By Stella Vosniadou
The International Academy
The International Academy of Education (IAE) is a not-for-
profit scientific association that promotes educational
research, its dissemination, and the implementation of its
implications. Founded in 1986, the Academy is dedicated to
strengthening the contributions of research, solving critical
educational problems throughout the world, and providing
better communication among policy makers, researchers and
practitioners. The seat of the Academy is at the Royal
Academy of Science, Literature and Arts in Brussels, Belgium,
and its co-ordinating centre is at Curtin University of
Technology in Perth, Australia.
The general aim of the IAE is to foster scholarly excel-
lence in all fields of education. Towards this end, the
Academy provides timely syntheses of research-based
evidence of international importance. The Academy also
provides critiques of research, its evidentiary basis, and its
application to policy.
The current members of the Board of Directors of the
Erik De Corte, University of Leuven, Belgium (President)
Herbert Walberg, University of Illinois at Chicago, United
States of America (Vice President)
Barry Fraser, Curtin University of Technology, Australia
Jacques Hallak, Paris, France
Michael Kirst, Stanford University, United States of
Ulrich Teichler, University of Kassel, Germany
Margaret Wang, Temple University, United States of
This booklet is about how children learn. It has been prepared
for inclusion in the Educational Practices Series developed by
the International Academy of Education and distributed by the
International Bureau of Education and the Academy. As part of
its mission, the Academy provides timely syntheses of research
on educational topics of international importance. This book-
let is the seventh in the series on educational practices that
generally improve learning.
The author is Stella Vosniadou, who has written many arti-
cles and books in the area of cognitive, developmental and
educational psychology. She has taught at the University of
Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and at the University of Athens,
and was president of the European Association for Research on
Learning and Instruction. She is currently the director of a grad-
uate programme in cognitive science in the Department of
Philosophy and History of Science at the University of Athens.
The officers of the International Academy of Education are
aware that this booklet is based on research carried out prima-
rily in economically advanced countries. The booklet, however,
focuses on aspects of how children learn that appear to be
universal in much formal and informal schooling. The practices
presented here are likely to be generally applicable through-
out the world. Even so, the principles should be assessed with
reference to local conditions, and adapted accordingly. In any
educational setting or cultural context, suggestions or guide-
lines for practice require sensitive and sensible application, and
HERBERT J. WALBERG
Editor, IAE Educational Practices Series
University of Illinois at Chicago
Previous titles in the ‘Educational practices series’
Teaching by Jere Brophy. 36 p.
Parents and learning by Sam Redding. 36 p.
Effective educational practices by Herbert J. Walberg and
Susan J. Paik. 24 p.
Improving student achievement in mathematics by Douglas
A. Grouws and Kristin J. Cebulla. 48 p.
Tutoring by Keith Topping. 36 p.
Teaching additional languages by Elliot L. Judd, Lihua Tan
and Herbert J. Walberg. 28 p.
These titles can be downloaded from the websites of the IEA
(http://www.curtin.edu.au/curtin/dept/smec/iae) or of the IBE
(http://www.ibe.unesco.org/publications) or paper copies can
be requested from: IBE, Publications Unit, P.O. Box 199, 1211
Geneva 20, Switzerland.
Table of contents
Introduction, page 6
1. Active involvement, page 8
2. Social participation, page 9
3. Meaningful activities, page 11
4. Relating new information to prior knowledge, page 12
5. Being strategic, page 14
6. Engaging in self-regulation and being reflective, page 16
7. Restructuring prior knowledge, page 18
8. Aiming towards understanding rather than memorization,
9. Helping students learn to transfer, page 22
10. Taking time to practice, page 23
11. Developmental and individual differences, page 25
12. Creating motivated learners, page 27
References and further reading, page 29
This publication has been produced in 2001 by the International
Academy of Education (IAE), Palais des Académies, 1, rue Ducale,
1000 Brussels, Belgium, and the International Bureau of Education
(IBE), P.O. Box 199, 1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland. It is available
free of charge and may be freely reproduced and translated into other
languages. Please send a copy of any publication that reproduces
this text in whole or in part to the IAE and the IBE. This publication
is also available on the Internet. See the ‘Publications’ section,
‘Educational Practices Series’ page at:
The author is responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts
contained in this publication and for the opinions expressed therein,
which are not necessarily those of UNESCO/IBE and do not commit
the organization. The designations employed and the presentation
of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any
opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO/IBE concerning the legal
status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or
concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
Printed in France by SADAG, Bellegarde.
