• Introduction
  • The convergent discovery style (g)
  • Pros and cons of the convergent discovery style
  • Final thoughts
  • Sources
  • Pre-impact set: a set of educational decisions that define the intent of the lesson. Includes planning, preparation, organizing, etc.
  • Impact set: a set of actions made during the lesson and one-on-one feedback. The implementation of the pre-impact decisions in the actual lesson.
  • Post-impact set: the assessment made after the lesson. Evaluating the goal and the outcome.


The spectrum of teaching styles (1966) was created by Muska Mosston as a framework for physical education teachers. These styles were made to ensure that each lesson catered to the students’ varying needs, and making sure pupils learn all the necessary concepts, skills, and processes essential to physical education. Mosston himself thought of the spectrum as “a framework of options in the relationships between teacher and learner”.

The spectrum of teaching styles consists of eleven different teaching methods. They range from more teacher-focused methods to more student-led techniques. Each of these styles has its own characteristics, strengths, and purposes in the classroom.

This post concentrates on the convergent discovery style, and what makes it such an effective method when teaching physical education.

The convergent discovery style (g)

The convergent discovery style is characterized by selecting a new and unfamiliar task for the learners. Here, the students must apply their reasoning and problem-solving skills to discover a single correct answer to a question or problem. For example, the teacher may ask: “why should you always keep tension on the rope when belaying for another climber?

Additionally, various games, riddles, complex mathematical or word problems, and even situational games are great at utilizing old and new information in an unfamiliar way.




Pre-impact set:
(decisions that define the intent – specific planning & preparation of the lesson)


Impact set:
(decisions related to the implementation of the lesson plan & face-to-face interaction)


Post-impact set:
(decisions concerning assessment after the lesson)


The learner’s role is to use their problem-solving skills in hopes to finding a single correct answer to the teacher’s question. This allows the learners to experience “Eureka!” moments, much like in the guided discovery style. 

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The Convergent Discovery Style (g)

Teacher presents a problem or an issue with a single questionLearner examines the problem & tries to find the correct solutionTeacher follows the learner's thought process & offers clues if necessaryDevelops problem-solving, self-awareness, reasoning & decision-making

Pros and cons of the convergent discovery style

One of the best my parts about the convergent discovery style is that it develops the cognitive capacity to discover a single predetermined response to a new and unfamiliar stimulus. The process itself also teaches the learners that they are capable of complex thinking processes. Thus, improving self-awareness and feelings of competence. Both of which are often linked to improved intrinsic motivation.

However, the stimulus must also be relevant, challenging and captivating for the learner. This ensures that they are motivated and focused on producing the correct response for the target question. If this does not happen, the learners may become distracted from the goal. 

The target response must also be unfamiliar to the learners. Otherwise, the convergent style becomes a simple memory-reproduction exercise similar to the practice style. With this in mind, the teacher must carefully choose the educational question and give the learners enough room to learn through trial-and-error.

Final thoughts

As stated above, the convergent style is a teaching method characterized by setting one target question for the learners that lead to a single predetermined outcome. Since the teacher is only responsible for the pre-impact decisions (before the lesson) of this style, the students must rely on themselves to reach the target goal. 

This also means that the learners must use critical thinking, self-awareness, as well as connect their experience with new knowledge to find the right response. Thus, guiding them to work through complex problems to get to the goal.

Some sports are also intrinsically reliant on problem-solving in order to be successful. As in our previous example, the belayer realizes that keeping tension on the rope ensures safety at all times – even if the climber slips and falls suddenly. Thus, the activity itself becomes the problem that the learner tries to solve. 

Did you learn anything new about the convergent discovery style? Let us know in the comments.


  • Mosston, M. & Ashworth, S. (2008) Teaching Physical Education. 1st Online Edition.

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