Characteristics of Didactic Teaching

didactic method (Greek: διδάσκειν didáskein, "to teach") is a teaching method that follows a consistent scientific approach or educational style to engage the student’s mind. The didactic method of instruction is often contrasted with dialectics and the Socratic method; the term can also be used to refer to a specific didactic method, as for instance constructivist didactics.

Didactics is a theory of teaching, and in a wider sense, a theory and practical application of teaching and learning. In demarcation from "Mathetics" (the science of learning), didactics refers only to the science of teaching.

Characteristics of Didactic Teaching

The Didactic teaching method can be characterised by noting the roles both teachers and students play in the teaching and learning relationship. Study this table:

The Didactic Classroom

What the Teacher Does

What the Students Do

Identifies desired learning outcomes and selects tasks accordingly Follow the teacher's plan and do pre-selected tasks as required
Presents information (for example, how osmosis works in plant cells or why smoking is bad for you) Read, watch or listen to new learning content
Models procedures or techniques (for example, how to conduct an experiment or calculate a percentage) Observe and then copy or imitate
Orchestrates activities and manages behaviour Do as told (or not)
Asks questions to check understanding and recall of information Try to recall the information they received to answer questions
Selects assessment foci and creates assessments to check understanding and recall Prepare for assessment by revising previously learned, pre-selected information
Feeds results and comments on performance back to students (through marking or verbal comments) Listen to or read feedback and (possibly) try again

 (From Microsoft Educator Learning Journeys) 

If you think about this lecture, for example, the roles we are assuming as teacher and student fit perfectly with the didactic method!

Typical Structure of a Didactic Lesson

Obviously, lesson structure is shaped by your teaching preferences,the requirements of the objectives and time available,among others. Below is a typical example of the structure of a didactic lesson:

  • Step 1: The ‘Hook’ - The teacher evokes a stimulus of some type such as a story, an activity or a question designed to engage the students’ attention and interest.
  • Step 2: Lesson Objectives Shared - The teacher identifies the lesson objectives or outcomes and shows how these fit into the overall learning plan.
  • Step 3: Teacher Input - The teacher provides necessary information, skills, procedures, etc.
  • Step 4: Student Activities - Students are given an opportunity to engage with the content/skills, usually through a set of activities in order to internalise the information or behaviours.
  • Step 5: Learning Check - Actual learning against the objectives is checked through a series of formative assessment opportunities. Teacher ascertains needs for both support interventions and/or extension work.
  • Step 6: Review - Students and teacher interact to summarise important points of the lesson.

Typical Activities in a Didactic Lesson

It is clear that the teacher’s role above is pivotal. The teacher needs to have designed the lesson and leads the students through Steps 1-3. The students engage with teacher-designed activities and complete any assessment tasks set by the teacher. Finally, the teacher leads a summing-up activity. We can divide these activities into 3 categories:

  • Teacher exposition (Steps 1-3)
  • Student processing (Step 4)
  • Teacher and students monitor progress (Steps 5-6).

The Didactic Method Supports Specific Objective Types

If a Didactic method is to be used for a section of work, it must suit the objectives you have selected for that particular section of work. The Didactic method supports learning where the students are supposed to know the content and information, understand issues and concepts, and perform a skill. We could say the Didactic approach supports:

  • Knowledge-based objectives or outcomes
  • Understanding-based objectives or outcomes
  • Application-based objectives.
Last modified: Monday, 22 September 2014, 2:40 PM