The psychological principles described in this booklet summarize
some of the important results of recent research on learning
that is relevant for education. They attempt to integrate research
coming from diverse areas of psychology, including educational,
developmental, cognitive, social and clinical psychology. This
research has offered us new insights into the learning process
and the development of knowledge in many subject-matter
areas. As a result, curricula and instruction are changing in
schools today. They are attempting to become more student-
centred than teacher-centred, to connect the school to real-life
situations, and to focus on understanding and thinking rather
than on memorization, drill and practice.
Although each principle is explained on its own, all twelve
principles are best understood as an organized whole with
one supporting the others. As a whole, these principles are
meant to provide a comprehensive framework for the design
of curricula and of instruction. Indeed, they are found behind
a number of innovative programmes in schools across the
We begin with a discussion of three principles that are
widely recognized as forming the basis on which teachers
should design the learning environments of today’s schools;
namely, learning environments that encourage students to be
active learners, to collaborate with other students, and to use
meaningful tasks and authentic materials. We continue with
seven principles that focus on cognitive factors that are primarily
internal, but also interact with environmental factors in
important ways. Teachers need to take these principles into
consideration in order to design more effective curricula and
instruction. We end with a discussion of developmental and
individual differences, and with motivational influences on
learning. These last two areas are very important for learning
and instruction, and—to be treated adequately—deserve to
become independent booklets.
We have not dealt with a subject that is becoming very
important in the schools of today—the use of information and
communication technology to support learning. We have not
done so because this area is too vast and we believe that a
special booklet needs to be devoted to it.
In discussing each principle, we start by presenting a
summary of the research findings and then continue describing
the implications for teaching that follow from them. At the end
of the booklet there is a list of references and suggested readings
that provide further information on the principles that have
Learning requires the active, constructive
involvement of the learner.
Learning at school requires students to pay attention, to observe,
to memorize, to understand, to set goals and to assume respon-
sibility for their own learning. These cognitive activities are not
possible without the active involvement and engagement of the
learner. Teachers must help students to become active and goal-
oriented by building on their natural desire to explore, to under-
stand new things and to master them.
In the classroom
It is a challenge for teachers to create interesting and challenging
learning environments that encourage the active involvement
of students. The following are some suggestions as to how this
can be done:
Avoid situations where the students are passive listeners for
long periods of time.
Provide students with hands-on activities, such as experi-
ments, observations, projects, etc.
Encourage participation in classroom discussions and other
Organize school visits to museums and technological parks.
Allow students to take some control over their own learn-
ing. Taking control over one’s learning means allowing
students to make some decisions about what to learn and
Assist students in creating learning goals that are consistent
with their interests and future aspirations.
References: Elmore, Peterson & McCarthy, 1996; Piaget, 1978;
Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1991.
Learning is primarily a social activity and
participation in the social life of the school
is central for learning to occur.
For many researchers, social participation is the main activ-
ity through which learning occurs. Social activity and partici-
pation begin early on. Parents interact with their children
and through these interactions children acquire the behav-
iours that enable them to become effective members of soci-
ety. According to the psychologist Lev Vygotsky, the way chil-
dren learn is by internalizing the activities, habits, vocabu-
lary and ideas of the members of the community in which
they grow up.
The establishment of a fruitful collaborative and co-oper-
ative atmosphere is an essential part of school learning.
