Choosing a Teaching Method
A deductive talk on worry could be structured this way:
Title: The Truth About Worry
Principle Stated: Worry can kill you!
Examples Given: Statistics and supportive material showing the health risks associated with worry.
Proof in Practice: Worry can kill you! Stories of people suffering or dying from stress-related illnesses; suggestions designed to help listeners overcome worry.
This is a simple example of using the deductive approach to teach on the subject of “worry.” The biggest problem with this method is that it tends to eliminate the element of surprise and most of the positive tension in the talk. When the principle is stated up front, listeners often think they already know what is going to be said. Unfortunately, this means the presenter has to work even harder to keep their interest and attention. Nonetheless, the deductive method is a powerful way to state your case and use the rest of your talk proving it.
Inductive Method. The “inductive” method is a quite different teaching approach. You might say it is somewhat of a reverse of the deductive method. The inductive method looks like this: Examples Given . Proof in Practice . Principle Stated.
An inductive talk on worry might be structured this way:
Title: What Most People Don’t Know About Worry
Examples Given: Stories of people dying or suffering from stress related illnesses.
Proof in Practice: Statistics cited about health risks associated with worry.
Principle Stated: The most important thing you need to know about worry is “Worry can kill you!”
The inductive approach allows the presenter to build to a climax, with the principal supposition being held in tension until the latter part of the message. This method captivates listeners by using examples and illustrations that hold their attention until the key principle is stated at or near the end of the talk.
Unlike the deductive method, the inductive method (if done well) holds the listener’s attention because the key point is not stated up front. This can be a very powerful and effective method when used properly.
Generally, my preference is the inductive method of teaching because people like surprise endings. However, many great teachers prefer the deductive approach. In the end, gifted teachers do not let a method determine their approach. They analyze their audience and subject and evaluate the best way to achieve their desired outcome.