This unit is about Methods of the teaching practice. it shades light on a number of structured kinds of teaching giving both advantages and disadvantages to help you weigh sides and adopt a better method of executing your duties as a taecher


Teaching Methods

A teaching method has been defined by Afolabi and Adesope (2010) as a specific instructional process which differs from any other by the diversities of specialized activities. This implies that each teaching method has its own peculiar characteristics and steps which differ from another teaching method.

These steps make a teaching method to be different from another method. The teaching method variables are manipulated at a varying degree.

Teaching method is very important in the impartation of knowledge in teaching-learning processes and the type adopted determines to a great extent what the student assimilate. In actual fact if the appropriate method is adopted, knowledge acquired can be accelerated.

People opined that no educational system can rise above the quality of its teacher, nor can a nation rise above the quality of her educational system.

It is your duty as a teacher to ensure that appropriate teaching method or a combination of two or more methods is used in order to achieve the stated aims and objectives.

 Some Various Methods of Teaching

Lecture or the chalk and talk method

Discussion method

Demonstration method

Discovery method

Assignment/project method

Field trips method (Excursion)

Individualized instructional method

Laboratory method

Inductive and deductive method

Open education method.

Values Clarifications Computer Assisted Instructions (CAI)

How will you as a teacher know the method that you are using to teach at a particular time or the method another teacher is using?

In the study of teaching methods what is most important is the ability of the teacher to know the steps that are involved in a particular teaching method. For the steps involved in some of the teaching methods listed below you may refer to Afolabi & Adesope (2010).

1. The Lecture Method

You are probably familiar with this teacher-dominated approach to teaching, hence it is termed a didactic method. It involves verbal presentation of ideas, concepts, generalization and facts. The objective of this method is just to stuff the students with information.

You do most of the work by talking while students are just passive or slightly involved by taking down notes and asking few or no questions.

In the Universities and other institutions of higher learning, the lecture method is the acceptable means of imparting information. At the secondary school level, the students have not been trained to follow chains of reasoning. Therefore lecture method should not be used in its pure forms:-

Advantages of the Lecture Method

  •  It is cheap to operate as no special apparatus is needed
  •  It makes fewer demands on the teacher’s time for planning and preparing and is therefore an attractive and easy method of teaching.
  • It is an efficient means of giving a vast amount of knowledge in a limited amount of time.
  • Large classes of students can be handled by the teacher.
  • It serves to channel the thinking of all students in a given direction.

Disadvantages of the Lecture Method

• Students are passive listeners and do not participate in the  development of the lesson.
• The desired learning outcomes may not be accomplished.

• The method is inadequate for teaching certain types of concepts e.g. attitudes and feelings which are not learned
through pure telling.

• Students’ progress cannot be evaluated during the lesson since they are passive.
• It cannot meet the different needs of the students as regards individual differences.

• It rarely affords students the opportunity to practice communication skills.

• It’s largely denied of exploratory aspects of learning.

Students may show a tendency to accept the teacher as the “final authority”. Consequently they accept his biases
and prejudices at face value.
• It encourages rote learning or cramming.

The Discussion Method

Discussion method is based on the philosophy that knowledge arises within the students and not from any external source. The students take over the subject from various points of view and the teacher serves as a moderator.

 Advantages of the Discussion Method

• Students maintain a high degree of mental alertness to develop clear thinking.
• Interest is maintained and a feeling of confidence as students learn to express themselves freely.
• Students learn through discussion method owing to active participation and involvement in the lesson. 

• Discussion method provides good practice for problem-solving.

• It provides the teacher with information about the students which can aid in a better understanding of the students.

• Teaching by discussion leads to positive attitudinal change because a student may find his or her own values and beliefs challenged by the views of fellow students.

Disadvantages of the Discussion Method

• A lot of time would be wasted before the students arrive at satisfactory answers.

• Discussion method cannot be used so often as it does not allow for easy coverage of the syllabus.

• In most cases, most students do not participate in the lesson because they do not know or know little about the
topic of the lesson. They may even be shy or fearful.

• Students who have no background of the topic being discussed may become bored or disinterested in the lesson.

• Since the attention span of the students (young ones) is very short, they cannot maintain high level of attention. 

3.3.3 Some Guidelines to the Discussion Method

• The topic to be discussed and the teacher’s questions should meet the level of the students.

• The topics for discussion should be within students’ background.

• The teacher (you) should not allow some students to dominate the topic under discussion.

• You should treat all remarks as being serious and reject the irrelevant comments that do not fit into the discussion. You should, however, do this gracefully.

• You should avoid vague questions.

• You should summarize frequently in order to guide your students towards understanding the main concepts and
principles of the topics under discussion.

