraph). In other words, inductive reasoning takes specific examples and makes general conclusion, while deductive reasoning starts out with a theory or general statement and then moving towards a specific conclusion.
2. Reflection Deductive and Inductive Reasoning in Language Teaching Due to language teaching, deductive and inductive reasoning are oriented in English teaching methods. However, learning process is more relied on deductive reasoning. For instance, Grammar-Translation Method which is a classical method to teach grammar deductively (Brown, 1994:92.2nd Paragraph) Based on the writer’s experience, this classical teaching method was applied when I was in Junior and Senior High School. My English teachers taught grammar deductively. They explained and gave the pattern, then made some examples. Therefore, I used to learn English deductively. Besides, when I was in the seventh semester of undergraduate program, I did PPL in SMAN 5 Kendari. In teaching grammar, I used deductive learning also. Once, I taught Passive Voice to my students. I began with giving the pattern of Passive Voice (S+to be+Past Participle/V3) and then giving the examples: Active: Mr. Ralf writes a letter.
Passive Voice (Present Tense): A letter is written by Mr. Ralf. Passive Voice (Past Tense): A letter was written by Mr. Ralf. In deductive learning, the students were directed to use their deductive reasoning in which going from general form to the specific one. Here is provided an example of inductive grammar teaching for Saudi EFL Freshmen Students that taken from TESL Journal Vol. VI, No. 10, October 2000 entitled “Deductive & Inductive Lessons for Saudi EFL Freshmen Students” by Mohammed Y. Al-Kharrat. In this journal, he implemented inductive learning in teaching grammar and deductive learning in teaching vocabulary. Lesson Plan of Teaching Grammar
a. Concept to be developed:
How adding “-ing” to an English word consisting of one syllable can change its spelling. b. Instructional Goals:
Students will construct the rule that when adding “-ing” to words, the final consonant is doubled if preceded by a short vowel sound, but not if preceded by a long vowel sound. Students will provide the teacher with examples that show their understanding of the rule. c. Teaching Procedures
Step 1: The teacher started his lesson with a warm-up exercise to make students can recognize the difference between a short vowel sound and a long vowel sound. He gave examples of short vowels like: /e/ as in get, /i/ as in bin, /A/ as in but, and long vowels /ee/ as in meet, /oo/ as in moon, /ai/ as in my. Step 2: The teacher continued the lesson by writing relevant words on the board that contain short vowels and long vowels such as: cut, wed, map
yawn, fight, tour
Step 3: The teacher asked some questions to the students that were focused on the notion that all the verbs concerned had one syllable; some of them contain short vowels whilst others contain long vowels. After getting good
answers for the questions posed, he then added additional letters to the written words that directed the students to reconsider their decisions. The list written words on the board as follows: cutting, wedding, mapping
yawning, fighting, touring
In this step, the teacher generated new observations and discussion that made the students see the difference and identify the critical relationship between words containing short vowels and their spelling in their present participle form. Some of questions he asked were as follows: What happened to the words after adding “-ing”?
What does this tell us? What can we conclude about similar verbs? During the learning process, the students observed and discussed to make comparisons and inferences. Hence, they can get the desirable conclusion that the teacher wanted them to understand and apply. Step 4: Having made students understand the rule, the teacher instructed them to relate what they found out in the lesson and to give him their own examples. Then, he divided the class into several groups and got the students to ask each other to verify the rule and give reasons for their verification. Step 5: Giving an assignment to be turned in and discussed for the next day. The assignment consisted of a short story that contains numerous examples of the structure concerned, and students were asked to identify the relevant verbs, explain their meanings, and present them in various forms.
Brown (1994:92.2nd Paragraph) states that it may be appropriate at times to articulate a rule and then providing the instances, but most of the evidence shows the effectiveness of inductive approach in communicative second language learning. In contrast, Anderson (1990) in Al-Kharrat (2000:1.1st Paragraph) states that in cognitive theory, the students are better able to comprehend details when they are subsumed under a general concept. Nevertheless, Al-Kharat (2000:6.2nd Paragraph) confirms that the inductive method involves students more in an analytical study of the language than the deductive method does. Based on his observation in learning process, this method can motivate the students highly and it is extremely beneficial for the students’ understanding of the materials given to them. Besides, in
inductive learning, the students are more encouraged to use their thinking skill than in deductive learning. However, (Al-Kharrat, 2000:6. Last Paragraph) states that we cannot negate the fact that inductive and deductive learning are worth considerations by all language teachers. The effective use of these approaches will enable teachers to experiment with their teaching methods in order to seek the improvement of students’ performance. In addition, Harmer (1989) in Al-Kharrat (2000:1.1st Paragraph) confirms that inductive and deductive learning encourage learners to compensate for the gap in their second language knowledge by using a variety of communication strategies. Therefore, it can be stated that both approaches are beneficial to the successful of students’ learning if these approaches are used effectively based on the goals of learning.
Based on the above explanation, it can be concluded that inductive and deductive reasoning are used in generalization process of human learning. Deductive reasoning involves starting out with a theory or general statement, then moving towards a specific conclusion. On the other hand, Inductive reasoning takes a series of specific observations and tries to expand them into a more general theory. Besides, these types of reasoning are also oriented in language teaching approaches named deductive and inductive learning. These approaches are beneficial to improve the students’ performance in learning if both are used effectively based on the objective of learning.
Al-Kharrat, Mohammed Y. 2000. Deductive & Inductive Lessons for Saudi EFL Freshmen Students. The Internet TESL Journal Vol. VI, No. 10. Retrieved on http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Al-Kharrat-Deductive/ Page 1. 1st Paragraph
Page 6. Last Paragraph
Brown, H Douglas. 1994. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (Third
Edition). New Jersey. Page 92. 1st Paragraph.
Page 92. 2nd Paragraph.
Types of Reasoning in Human Learning