Inductive/Deductive Training


Deductive (rule-driven, top-down) teaching

Chunking down. Leads from an explicit presentation of metalinguistic information, the provision of a set of abstractions, isolated language rules at autonomous levels of description subsequently accompanied by model sentences, to their application to concrete representations and practice tasks only after the clarification has been studied and digested. This technique simply means providing learners with the ready rule, describing in detail how the new structure is formed, what its components are, and in what type of context it can be used. All the information is given in the form of a mini-lecture, during which the teacher usually employs grammatical terminology. After the explanation, the learners are provided with examples illustrating the new structure, which they analyse, and are subsequently asked to apply the rule to new concepts. They are typically expected to memorise the rule (and relevant ‘exceptions’).

This form of teaching offers a clear clarification of new items, which makes the learning task easier and less intimidating and is time-effective, leaving more time for practising the new structures. Among other advantages, It gets straight to the point, and therefore can be time-saving.

It respects the intelligence and maturity of many – especially adult – students and acknowledges the role of cognitive processes in language acquisition. …

It confirms many students’ expectations about classroom learning.


Inductive ( bottom-up) teaching

Rejecting the idea of giving the learners a ready-made rule. Rather than explicitly telling them off the bat what the rule is, s/he may supply them with carefully selected intelligible data in context, usually in the form of an example illustrating the use of the particular structure.

The learners’ mission in this guided discovery technique with properly devised questions is to try, on the basis of the model, to arrive at some generalisation that accounts for the underlying regularities in the data and to formulate their own explanation of the rules governing the material presented.

The elicited students’ rules will then, if necessary, be amended and corrected by the teacher, and the structure practised.

deductive approach:                      General rule → Specific examples → Practice

inductive approach:                        Specific examples → Practice → General rule

The inductive approach, instead of basing on a teacher-fronted transmission-style classroom, is student-centred and allows learners to become deeply involved in the subject they are studying and offers potential for reflection. In the process of experiential learning (learning-and-doing) they feel more important, are less passive, and do not get bored so easily during the lesson.

The inductive technique can be of great service to teachers who have problems with keeping their students disciplined, concentrated and occupied, as it partly obviates these problems. Knowing that they can work out the rules from examples by themselves greatly increases learners’ motivation, makes them attentive, more actively involved in—and confident and enthusiastic about—the learning process rather than simply passive recipients, and at the same time contributes to its effectiveness. Learning a subject in the proposed framework affords opportunities for cognitive development, a sense of success, achievement, and progress, which all learners need in order to preserve motivation.

The inductive method has the obvious advantage that what the learners discover themselves, they are more likely to remember;


Tell me and I forget,
Teach me and I remember,
Involve me and I learn.


At Excellence Assured we use a combination of inductive and deductive training methods with our students of NLP.  We use the NLP 4-Mat training system to ensure that we cater for all learning styles. Train with us to NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner level. You can train online at our NLP online training centre (E-Learning), or join us at one of our UK NLP trainings.

Inductive learning develops the capacity to discern patterns and regularities in naturally occurring input, hence being good preparation for independent study.

One factor which should impact the choice between an inductive and deductive method is the kind of item being taught. Another factor is the learner himself/herself.