• At the end of the lesson ensure that any one who leads the discussion has the ability to break down the whole topic into smaller units.

The Demonstration Method

In demonstration method, you the teacher will do a display or exhibition while the students watch. It typically involves showing students the correct use of science apparatus, illustrating a technique (for example, using chloroform to anaesthetize toads or guinea pigs) performing an “experiment” which is either dangerous, risky, difficult or expensive for individual students use.

Demonstration method can be used in the drilling of shorthand outlines, manipulation of various office equipment could be demonstrated by the teacher during office practice lesson. Sometimes demonstrations can be performed by students either individually or in groups.

Also in trades like sewing, weaving, barbing, pot making and the like demonstration method is best adopted using the teaching learning processes.

Advantages of the Demonstration Method

• It is an inexpensive method since only the demonstrator needs materials.

• It shows how something is accomplished properly or expertly, since the teacher is supposedly more competent
than most students.

• Demonstration method is especially beneficial in the areas of skills and attitudes.

• The proficiency displayed reduces the length of trial and error time.

• It can reduce hazards e.g. breakage and accidents before students embark on individual or group work with materials involved.
• A good demonstration method holds the learners attention thus facilitating learning by giving students the opportunity to see and hear what is actually happening.

Disadvantages of the Demonstration Method

• The assumption made that all the students see and hear equally well does not necessarily follow. Visibility of details of what is being demonstrated is not assured in large classrooms or in circumstances where extremely small objects are used.
• Where the demonstration is restricted to the teacher alone, students will be denied the opportunity to acquire manipulative skills in handling of the materials and apparatus 

Discovery Method

Discovery method is a teaching strategy which enables students to find the answers themselves. It is a learner centred approach hence it is called a heuristic method. It is of two types, notably, the guided discovery and the unguided discovery.

In the guided discovery, the teacher (you) guides the students to discover for themselves solutions to given problems by providing them with general principles, but not the solution to the scientific problem. The unguided discovery type involves the students discovering for themselves both the general principles and solution to a scientific problem. It is sometimes called the pure discovery.

 Advantages of the Discovery Method

Discovery method, whether it is the directed type or undirected, makes the student an active participant rather than a mere passive recipient.

• Since the method poses a challenge for the student to discover the information or knowledge for himself, retention of any information or knowledge so discovered will be increased.
• The training acquired in finding out things for oneself independently can be applied to new learning and problem

• The joy in discovering something provides the students with intrinsic motivation.
• Discovery method brings home to pupils their notions of the nature of scientific evidence, students learnt that answers to questions can often be obtained from investigations they can carry out for themselves.

• Discovery method helps students develop manipulative skills and attitudes which constitute one of the fundamental
objectives of science teaching.
• Since discovery operates at the highest levels of the cognitive domain, it encourages analytical and synthetic thought as well as intuitive thinking.

Disadvantages of the Discovery Method

• Discovery method is time consuming and progress is comparatively slow. Apparatus have to be set up and
result(s) of the investigation awaited.

• The method leaves open the possibility of not discovering anything. Students may end up discovering things other than what was intended to be discovered. This could be highly demoralizing to them particularly if great effort has
been expended.
• The method is expensive considering the equipment and
materials needed.

• Discovery method is only good for a small class where effective teacher supervision is possible. 

The Project Method

The Project Method of teaching centers on an assignment of interest undertaken by an individual student or a group or a whole class. In this method, the students are guided when necessary.

Advantages of the Project Method
• Since emphasis is on doing by the student, opportunity is provided to develop his initiative as well as greater
understanding of how to learn.

• Motivation to work is high since it is based on the natural interests of students. It thus offers opportunity for creative ability particularly for specially talented students.
• It gives students specific areas to work on sometimes with acquisition of some new skills and attitudes.

• Group project afford opportunity for developing leadership and organizing abilities.

Disadvantages of the Project Method
• Projects are very time-consuming and what is ultimately learned may not justify the expense, efforts and time put in to complete the project.

• Students often get sidetracked particularly if they lack good grasp of facts necessary in carrying out the projects.
• It may be difficult to determine the extent to which the individual has participated.
• It is difficult to choose a project that will interest all the students in the class at one time.
• It favours the independent students, those without independent study skills may suffer.
• Some students may not participate in the project work at all.


From the foregoing you would have noted that every teaching method has its advantages and disadvantages. You should also note that each of these methods has a part to play in the promotion of effective transmission of knowledge by teachers and assimilation of the same by students.

You the teacher must take time to reflect on your own time in the Secondary School and which method left any meaningful impact on your life. You should spend time helping the students to feel the impact of teaching and learning and not just merely go through the motions of “teaching”, completing the syllabus or doing your duty.

Adapted from: School of Education, National Open University of Nigeria

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