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Learners and Learning

As its title suggests, Learners and Learning is the module that addresses most directly the central, core business of schooling. The aim of the module is to improve the teaching abilities of teachers.  It accordingly promotes a theoretically informed understanding of what learning is, how it takes place, and how teachers may go about organising systematic learning.  The module enables teachers to analyse learning, and, in so doing, to reflect on what they can do to improve it. Thus, while the module draws on the learning theories of writers like Piaget and Vygotsky, it grounds these examples, practical exercises, and case studies drawn from schools. 

The different sections in the Learning Guide present a coherent progression. However, the six sections are downloadable as individual units.

The Learning Guide is supported by a set of 17 readings, some of which can be accessed from this website (highlighted in blue). For those not available, you can contact the publishers listed below for permission to use the readings. A full set is available from Saide at

Reference list for Section One

  • Reading 1: M. Montessori. 1966. The Secret of Childhood. New York: Ballantine. pp.37-39. By kind permission of the Montessori Pierson Estate.
  • Reading 2: B.F. Skinner. 1968. The Technology of Teaching. New York ; Appleton Century Crofts.
  • Reading 3:  J. Piaget. 1964. Development and learning. In R. Ripple and V. Rockcastle (eds.) Piaget Rediscovered (Ithaca, Cornell University, 1964)
  • Reading 4: L.S. Vygotsky. 1978. Interaction between learning and development. Chapter 6 inMind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological processes. London: Harvard University Press.

Reference list for Section Two

  • Reading 5: B. Dwyer.1984. Some half-truths about learning. In W. McVitty (ed.) Children and Learning. Australia: Primary English Teaching Association.
  • Reading 6: N. Bennett and E. Dunne. 1994. How children learn: implication for practice. In B. Moon and A. Shelton Mayes (eds) Teaching and Learning in the Secondary School Routledge and Open University.
  • Reading 7: Maybin, Mercer, and Stierer.1992. Scaffolding Learning in the Classroom In K. Norman (ed.) Thinking Voices. London: Hodder& Stoughton. By kind permission of the authors.
  • Reading 8: C. Macdonald. 1991. Eager to Talk and Learn and Think. Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman. By kind permission of the publisher.

Reference list for Section Three

  • Reading 9: A. P. Craig. 1996. Education for all. In South African Journal of Higher Education, 10:2 (1996), 47–55. By kind permission of the publisher.
  • Reading 10: B. Joyce, E. Calhoun, and D. Hopkins. 1997. Learning to think metaphorically. InModels of Learning – Tools for TeachingBuckingham: Open University Press.
  • Reading 11: D. C. Dennett. 1995. How to Make Mistakes. In J. Brockman and K. Matson (eds.)How Things Are. New York: Quill/William Morrow.
  • Reading 12: J. T. Dillon. 1986. Student questions and individual learning. In Educational Theory, 36:4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Reading 13: J. Stuart. 1990.Teaching a concept-based course. Chapter 1 in G. Seidman and J. Stuart Working for the Future: a Teacher’s Guide. Gaborone: International Foundation for Education with Production.

Reference list for Section Four

  • Reading 14:  P. Freire.1985. The act of study. Chapter 1 in The Politics of Education – Culture, Power and Liberation. Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey.
  • Reading 15: B. Bettelheim and K. Zelan. 1981. The magic of reading. Chapter 3 in On Learning to Read. London: Penguin.
  • Reading 16: R. E. Floden and M. Buchmann. 1993. Guided adventures in learning. In M. Buchmann and R. E. Floden (eds.) Detachment and Concern: Conversations in the Philosophy of Teaching and Teacher Education. London: Cassell. By kind permission of Continuum International Publishing Group.
  • Reading 17: A. Brown and J. Campione1990. Developing communities of reading and thinking. In D. Kuhn (ed.)Developmental Perspectives on Teaching and Learning Thinking Skills. Series 21, ‘Contributions to Human Development’, Basel, S. Karger, pp 108–121.

 The audiotape includes interviews and discussions that cover three key questions:

  • What is learning?
  • Is there a difference between everyday learning and school learning?
  • How do we teach to enable learning?


For the most part of the 84 minutes of recording we listen to the views of experts who provide interesting and valuable insights and debates.  These require careful listening, though, and probably re-listening!  They are certainly worth the effort.  Downloadable parts are: