A deductive approach to teaching language starts by giving learners rules, then examples, then practice. It is a teacher-centred approach to presenting new content. This is compared with an inductive approach, which starts with examples and asks learners to find rules, and hence is more learner-centred.

Example
The form and use of the third conditional is explained to learners, then they have a gap-fill exercise to complete, then prepare their own examples.

In the classroom
The deductive approach may be suitable with lower level learners who need a clear base from which to begin with a new language item, or with learners who are accustomed to a more traditional approach and so who lack the training to find rules themselves.

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