Research has shown that social collaboration can boost student
achievement, provided that the kinds of interactions that are
encouraged contribute to learning. Finally, social activities are
interesting in their own right and help to keep students
involved in their academic work. Students work harder to
improve the quality of their products (essays, projects, artwork,
etc.) when they know that they will be shared with other
In the classroom
Teachers can do many things to encourage social participation
in ways that facilitate learning:
They can assign students to work in groups and assume the
role of a coach/co-ordinator who provides guidance and
support to the groups.
They can create a classroom environment that includes group
workspaces where resources are shared.
Through modelling and coaching, they can teach students
how to co-operate with each other.
They can create circumstances for students to interact with
each other, to express their opinions and to evaluate other
An important aspect of social learning is to link the school
to the community at large. In this way, students’ opportu-
nities for social participation are enlarged.
References: Brown et al., 1996; Collins, Brown & Newman,
1989; Rogoff, 1990; Vygotsky, 1978.
People learn best when they participate in
activities that are perceived to be useful in
real life and are culturally relevant.
Many school activities are not meaningful since students under-
stand neither why they are doing them nor what their purpose
and usefulness is. Sometimes school activities are not mean-
ingful because they are not culturally appropriate. Many schools
are communities where children from diverse cultures learn
together. There are systematic cultural differences in practices,
in habits, in social roles, etc., that influence learning. Sometimes
meaningful activities for students coming from one cultural
group are not meaningful to students who are coming from
another cultural group.
In the classroom
Teachers can make classroom activities more meaningful by
situating them in an authentic context. An example of an authen-
tic context is one in which the activity is typically used in real
life. For example, students can improve their oral language and
communication skills by participating in debates. They can
improve their writing skills by being involved in the prepara-
tion of a classroom newspaper. Students can learn science by
participating in a community or school environmental project.
The school can be in contact with local scientists and invite
them to lecture, or allow the students to visit their laboratories.
It is also important for teachers to be aware of the cultural
differences of the children in their classroom and to respect
these differences. They must see them as strengths to build on,
rather than as defects. Children will feel differently in the class-
room if their culture is reflected in the common activities. School
routines that are unfamiliar to some children can be introduced
gradually so that the transition can be less traumatic for ethnic-
ally diverse groups.
References: Brown, Collins & Duguid, 1989; Heath, 1983.
Relating new information
to prior knowledge
New knowledge is constructed on the basis
of what is already understood and believed.
The idea that people’s ability to learn something new follows
from what they already know is not new, but more recent
research findings have shown that the ability to relate new infor-
mation to prior knowledge is critical for learning. It is not possi-
ble for someone to understand, remember or learn something
that is completely unfamiliar. Some prior knowledge is neces-
sary to understand the task at hand. But having the prerequi-
site prior knowledge is still not sufficient to ensure adequate
results. People must activate their prior knowledge in order to
be able to use it for understanding and for learning. Research
shows that students do not consistently see the relationships
between new material that they read and what they already
know. Research also shows that learning is enhanced when
teachers pay close attention to the prior knowledge of the learner
and use this knowledge as the starting point for instruction.
In the classroom
Teachers can help students activate prior knowledge and use
it for the task at hand. This can be done in a number of ways.
Teachers can discuss the content of a lesson before starting
in order to ensure that the students have the necessary prior
knowledge and in order to activate this knowledge.
Often students’ prior knowledge is incomplete or there are
false beliefs and critical misconceptions. Teachers do not
simply need to know that students know something about
the topic to be introduced. They need to investigate students’
prior knowledge in detail so that false beliefs and miscon-
ceptions can be identified.
Teachers may need to go back to cover important pre-
requisite material or ask the students to do some prepara-
tory work on their own.
Teachers can ask the kind of question that helps students
see relationships between what they are reading and what
they already know.
Effective teachers can help students to grasp relationships
and make connections. They can do so by providing a model
or a scaffold that students can use as support in their efforts
to improve their performance.
