Book Review: Teach Students How to Learn

The underlying message within Saundra Yancy McGuire’s book, “Teach Students How to Learn,” is the value of a growth mindset that every student can learn.  We know when our students are able to leverage the power of metacognition and learning strategies, they are more equipped to succeed.

Do you believe all students can learn?

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Are you ready to teach students how to learn?

First, focus on metacognition and Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Emphasize high expectations coupled with a growth mindset that all students can learn and be successful.  The ten metacognitive strategies include previewing, preparing, paraphrasing, active reading, using the textbook, taking notes by hand, using homework to assess learning, teaching others, using study groups, and creating and using practice exams.

Next, share the components of the Study Cycle.  This begins with a big picture look at the concepts as the students preview the material.  During class, they actively participate, asking questions formulated in the preview step.  After class, the students use elaborative rehearsal to review the material in a timely manner.  Intense study sessions are short, focused, and goal-oriented.  A self-evaluation rounds out the study session in anticipation of the next learning experience.

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Then, do not overlook the value of inspiring, relating, and building confidence within the students as individuals.  Not only does the teacher need to exhibit a growth mindset about the students, but the students need to do so about themselves.

Many more details surrounding the work to teach students how to learn are included in the book.  My four pages of sketchnotes summarize the text:

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A Framework for Vision-Driven Instruction and Leadership includes a compilation of Instructional Practice Considerations, aligned to each of the vision premises under the six articles of the Visioning document.  Three such considerations are:

How am I supporting students in the self-management of learning?

How am I creating systems that scaffold self management of learning?

How will students take ownership of their learning?

Strategies for what teachers/faculty can do as well as what students can do in the collaborative effort to boost students’ learning can be found within McGuire’s book, “Teach Students How to Learn.”


I encourage you to read this book, reflect on its message, and take action in your classroom and in collaboration with your colleagues as you focus on learning and teach students how to learn.

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