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Teaching Method: Heuristic Teaching

Learning is enjoyable for students when they place their interest in the subject they are learning. Discovering students' interests allow for the holistic development of the student. By identifying the interest areas of the students, a teacher can create a quality environment for learning for the students and increase engagement in learning. However, it should be kept in mind that a student performing well in a particular subject does not mean that the subject lies in their area of interest. Often students can perform in areas that do not interest them. However, the performance enhances when the interest area coincides with the subject. Therefore, students are required to discover their passion and skills independently to succeed.

The heuristic method of teaching promotes learning through experiences including discovery and problem-solving. The word "heuristic" means "to discover", derived from the Greek language. A professor of the Imperial College in London named Henry Edward Armstrong was a strong supporter of this technique that quickly turned into philosophy. According to Professor Armstrong, "The soul of the learning of science is exploration. The students should explore the facts and principles themselves". This explains that students are required to be independent to learn and discover interesting concepts and their passion associated with them. Students primarily learn through exploring and the task of the educator is to guide the student and help him/her overcome any obstacle. Through experimentation, students explore and learn new things. Therefore, in this method, student act as explorers. Teachers are required to gain necessary information and principles, she/he must conduct several experiments.

In this article, we tell you the steps involved in the heuristic method of teaching and its benefits.

Various principles associated with the Heuristic Method of Teaching

The Principle of Laws of Learning

Every learner’s ability to learn is different and therefore, problems should be assigned based on the learners' age and capabilities. This is in line with the Law of Readiness. In addition, the educator is required to participate in the activity of assigning the problem, which refers to the Law of Exercise. When students face the consequence of their activity, they are forced to work per the Law of Cause and Effect.

  • The Principle of Activity

This principle corresponds to the acquisition of knowledge through “activities” or doing the task. Therefore, self-activity is a crucial component of the method as it helps the students to explore and discover new things by themselves.

  • The Principle of Logical Thinking

Students are exposed to a variety of experiences and experiments. As a result, they are encouraged to develop both deductive and inductive logical thinking procedures.

  • The Principle of Purposeful Experience

This principle states that self-experience is a great teacher. In this manner, self-experience should be purposeful or in other words, should teach the students purpose or meaningful experiences. Through this, students gain an understanding of their activities and learn to think critically.

Steps Involved in Heuristic Method

  • Problem determination

The student must be allowed to explore facts and information to let the students explore things using experiments, apparatus, or books. The activity method is implemented where the method is systematic. Through this, the student discovers significant findings naturally and all on their own. Rather than putting ready material in front of them, the teaching method focuses on the process of brain development and helps them to explore.

  • Plan formation

When a problem arises, there are various ways to combat the problem. Formulation of a plan is important for the current problem. The method of working backwards can help with this; people answer a series of questions that traces backwards and the best method for the issue is determined.

  • Plan execution

Once the plan is formed, the plan needs to be implemented for effectiveness. The execution of the plan is successful when the plan is followed. This can be done by concentrating on the timetable and showing control. This yields proper results of the plan.

  • Plan evaluation

Students are allowed to make observations that help them explore new experiences and learnings. The steps progress through a systematic method and students arrive at generalizations through their own attempts.

  • Plan adaptation

Based on the student's progress, the positives should remain and things that do not yield fruitful results should be eliminated or changed.

The teacher’s role consists of:

  • Helping in identifying the problem for the students to solve

  • Motivating the students to explore and investigate the problem further

  • Encouraging the students to share their ideas, test them and resolve them.

  • Never directly sharing solutions but helping the students in the path of their discovery

  • Being open to different ideas and welcoming different explorations and discoveries

  • Providing support to the students if necessary but not interfering in their learning process

Benefits of Heuristic Method of Teaching

  • A scientific temperament is developed through heuristic learning

  • Through self-learning and activities, students are rendered self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-confident

  • Students, through self-sufficiency, are capable of handling obstacles in life

  • This leads to integrity in daily habits and encourages to become a better individual

  • Students' introspection and awakening grow

  • The concept of homework is eliminated and all the learning takes place in an active learning environment

  • The knowledge gained is long-term as the facts are learned by the students themselves


The heuristic method of teaching shows how a student can learn themselves through discovering facts and exploring information. In this method, the teacher plays a significant role by providing support to the students and encouraging them to carry out independent learning. Teachers also ensure that the environment in the class is one that allows students to freely learn and promotes self-development, spontaneity, and self-expression.

This technique is based on various principles that ultimately work to help students learn and become self-sufficient. Therefore, this technique can be applied to subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and many other subjects. This approach involves both deductive and inductive thinking that helps in problem-solving. The benefits of the method are immense where students acquire knowledge through self-exploration and discovery that encourages them to become self-sufficient, self-reliant and self-expressive. Furthermore, through the heuristic method of teaching, teachers and students both develop a dynamic relationship.


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