References: Bransford, 1979; Bransford, Brown & Cocking,
People learn by employing effective and
flexible strategies that help them to
understand, reason, memorize and
Children develop strategies to help themselves solve problems
from an early age. For example, when pre-school children are
told to go to the supermarket to buy a list of food items, they
often repeat the items on their way to remember them better.
These children have discovered rehearsal as a strategy to
improve their memory without anybody telling them to do so.
When they go to school, children need help from teachers to
develop appropriate strategies for solving mathematics prob-
lems, when understanding texts, doing science, learning from
other students, etc. Research shows that when teachers make
systematic attempts to teach learning strategies to students
substantial gains can result.
Strategies are important because they help students under-
stand and solve problems in ways that are appropriate for the
situation at hand. Strategies can improve learning and make it
faster. Strategies may differ in their accuracy, in their difficulty
of execution, in their processing demands and in the range of
problems to which they apply. The broader the range of strate-
gies that children can use appropriately, the more successful
they can be in problem solving, in reading, in text compre-
hension and in memorizing.
In the classroom
Teachers must recognize the importance of students knowing
and using a variety of strategies. The teaching of strategies can
be done directly or indirectly. In the latter case, the teacher can
give students a task and provide a model of the inquiry process
or ask key questions. For example, in reading, teachers can
explicitly show students how to outline the important points in
a text and how to summarize them. Alternatively, they can ask
a group of students to discuss a text and summarize it. They
can help in this process by participating in the discussion and
by asking critical questions. In science, teachers can show
students how to conduct experiments: how to form hypothe-
ses, how to keep a systematic record of their findings, and how
to evaluate them.
It is important to ensure that students learn to use these
strategies on their own and do not always rely on teachers to
provide the necessary support. Teachers need to gradually fade
their assistance and allow students to take greater responsibil-
ity for their learning.
References: Mayer, 1987; Palincsar & Brown, 1984; White &
Engaging in self-regulation
and being reflective
Learners must know how to plan and
monitor their learning, how to set their own
learning goals and how to correct errors.
The term ‘self-regulation’ is used here to indicate students’
ability to monitor their own learning, to understand when they
are making errors, and to know how to correct them. Self-
regulation is not the same as being strategic. People can use
strategies for learning mechanically without being fully aware
of what they are doing. Self-regulation involves the develop-
ment of specific strategies that help learners evaluate their
learning, check their understanding and correct errors when
Self-regulation requires reflection in the sense of being
aware of one’s own beliefs and strategies. Reflection can
develop through discussion, debates and essays, where chil-
dren are encouraged to express their opinions and defend
them. Another important aspect of reflection is being able to
distinguish appearance from reality, common beliefs from scien-
tific knowledge, etc.
In the classroom
Teachers can help students become self-regulated and reflec-
tive by providing opportunities:
To plan how to solve problems, design experiments and
To evaluate the statements, arguments, solutions to prob-
lems of others, as well as of one’s self;
To check their thinking and ask themselves questions about
their understanding— (Why am I doing what I am doing?
How well am I doing? What remains to be done?);
To develop realistic knowledge of themselves as learners—
(I am good in reading, but need to work on my mathe-
To set their own learning goals;
To know what are the most effective strategies to use and
when to use them.
References: Brown, 1975; Boekaerts, Pintrich & Zeidner,
2000; Marton & Booth, 1997.
Sometimes prior knowledge can stand in
the way of learning something new.
Students must learn how to solve internal
inconsistencies and restructure existing
conceptions when necessary.
