by Cassie Brusch and Kari Kessler

In the dynamic landscape of education, fostering competence and adaptability in learners is the cornerstone of effective teaching. The Competent Learner Model (CLM) is a powerful framework designed to equip students with the essential skills they need to navigate life’s diverse challenges successfully.


Building Blocks of Competence: The 7 CLM Repertoires

At the heart of the CLM lies a structured approach to nurturing competence through the development of seven key repertoires: talker, listener, observer, problem solver, participator, reader, and writer. These repertoires are inspired by B.F. Skinner’s seminal work in 1957, which analyzed functional language and laid the foundation for effective communication, observation, listening, reading, and writing skills.

A Supplemental Curriculum for Comprehensive Growth

The CLM Curriculum is not a standalone program but a valuable supplement that enhances various academic, social/emotional, related arts, and other educational initiatives within a classroom. Central to CLM is the concept of generalization, which fosters the application of skills across different contexts, whether it be people, places, or items.

The CLM Curriculum seamlessly incorporates principles from Verbal Behavior, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), and Direct Instruction into its lesson plans. These well-established methodologies synergize with the seven CLM repertoires, enriching the learning experience for students. Within CLM lesson plans, Skinner’s verbal operants find a natural home, and reinforcement strategies are thoughtfully integrated, with ongoing coaching support provided. Shaping, a key technique, is utilized to support skill development across the repertoires. All lessons are meticulously crafted in a direct instruction format, ensuring consistent implementation across various instructors.

A Student-Centric Approach

CLM is rooted in a student-centric philosophy. Initially, the focus is on meeting the social/emotional and academic needs of the learner. As students realize that instructors are dedicated to their growth and development, lessons gradually transition to more teacher-directed conditions. This shift is particularly valuable for learners who may initially perceive “work” as aversive. CLM’s “Play-Learn-Achieve” vision actively works to prevent or overcome this perception, creating a positive and engaging learning environment.

The Competent Learner Model (CLM) is a comprehensive and adaptable framework that fosters competence, adaptability, and independence in learners. By focusing on the development of seven critical repertoires and seamlessly integrating effective pedagogical methods, CLM empowers students to excel in all aspects of life. Its student-centric approach and flexibility make it an invaluable asset in diverse educational settings. 

A Conversation with Vicci Tucci, creator and developer of the Competent Learner Model (CLM)



Course Descriptions and Links

Course 1: Introduction to the Competent Learner Model (CLM) 

CLM is a supplemental curriculum based in Direct Instruction, Verbal Behavior and Applied Behavioral Analysis. It comes with two assessments and lesson plans for developing seven specific repertoires. This course is an introductory level course open to anyone who is interested in learning more about CLM. It will help participants develop an understanding of the seven CLM repertories and the specific components of CLM.