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Teaching Students to Drive Their Learning

Teaching Students to Drive Their Learning
A Playbook on Engagement and Self-Regulation, K-12

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May 2023 | 208 pages | Corwin

The honest truths, tools, and teaching that lead to student engagement

High levels of engagement—it’s not an impossible dream. But to attain it we need to focus on what galvanizes learning, and ensure we are offering the tools and mindsets with which students can lean in. In this playbook, an ace team of educators give us the goods to guide self-starting learners.

Nine modules show us how to:

  • Cohere standards, success criteria, tasks, and goals so students can travel clear pathways
  • Offer tools that allow learners to recognize the gap between their current performance and the expected performance, and select strategies to close that gap
  • Talk with students about engagement as a continuum, and that there are actions they can take to heighten their buy-in to any endeavor
  • Stress-test our lesson plans to ensure students can discuss, debate, create and problem-solve around highly relevant content
  • Use lots of low-stakes assessment and feedback routines to develop effective collaboration that doesn’t depend on us.

Our job as teachers is to guide learning experiences that build knowledge and self-efficacy. But from there, we need to stay on the sidelines and let students play. Only then will they develop the muscle to persevere, the strategic actions to excel, and the confidence to make our curriculum the springboard of their own dreams and goals.

Module 1: Engagement: From Disrupting to Driving Learning
Module 2: Learners Know their Current Level of Understanding
Module 3: Learners Understand Where They’re Going and Have the Confidence to Take on the Challenge
Module 4: Learners Select Tools to Guide Their Learning
Module 5: Learners Monitor Their Progress and Adjust Their Learning
Module 6: Learners Seek Feedback and Recognize that Errors are Opportunities to Learn
Module 7: Learners Recognize their Learning and Teach Others
Module 8: Responding When Students Disengage


Teaching Students to Drive their Learning is a timely playbook that gives educators the research and tools to support student agency in learning. Through seamlessly integrating research-based practices into clear actions that teachers can quickly implement in their classrooms, this book is a must-read for all.

Arlena Gaynor
Executive Director of Language, Literacy and Social Studies, Dallas ISD

The newest Corwin playbook is one that should be in the library of every educator who strives to accelerate the learning of their students. Through clever analogies and real-world examples, this book creates a clear path paved, including strategies to teach students to take ownership of their own learning and become life-long learners who seek challenges and thrive on their own growth. 

It's a practical guide to developing the qualities of self-driven learners in your students and promoting a classroom culture that allows the teacher to confidently let their students take on challenges and effectively become their own teacher.

Jessica Javo
Instructional Supervisor/Assistant Principal, South Effingham Elementary School

This is a great read for all educators!  It really speaks to how we, as educators, need to help students become responsible for their own learning.  Students truly need to know what to do when they don’t know what to do!

Lydia Bagley
Instructional Support Specialist, Cobb County School District

This playbook is a great refresher for experienced teachers on ways that they can support students who are having difficulty finding success in the classroom. It’s a gentle nod and a great reminder of best practices that all teachers can benefit from.

Melissa Black
Elementary Educator and Education Consultant

Since implementing Visible Learning practices, we have made great strides as a school district. We have embedded the use of learning intentions and success criteria in our classrooms and made them visible, utilizing them to guide instruction, and referencing them as the basis for assessment and reflection. Our students now understand what they are learning, how they know when they’ve learned it, and where they need to go next.

Katie Isch
Principal, Adams Central Community School

A good guide for lecturers and supporting fellowship routes

Mrs Beverley Griffiths
Education, Buckinghamshire College Group
July 2, 2024

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