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Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning



What is Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning?

According to Brian Cambourne, there are seven conditions of learning: immersion, demonstration, engagement, expectation, use, approximation, and response.


How can Cambourne’s Conditions be used in an Integrated Study?


Cambourne wrote his conditions in relation to literacy development. The seven conditions can be applied to an integrated study by transferring the concepts into the area



Students need to be surrounded by an environment that is rich with learning and language. For example, posters, charts, work, displays, learning centers, talk, listening posts, etc.



Students need opportunities to observe learning occurring. This is usually demonstrated in the form of teacher modeling e.g. report writing, using ICT equipment, role models talking to the class, etc.



For learning to be effective, students must actively engage with learning and the process of learning. Engaged learners take what they are learning and make it meaningful to their lives.



Students learn in an environment where the teacher communicates high expectations, believing that the student can – and will – learn.



Students use their knowledge through their everyday lives e.g. writing, presenting, exploring, experimenting, etc. This links with the later stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy.



Students should feel free to take risks with their learning. For this to occur, students must experience success in a safe, supportive environment where a mistake is merely seen (and treated!) as a learning point.



Students need to receive feedback from the teacher and classroom peers e.g. critique, self-evaluations, peer evaluations, talk, etc.


When would you use it?


Cambourne’s conditions for learning are used constantly throughout teaching and learning. For example, the classroom environment almost always reflects the content being learnt. Teachers scaffold their learners into learning through demonstrating how to use a particular skill. Cambourne’s conditions occur when effective teaching is being practiced.


How do you use it?


Cambourne’s conditions often show outwardly, through behaviors of the learners, planning of the teacher, and the environment in which children learn. Teacher’s must consciously plan to demonstrate a skill e.g. report writing, just as they must carefully plan the environment of the classroom.


The environment plays a large part of Cambourne’s conditions. Not only are learners immersed in learning, learners are also immersed in the dispositions that make learning effective. By considering and reflecting upon the classroom environment, teachers can effectively plan for conditions such as approximation, expectation, and engagement.