Made for Learning, a new book describes the 8 conditions for learning. Knowing them can help any teacher improve their teaching: An interview by Dr. Sam Bommarito

This week I had a chance to interview Debra Crouch and Brian Cambourne about their new book, Made for Learning. It was a fascinating and informative interview. Debra has 32 years of experience as a classroom teacher, coach, consultant, and author. She is currently a national reading consultant. She works with districts across the country. These districts serve children from diverse language and socioeconomic backgrounds.  She used these extensive experiences to help her co-author this book with Brian.

Brian is presently a Principal Fellow at the University of Wollongong, Australia. His teaching career began in 1956. For nine years he taught in a mix of one-room schools and primary classrooms K-6. He then became a teacher educator at Wagga Wagga Teachers’ College. He completed his PhD and was subsequently a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard. He has also been a visiting fellow at the Universities of Illinois and Arizona. Brian has done extensive research based on thousands of hours of classroom observation and collaboration. In the course of those observations, he found what he believes are 8 key conditions for learning. Here is a model of learning he developed based on those observations.

What I like about Brian’s model is that it is designed to empower teachers. It gives teachers a model to use so they can scaffold their students into learning. Brian defines learning as “our ever-changing knowledge, understanding, feelings, values and skills regarding what is to be learned. His model is based on thousands of hours of observation and collaboration with actual practicing teachers. For a couple of decades, I taught various courses to preservice teachers. They always wanted to know what they could do that would help them organize and implement their instruction more effectively. I agree with Brian, student engagement is the key.  Brian’s model provides important insights on how to help students become more engaged in their learning.  I think beginning teachers and veteran teachers alike would find new insights by applying Brian’s model to their own teaching. After getting my copy of Made for Learning and trying out its ideas, I have found reinforcement for many of the things I do. I have also found inspiration for doing some things even better. Here is a link in case you are interested in purchasing the book:

https://www.rcowen.com/conditionsoflearning.htm

Now it is time to have a look at the interview. Here are the topics we discussed. They are time stamped.

  1. Do you mind sharing what the Conditions of Learning actually are with our listeners?  01:50
  • So how are these conditions for learning universal? 14:25
  • How has your thinking about your original theory and writing changed over the years? How do the Conditions of Learning support meaning-making rather than acquisition of knowledge? 20:45
  • In the new book, Made for Learning, you highlight “mismatches between theory and practice.”  What do you mean by that? Can you share an example of common mismatches that you see? And how can teachers easily adjust their thinking and practice to meet the needs of students in more productive ways? 29:03
  • How are the Conditions for Learning still or even more relevant today? 44:00

Here is the YouTube interview:

Here is a link to Debra’s Website (click on the image):

Here is a link to Brian’s Website:

http://www.cambournesconditionsoflearning.com.au/

I want to thank Debra and Brian for taking time from their very busy schedule to do this interview. Because of the time differences, Brian had to get up at 3:30 am to do this interview. Wow, what dedication! And Wow, what great ideas Brian and Debra have for us all! So, until next week …

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

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