Sometimes existing knowledge can stand in the way of under-
standing new information. While this is often the case in the
learning of science and mathematics, it can apply to all subject-
matter areas. It happens because our current understanding of
the physical and social world, of history, of theorizing about
numbers, etc., is the product of thousands of years of cultural
activity that has radically changed intuitive ways of explaining
phenomena. For example, in the area of mathematics, many
children make mistakes when they use fractions because they
use rules that apply to natural numbers only. Similarly, in the
physical sciences, students form various misconceptions. The
idea that the Earth is round like a pancake or like a sphere flat-
tened on the top happens because it reconciles the scientific
information that the Earth is round, with the intuitive belief that
it is flat and that people live upon its top. Such misconceptions
do not apply only in young children. They are common in high
school and college students as well.
In the classroom
What can teachers do to facilitate the understanding of counter-
Teachers need to be aware that students have prior beliefs
and incomplete understandings that can conflict with what
is being taught at school.
It is important to create the circumstances where alterna-
tive beliefs and explanations can be externalized and
Teachers need to build on the existing ideas of students and
slowly lead them to more mature understandings. Ignoring
prior beliefs can lead to the formation of misconceptions.
Students must be provided with observations and experi-
ments that have the potential of showing to them that some
of their beliefs can be wrong. Examples from the history of
science can be used for this purpose.
Scientific explanations must be presented with clarity and,
when possible, exemplified with models.
Students must be given enough time to restructure their
prior conceptions. In order to do this, it is better to design
curricula that deal with fewer topics in greater depth than
attempting to cover a great deal of topics in a superficial
References: Carretero & Voss, 1994; Driver, Guesne &
Tiberghien, 1985; Schnotz, Vosniadou &
Carretero, 1999; Vosniadou & Brewer, 1992.
Learning is better when material is
organized around general principles and
explanations, rather than when it is based
on the memorization of isolated facts
All teachers want their students to understand what they are
learning and not to memorize facts in a superficial way. Research
shows that when information is superficially memorized it is
easily forgotten. On the contrary, when something is under-
stood, it is not forgotten easily and it can be transferred to other
situations (see also the next principle on transfer). In order to
understand what they are being taught, students must be given
the opportunity to think about what they are doing, to talk about
it with other students and with teachers, to clarify it and to
understand how it applies in many situations.
In the classroom
How does one teach for understanding? The following are some
tasks teachers can carry out in order to promote understanding
of the material that has been taught:
Ask students to explain a phenomenon or a concept in their
Show students how to provide examples that illustrate how
a principle applies or how a law works.
Students must be able to solve characteristic problems in
the subject-matter area. Problems can increase in difficulty
as students acquire greater expertise.
When students understand the material, they can see simi-
larities and differences, they can compare and contrast, and
they can understand and generate analogies.
Teach students how to abstract general principles from
specific cases and generalize from specific examples.
References: Halpern, 1992; Resnick & Klopfer, 1989; Perkins,
Helping students learn
Learning becomes more meaningful
when the lessons are applied to
Students often cannot apply what they have learned at school
to solve real-world problems. For example, they may learn about
Newton’s laws at school but fail to see how they apply in real-
life situations. Transfer is very important. Why should someone
want to go to school if what is learned there does not transfer
to other situations and cannot be used outside the school?
In the classroom
Teachers can improve students’ ability to transfer what they
have learned at school by:
Insisting on mastery of subject matter. Without an adequate
degree of understanding, transfer cannot take place (see
Helping students see the transfer implications of the infor-
mation they have learned.
Applying what has been learned in one subject-matter area
to other areas to which it may be related.
Showing students how to abstract general principles from
Helping students learn how to monitor their learning and
how to seek and use feedback about their progress.
Teach for understanding rather than for memorization (see
References: Bruer, 1993; Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999;
10. Taking time to practice
Learning is a complex cognitive activity that
cannot be rushed. It requires considerable
time and periods of practice to start building
expertise in an area.
Research shows that people must carry out a great deal of prac-
tice to acquire expertise in an area. Even small differences in
the amount of time during which people are exposed to infor-
mation can result in large differences in the information they
have acquired. Cognitive psychologists Chase & Simon (1973)
studied chess experts and found that they had often spent as
many as 50,000 hours practising chess. A 35-year-old chess
master who has spent 50,000 hours playing chess must have
spent four to five hours on the chessboard from the age of 5
every day for thirty years! Less accomplished players have spent
considerably less time playing chess.
