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Fostering Learner Independence
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Fostering Learner Independence
An Essential Guide for K-6 Educators

Foreword by Ron Ritchhart



November 2008 | 240 pages | Corwin

"This one will be dog-eared, highlighted intensely, and readily accessible on the corner of my desk. However, in the spirit of this book's call for independent thinking, don't take my word for it. Read and judge for yourself. You won't be disappointed."
—Rick Wormeli, Columnist
Middle Ground Magazine, National Middle School Association

Learner independence = student success!

While every teacher's goal is to help students become independent thinkers, determining exactly how to lead students toward self-sufficiency can be a challenge. This straightforward resource invites teachers to reflect on their philosophy of teaching and learning, and helps identify the key ingredients for creating a classroom that promotes student success and independence.

Teachers will discover how to build on student strengths and interests and provide authentic learning experiences. The book includes checklists, examples, and tips, and shows readers how to:

  • Identify practices that hinder independence as well as those that foster student self-sufficiency
  • Engage learners so they can contribute information about how and what they want to learn
  • Promote development of good work habits, self-motivation, resiliency, and peer-to-peer problem solving
  • Strengthen students' critical thinking and inquiry skills
  • Incorporate differentiation and formative assessments

Infused with research and real classroom experiences, this readable handbook helps educators develop students who can solve problems and learn independently.


 
Foreword by Ron Ritchhart
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
1. Learner Independence
Defining Learner Independence  
Learner Independence Encourages Self-Esteem  
Independent Learning: A Habit of Mind  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
2. Structuring for Learner Independence
Controlling Versus Structuring for Learning  
Fostering Independence Through Student Thinking  
Interdependence Encourages Independence  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
3. Teaching That Promotes Independence
Implicit and Explicit Teaching  
Constructivist Education  
Supporting Students: The Zone of Proximal Development  
Problem-Based Instruction  
Gradually Releasing Responsibility  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
4. Expectations and Communication That Supports Independence
Benefits of a Well-Managed Classroom  
Setting Expectations  
Communicating With Students  
Language of the Classroom  
Peer Communication  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
5. Aligning Understandings and the Environment for Independence
Benefits of a Well-Planned Environment  
An Environment That Mirrors a Teacher's Understandings  
Analyzing the Physical Environment  
Role of the Teacher  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
6. Setting Up for Independence
Arranging the Physical Environment  
Whole Group  
Small Group  
Student Seating  
Student Seating: The Freedom to Choose  
The Teacher's Desk  
Learning Centers, Materials, Supplies, and Resources  
Wall Space  
A Final Touch  
Routines and Procedures  
Change Over Time  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
7. Assessment That Fosters Independence
A Comparison of Assessments  
The Link Between Rubrics and Independence  
Assessment That Encourages Independence and Creativity  
Assessing With Purpose  
Reflect on Your Use of Rubrics  
The Benefits of Assessment for Learning  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
8. Evaluation and Analysis That Develops Independence
Supporting Students Through Evaluation  
Using Evaluation in Planning  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
9. Information That Fosters Learner Independence
Observations as Assessment  
Conversations as Assessment  
Feedback: Descriptive and Evaluative  
Feedback That Informs Instruction  
Analyzing Student Work for Evidence of Instruction  
Analyzing With Others  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
10. Planning to Support Independence
Purposeful Decisions  
The Teaching and Learning Cycle  
Long-Range Planning  
Daily Planning  
Approaches, Grouping, and Resources  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
11. Differentiating for Independence
All Students Can Learn  
Teaching Responsively Encourages Independence  
Using a Variety of Processes and Resources to Encourage Independence  
Go Deep, Avoid Coverage  
Students Need to Know Themselves as Learners  
Student Choice Is Critical  
Differentiation Leads to Independent Learners  
Conclusion  
A Time to Reflect  
A Visit to Our Classrooms  
 
12. Conclusion: Changing and Reflecting
Our Behaviors Are Influenced by Thought and Perception  
Teaching Is Constant Decision Making  
Learning Requires Engagement and Alteration in Thought  
Humans Continue to Grow Cognitively  
 
Resource A: Task Analysis
 
Resource B: Moving From Controlling Learning
 
Resource C: Responses That Encourage Independence
 
References
 
Index

“The authors have written a highly accessible book that could change not only the way teachers teach and students learn, but also contribute to the satisfaction that both teachers and students feel at the end of the day.”

Cynthia L. Wilson, Associate Professor of Teacher Education
University of Illinois at Springfield

"This book has challenged me as a teacher, and I believe others will become better teachers with this book."

Renee Peoples, Fourth-Grade Teacher
Swain West Elementary School, Bryson City, NC

“Teachers and administrators will find this book valuable. It has a strong theory and research base along with concrete examples from many classrooms.”

Marilyn Duncan, Literacy Consultant
Author, The Learning Network

"The authors have spent years thinking and writing about the conditions necessary to design, implement, and reflect upon for teachers to be intentional in our work and what independence means for our students. Their book acts as a personal coach for any teaching wanting to increase the rigor of their classroom, establish a classroom of independence, manage their own planning time productively, increase parent support, and truly increase student achievement."

Dawn Christiana, Teacher, Literacy Consultant
Bellingham School District, WA

"This excellent book covers all aspects of what teachers can do with their students to help them develop as independent learners.”

Linda Lee and Mary Haymond, Multi-age Classroom Teachers
Spokane Public Schools, WA

“This one will be dog-eared, highlighted intensely, and readily accessible on the corner of my desk. However, in the spirit of this book’s call for independent thinking, don’t take my word for it. Read and judge for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.”

Rick Wormeli, Columnist
Middle Ground, National Middle School Association
Key features
  • Provides examples from a variety of subject areas and ages
  • Includes helpful questions for reflection and real-life classroom scenarios gathered from the authors' own teaching experiences and workshops
  • Emhpasizes reflective practice

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1


Preview this book

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412966078
$36.95