bwBrian Cambourne’s Model of Learning

(As it applies to Literacy Learning)

Learners need to be immersed in text of all kinds

Learners need to receive many demonstrations of how texts are constructed and used.

Expectation of those to whom learners are bonded are powerful coercers of behavior.  “We achieve what we expect to achieve; We fail what we expect to fail; we are more likely to engage with demonstrations of those whom we regard as significant and who hold high expectations for us.”

Learners need to make their own decisions about when, how and what ‘bits’to learn in any learning task.  Learners who lose the ability to make decisions are ‘depowered’.

Learners need time and opportunity to use, employ and practice their developing control in functional, realistic, non-artificial ways.          

Learners must be free to approximate the desired model- ‘Mistakes’ are essential for learning to occur.

Learners must receive ‘feedback’ from exchanges with more knowledgeable ‘others’. 

Response must be relevant, appropriate, timely, readily available, non-threatening, with no strings attached.



Occurs when learner is convinced that:

I am a potential ‘doer’ or ‘performer’ of these demonstrations I’m observing.

Engaging with these demonstrations will further the purposes of my life.

I can engage and try to emulate without fear of physical or psychological hurt if my attempt is not fully ‘correct’. 

Helping learners to make these decisions constitutes the ‘artistic’ dimensions of teaching.  It is difficult for teachers who dislike children.