Research shows that the reading and writing skills of high-
school students relate to the hours they have spent on reading
and writing. Effective reading and writing requires a lot of prac-
tice. Students from disadvantaged environments who have less
opportunities to learn and who miss school because of work or
illness will not be expected to do as well at school compared to
children who had more time to practice and acquire information.
In the classroom
Many educational programmes are designed to increase one’s
exposure to learning situations preferably at an early age. Here
are some recommendations for teachers that can help students
spend more time on learning tasks.
Increase the amount of time students spend on learning in
Give students learning tasks that are consistent with what
they already know.
Do not try to cover too many topics at once. Give students
time to understand the new information.
Help students engage in ‘deliberate practice’ that includes
active thinking and monitoring of their own learning (see
sections on self-regulation).
Give students access to books so that they can practice read-
ing at home.
Be in contact with parents so that they can learn to provide
richer educational experiences for their children.
References: Bransford, 1979; Chase & Simon, 1973; Coles,
11. Developmental and
Children learn best when their individual
differences are taken into consideration.
Research shows that there are major developmental differences
in learning. As children develop, they form new ways of repre-
senting the world and they also change the processes and strate-
gies they use to manipulate these representations. In addition,
there are important individual differences in learning.
Developmental psychologist Howard Gardner has argued that
there are many dimensions of human intelligence other than
the logical and linguistic skills that are usually valued in most
school environments. Some children are gifted in music, others
have exceptional spatial skills (required, for example, by archi-
tects and artists), or bodily/kinaesthetic abilities (required by
athletes), or abilities to relate to other people, etc. Schools must
create the best environment for the development of children
taking into consideration such individual differences.
In the classroom
The following are recommendations for creating the best envi-
ronment for the development of children, while recognizing
their individual differences:
Learn how to assess children’s knowledge, strategies and
modes of learning adequately.
Introduce children to a wide range of materials, activities
and learning tasks that include language, mathematics, natu-
ral sciences, social sciences, art, music, movement, social
Identify students’ areas of strength, paying particular atten-
tion to the interest, persistence and confidence they demon-
strate in different kinds of activities.
Support students’ areas of strength and utilize these areas
to improve overall academic performance.
Guide and challenge students’ thinking and learning.
Ask children thought-provoking questions and give them
problems to solve. Urge children to test hypotheses in a
variety of ways.
Create connections to the real world by introducing prob-
lems and materials drawn from everyday situations.
Show children how they can use their unique profiles of
intelligence to solve real-world problems.
Create circumstances for students to interact with people in
the community, and particularly with adults who are knowl-
edgeable and enthusiastic about the kinds of things that are
of interest to the students.
References: Case, 1978; Chen et al., 1998; Gardner, 1991;
12. Creating motivated
Learning is critically influenced by learner
motivation. Teachers can help students
become more motivated learners by their
behaviour and the statements they make.
Motivated learners are easy to recognize because they have a
passion for achieving their goals and are ready to expend a
great deal of effort. They also show considerable determination
and persistence. This influences the amount and quality of what
is learned. All teachers want to have motivated learners in their
classrooms. How can they achieve this?
Psychologists distinguish between two kinds of motivation:
extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motiva-
tion results when positive rewards are used to increase the
frequency of a target behaviour. Praise, high grades, awards,
money and food can be used for that effect. Intrinsic motiva-
tion is when learners actively participate in activities without
having to be rewarded for it. The child who likes to put together
puzzles for the fun of it is intrinsically motivated.
An important characteristic of intrinsically motivated learn-
ers is their belief that effort is important for success. Teachers
can influence students’ determination to achieve by their behav-
iour and the statements they make.
In the classroom
Teachers must use encouraging statements that reflect an honest
evaluation of learner performance:
Recognize student accomplishments.
