Nurturing Independent Learners


Nurturing Independent Learners: Helping Students Take Charge of Their Learning


Donald Meichenbaum, Univ. of Waterloo, & Andrew Biemiller, Univ. of Toronto


ISBN 1-57129-047-8 1998 paper $27.95


Students in today’s classrooms exhibit troubling disparities in academic skill. By high school, students in a single classroom may differ by as many as six grade levels in their academic abilities. What distinguishes those who falter from those who thrive? Under our current system, why do “smart” students get “smarter” while slower students fall ever farther behind? And how can teachers help slower learners without penalizing those who are achieving?


This book addresses these questions by stressing the critical importance of fostering active, self-directed learning. To achieve mastery, students cannot be passive consumers of knowledge; they must actively construct and apply what they learn. Building on this idea, the authors provide a theoretical model of instruction and corresponding pedagogical guidelines for helping students not only acquire skills and strategies, but also consolidate them, and transfer them to increasingly complex, authentic tasks.


This groundbreaking work is based on the authors’ combined 60 years of research, their experience in training beginning and experienced teachers, and their extensive dialogues with teachers, students, principals and parents. They translate basic and applied research findings into specific instructional practices designed to help all children become independent learners.

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