The Heuristic Method is based on the sound psychological principles. The chief principles may be stated as:

(a) The Principle of Activity.

The method is based on the principle of activity or learning by doing. The activity involved in the method is self-activity. This will help the pupil to discover things for himself.

(b) The Principle of Laws of Learning.


Problems are to be given according to age and ability of the learners. This refers to the Law of Readiness. The method gives importance to activity on the part of the educand and this refers to the Law of Exercise. When the pupils are led to derive facts for themselves as a result of their own activity, they are made to work in accordance with the Law of Effect.

(c) The Principle of Logical Thinking.

The method involves inductive and deductive processes of logical thinking. This way the child is led to establish facts through a number of examples, experiments etc.

(d) The Principles of Purposeful Experience.


Purposeful, self-experience is the spirit behind the method. The pupils get an insight into what they are doing. They develop a critical attitude and the like. “Teaching by the Heuristic Method throws the whole weight of the teaching process on to the process of growth of the mind rather than on the storing of knowledge.”

(i) Presenting the problem.

The teacher poses the problem on which the pupils are called upon to work. It is better if the problem is suggested by the pupils themselves. Such a problem will demand activity rather than receptivity, discovery rather than dogma.

(ii) Advance tips.


The teacher may, if he thinks desirable, give the pupils a few guidelines of working on the problem.

(iii) The children at work.

Once the problem is in hand, children are ready to work. They now make independent enquiries, consult relevant books, indulge in mental activity, ask questions and discuss among themselves whenever they feel some doubt.

(iv) Evaluation.


There may follow self-evaluation by pupils, critical comments may also be given. The pupils’ judgement need to be supplemented by the healthy comments of the teacher.

(v) Application.

The facts collected may be applied as far as possible. Thus the pupils will be able to test the validity of their findings. This will also give the child confidence in his self-activity.

“Essentially, therefore, the Heuristic Method is intended to provide a training in method. Knowledge is a secondary consideration altogether. The method is formative rather than informational. Such training, if properly carried out, does cultivate painstaking and observant habits and encourages intelligent and independent reasoning. It does bring home to boys clear notions of the nature of experimental evidence, and boys do learn that answers to questions can often be obtained from experiments they can work for themselves.”


Merits of the Method

1. Through trial and error process, students develop scientific attitude.

2. Pupils become self-dependent, self-reliant, and self-confident through self-activity.

3. Individual attention is possible to strengthen the relation.


4. Habits of hard work and honesty are encouraged.

5. Facts learnt are retained for a longer time as they are made through self-effort.

6. It prepares the child for life.

7. Home work problem is solved and the ability of the students is judged in the class.

8. ‘Learning by doing’ maxim is completely followed in this method.

Limitations of the Method

1. Much lies upon the shoulders of the young students. So we expect much out of them.

2. It is a slow process and heavy syllabi cannot be covered smoothly in due course of time.

3. Adept teachers are required to write and implement the method.

4. The knowledge suffers because much time is utilized in the investigations.

5. Small number of students is required in a class for individual care which is not possible in India.

6. It is a costly method.

7. Much skill is needed in grading the problems.