Attribute student achievement to internal and not external
factors (e.g. ‘You have good ideas’).
Help students believe in themselves (e.g. ‘You are putting
a lot of effort on math and your grades have much
Provide feedback to children about the strategies they use
and instruction as to how to improve them.
Help learners set realistic goals.
It is also important to:
Refrain from grouping students according to their ability.
Ability grouping gives the message that ability is valued
more than effort.
Promote co-operation rather than competition. Research
suggests that competitive arrangements that encourage
students to work alone to achieve high grades and rewards
tend to give the message that what is valued is ability and
diminish intrinsic motivation.
Provide novel and interesting tasks that challenge learners’
curiosity and higher-order thinking skills at the appropriate
level of difficulty.
References: Deci & Ryan, 1985; Dweck, 1989; Lepper &
Hodell, 1989; Spaulding, 1992.
References and further reading
Bereiter, C. 1997. Situated cognition and how to overcome it. In: Kirshner,
D.; Whitson, J.A., eds. Situated cognition: social, semiotic, and psycho-
logical perspectives, p. 281–300. Hillsdale, NJ, Erlbaum.
Boekaerts, M.; Pintrich, P.; Zeidner, M. 2000. Handbook of self-regula-
tion. New York, Academic Press.
Bransford, J.D. 1979. Human cognition: learning, understanding and
remembering. Belmont, CA, Wadsworth Publishing Co.
Bransford, T.D.; Brown, A.L.; Cocking, R.R., eds. 1999. How people learn:
brain, mind, experience and school. Washington, DC, National
Brown, A.L. 1975. The development of memory: knowing, knowing
about knowing and knowing how to know. In: Reese, H.W., ed.
Advances in child development and behavior. Vol. 10. New York,
Brown, A.L., et al. 1996. Distributed expertise in the classroom. In:
Salomon, G., ed. Distributed cognitions: psychological and educa-
tional considerations, p. 188–228. Hillsdale, NJ, Erlbaum.
Brown, J.S.; Collins, A.; Duguid, P. 1989. Situated cognition and the
culture of learning. Educational researcher (Washington, DC), vol. 18,
Bruer, J.T. 1993. Schools for thought. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.
Carretero M.; Voss, J., eds. 1994. Cognitive and instructional processes
in history and the social sciences. Hillsdale, NJ, Erlbaum.
Case, R. 1978. Implications of developmental psychology for the design
of effective instruction. In: Lesgold, A.M., et al., eds. Cognitive psychol-
ogy and instruction, p. 441–63. New York, Plenum.
Chase, W.G.; Simon, H.A. 1973. The mind’s eye in chess. In: Chase,
W.G., ed. Visual information processing. New York, Academic Press.
Chen, J., et al. 1998. Building on children’s strengths: the experience of
Project Spectrum. New York, Teachers College, Columbia University.
Coles, R. 1970. Uprooted children: the early life of migrant farm work-
ers. New York, Harper & Row.
Collins, A.; Brown, J.S.; Newman, S.F. 1989. Cognitive apprenticeship:
teaching the craft of reading, writing and mathematics. In: Resnick,
L.B., ed. Knowing, learning and instruction: essays in honor of Robert
Glaser, p. 453–84. Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum.
Deci, E.L.; Ryan, R. 1985. Intrinsic motivation and self-determination
in human behaviour. New York, Plenum Press.
Driver, R.; Guesne, E.; Tiberghien, A., eds. 1985. Children’s ideas in
science. Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, Open University Press.
Dweck, C.S. 1989. Motivation. In: Lesgold A.; Glaser, R., eds. Foundations
for a psychology of education, p. 87–136. Hillsdale, NJ, Erlbaum.
Elmore, R.F.; Peterson, P.L.; McCarthy, S.J. 1996. Restructuring in the
classroom: teaching, learning and school organization. San Francisco,
Gardner, H. 1991. The unschooled mind: how children think and how
schools should teach. New York, Basic Books.
