Unit 2: Foundation and Mindset of Learner Agency (Who I am as a Learner)

 A “learner-centered” focus is at the core of customized learning. Such a focus reflects the fundamental belief that learners are better equipped and prepared for a lifetime of learning if decisions regarding teaching and learning are based on data and considerations about the individual learner—rather than the tradition and administrative convenience of the assembly line school.

The overview of learner agency which appears on the first page of this document is accompanied by a profile for each of the three major characteristics. The intent of the profile is to offer educators and learners a tool for building a shared understanding about the importance and value of learner agency. Also, the profile serves as a lens to facilitate conversations with individual learners about their status and progress with specific characteristics.

Unit Outcomes:

  • Understand how the term Learner Agency came to be by the creators.

  • Investigate The Theory of  Learner Agency document and how it relates to other context.

  • Develop your own experiences and reflections with how mindset impacts learning.

Read, View and Review:

  • Choose three of these articles to review and consider.  

    1. Read this article on Mindset and Student Agency

    2. Edutopia article on building resilience in our learners.

    3. Examining Learner Agency in your setting.

    4. An article on cultivating Agency for our ELL learners.

    5. Why Mindset Matters.

  • Book reading of Chapter 5 on Resiliency in Teaching Kids to Thrive.

  • Continue reading through the Customizedu.net website on Learner Agency.

  • Watch this video on neuroplasticity (14 minute video). What kind of practices do you think would lead to more learning?  Do you have any ideas for how to set up an environment that supports the growth of learning?  

  • Review this short story called The Boy Who Drew the Red Flower


  • Challenge yourself to this 20-minute writing exercise on your own personal self-limiting storied.  You’ll have a chance to write them down and reflect.  (The guided practice is about ½ way down the page.)  Or, you may find this exercise a better fit for you.  Choose one activity on your own statements and how they may be impacting you right now. 

  • Consider the “Marshmallow Challenge” in terms of building your capacity to delay gratification.  How would this experience help us in terms of Learner Agency and why?  

  • Your Brain Can Grow activity that focuses on teaching others about brain development and opportunity for constant growth.  Decide on one SMALL action you could take, every single day, over the course of the next three weeks to practice that brain plasticity.

  • Navigate to the resources found at www.customizedu.net by clicking on curriculum redesign and finding the link of the left column under Learner Agency Resources.  You will find a chart with several links to pages of curriculum attached to each section of the assessment you took earlier.  Click around on the Mindset area to research several ideas to add to your 10-day curriculum. 


  1. Reflect on your activity of reviewing the Mindset Profile (blue area) on who you are as a learner.  In 2-3 paragraphs, share with your instructor any “ah-ha” moments as you considered yourself on that rubric.  Share a personal struggle or success story as it relates to how you are finding yourself on this rubric and any examples from the activities you completed. Remember to label the work with your name and Unit 2, Assignment 1.   ------OR-----

  2. Share your experiences from the activities above.  Did you do any of them with students?  How did it go for you?  Share your story with your facilitator in 2-3 paragraphs.  Remember to label the work with your name and Unit 2, Assignment 1.

  3. Using your understanding of mindset in Learner Agency and the need for fostering the environment for our learners to embrace this everyday, choose 3 activities from the things you have read or find new ones to add to your 10 day curriculum that you plan on implementing in your learning environment.  Don't forget to share the document with your facilitator.  The focus for these activities should circle around who I am as a learner and indentifying/ackowledging their own mindset.