Heuristic Method of Teaching Meaning, Advantages & Disadvantages

Tue, 11/19/2013 - 09:46 -- Umar Farooq

Heuristic Method of Teaching

The term “Heuristic” refers to Armstrong who was the exponent of this strategy. Pollion and Dankar (1945) called it “problem solving”. It is based on the psychological principles of "trial and error" theory. Logical and imaginative thinking are perquisites for his type of teaching strategy. It is an economical and speedy strategy.

Meaning of Heuristic Method of Teaching

A problem is placed before the learners and they are asked to find the solution of the problem through various literacy means, like library, laboratory, and workshops etc. Teacher’s role is to initiate the learning and pupils are active throughout the learning process. By using their creative thinking and imaginative power, they try to find out the relevant solutions based on some logic. They learn by self-experience. This teaching strategy is focused on:

  1. To develop problem solving attitude
  2. To develop scientific attitudes towards the problem
  3. To develop power of self-expression

It basic principles are:

  1. To each as little as possible at one time
  2. To encourage learner to learn himself as much as possible

Advantages of Heuristic Teaching Method

Following are the advantages of this Heuristic teaching strategy

  1. It helps in achieving cognitive, affective and psychomotor objectives i.e. it helps in all round development of the child.
  2. Students are put into the situation to learn by self-experience. It certainly develops self-confidence and self-reliance in the learners.
  3. It helps in developing scientific attitude and creativity in the learners.
  4. Teacher encourages the learners to explore the environment in search of the solution of the problems. By doing so, some new knowledge is discovered by them.
  5. Teacher is always ready to provide individual guidance regarding the solution of the problem. Thus interaction between the teacher and the learner takes place in a cooperative, conducive environment.

Disadvantages of Heuristic Teaching Method

  1. It cannot be used at primary level of education
  2. Higher intelligence and divergent thinking is required in the learners. But, there are some students who are below average and fail to succeed in discovering the solutions of the problems. It frustrates them.
  3. In true sense, none of the teachers have patience for providing individual guidance to the learners. And learners, too, feel hesitation to approach the teacher for seeking his help.


  1. There can be number of solutions for a problem. So, it is the teacher’s duty to provide guidance to the learners to select the most relevant solution of the problem
  2. Problem should be related to the course and curriculum and a definite time period should be allotted to the learners to finish their research work.
  3. Students’ abilities capabilities, interest and choice of the subject should be taken into consideration in allotting the problems.
  4. There should be an eligibility criteria for providing the problems.

In counties like India and Pakistan, the whole teaching is examination centered, neither teacher nor the pupils have patience to apply this teaching strategy and get the desired results. If some enlightened teachers of science, mathematics, and social sciences apply this teaching method in their teaching, it will help in developing creative, confidence students.