——. 1993. Multiple intelligences: the theory in practice. New York,
Halpern, D.F., ed. 1992. Enhancing thinking skills in the sciences and
mathematics. Hillsdale, NJ, Erlbaum.
Heath, S.B. 1983. Ways with words: language, life and work in commu-
nities and classrooms. Cambridge, United Kingdom, Cambridge
Lepper, M.; Hodell, M. 1989. Intrinsic motivation in the classroom. In:
Ames, C.; Ames, R., eds. Research on motivation in education, Vol.
3, p. 73-105. New York, Academic Press.
Marton, F.; Booth, S. 1997. Learning and awareness. Hillsdale, NJ,
Mayer, R.E. 1987. Educational psychology: a cognitive approach. Boston,
MA, Little, Brown.
Palincsar, A.S.; Brown, A.L. 1984. Reciprocal teaching of comprehen-
sion monitoring activities. Cognition and instruction (Hillsdale, NJ),
vol. 1, p. 117–75.
Perkins, D. 1992. Smart schools: better thinking and learning for every
child. Riverside, NJ, The Free Press.
Piaget, J. 1978. Success and understanding. Cambridge, MA, Harvard
Resnick, L.B.; Klopfer, L.E., eds. 1989. Toward the thinking curriculum:
current cognitive research. Alexandria, VA, ASCD Books.
Rogoff, B. 1990. Apprenticeships in thinking: cognitive development in
social context. New York, Oxford University Press.
Scardamalia, M.; Bereiter, C. 1991. Higher levels of agency for children
in knowledge building: a challenge for the design of new knowl-
edge media. Journal of the learning sciences (Hillsdale, NJ), no. 1,
Schnotz, W.; Vosniadou, S.; Carretero, M. 1999. New perspectives on
conceptual change. Oxford, United Kingdom, Elsevier Science.
Spaulding, C.L. 1992. Motivation in the classroom. New York, McGraw
Vosniadou, S.; Brewer, W.F. 1992. Mental models of the earth: a study
of conceptual change in childhood. Cognitive psychology (San Diego,
CA), no. 24, p. 535–58.
Vygotsky, L.S. 1978. Mind in society: the development of higher psycho-
logical processes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.
White, B.Y.; Frederickson, J.R. 1998. Inquiry, modelling and meta-
cognition: making science accessible to all students. Cognition and
instruction (Hillsdale, NJ), vol. 16, no. 1, p. 13–117.
An international centre for the content of
education, the IBE was founded in Geneva
in 1925 as a private institution. In 1929, it
became the first intergovernmental
organization in the field of education. In
1969, the IBE joined UNESCO as an integral,
yet autonomous, institution.
It has three main lines of action: (a)
organizing the sessions of the International
Conference on Education; (b) collecting,
analysing and disseminating educational
documentation and information, in particular
on innovations concerning curricula and
teaching methods; and (c) undertaking
surveys and studies in the field of
comparative education. At the present time,
the IBE: (a) manages World data on
education, a databank presenting on a
comparative basis the profiles of national
education systems; (b) organizes regional
courses on curriculum development; (c)
collects and disseminates through its
databank INNODATA notable innovations on
education; (d) co-ordinates preparation of
national reports on the development of
education; (e) administers the Comenius
Medal awarded to outstanding teachers and
educational researchers; and (f) publishes a
quarterly review of education—Prospects, a
innovation and information, as well as
In the context of its training courses on
curriculum development, the Bureau is
establishing regional and sub-regional
networks on the management of curriculum
change and developing a new information
service—a platform for the exchange of
information on content.
The IBE is governed by a Council
composed of representatives of twenty-eight
Member States elected by the General
Conference of UNESCO. The IBE is proud to
be associated with the work of the
International Academy of Education and
publishes this material in its capacity as a
clearinghouse promoting the exchange of
information on educational practices.