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Elements That Promote High Performance and Successful Learning

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Jones (1992, p. 168) suggests several elements that are common to high-achieving learning environments for children:

  1. The locus of learning is in the learner and the goal of learning is the construction of meaning by the student.

  2. Learning focuses less on low-level basic skills and isolated facts and more on enabling students to construct meaning, solve complex problems, and develop and learn content or cognitive processes, strategies, and skills.

  3. The environment encourages self-regulated learning rather than teacher-regulated learning.

  4. Instruction emphasizes depth of learning rather than breadth of learning.

Martin Haberman at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers additional insight into what is needed to create high-achieving, engaged learning environments, particularly in urban schools. He argues that high levels of student involvement and a focus on higher-order thinking rather than basic skills give classrooms a different structure. As a result, urban students in particular are likely to be more successful, engaged, and have higher self-esteem. Haberman (1991, pp. 293-94) lists the following features of what he calls "good teaching":

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