Unit 3:  Know-How of Learner Agency (What Tools, Models, and Methods I Utilize when Engaged with Learning)

  When we begin to consider the “Know-Hows” of Learner Agency, we are starting to think about how our body, brains and actions respond in situations as they arise.  Are we able to consider other people’s perspectives as we communicate strategies? In terms of adaptability, what types of situations do we ask of from our learners everyday and are we aware of their points of inability to flex as needed?  

Dr. Dan Siegel says in this interview, “ You don’t have to be a neurosurgeon to help create an integrated, structurally strong brain in the child. You have to have a relationship that inspires them to rewire their brain toward integration. You stimulate neuronal activation, that’s where attention goes. You’re helping focus attention, neural firing flows, and here’s the secret to the next part of that little ditty: Where attention goes, neural firing flows and neural connections grows... And what that means is that, and it’s absolutely fabulous about neuroplasticity, is that energy and information flow is what’s directed by attention, so our relationship, which is where we share that flow, can actually shape the child’s brain, stimulate neuronal activation in those circuits that are activated, turn on genes, create proteins and actually strengthen their physical and anatomical connections to each other!”  -Dr Daniel Siegel

   This portion of the class will focus on how we will create an environment of to promote ownership, accountability, develop problem solving strategies and adapt

Unit Outcomes:


  • Define our understandings of learner “know-how”

  • Identify tips and strategies for developing accountability, problem-solving and ownership for learning

  • Experience and reflect on several examples of developing know-hows for students.

Read, View and Review:

  • Read the first two stories (“A Tale of Two Children”)  in Chapter 4 of Teaching Kids to Thrive.  Do these stories remind you of anyone in your life? Continue reading this chapter.   

  • Read "5 Things I have Learned" article.  

  • Review ideas for developing self-directed learning in your environment.

  • Read Tips for teaching problem solving strategies.  

  • Watch this video on directing Self-Learning strategies.


  • Test out how Dr Dan Siegel’s “Yes Brain” feels for yourself.  In this interview with Jason and Cecila Hilkey of Happily Family, Dr Siegel offers an experience into how it feels when our brains hear “No!” and “Yes.”  The actual activity begins at about 4 minutes in and ends around 6:35.  What were your initial responses to his tone and hearing No?  How did your body respond?  How about when he said Yes?  What did you notice inside of yourself?  

  • Use the SSDL model on slide 8, taken from this slide show presentation, and identify where you feel you are at right now.  

  • Practice using Talk-Moves for supporting learners.  


  1. Consider the activities you did in this section.  Share with your instructor in a 2-3 paragraph, as a personal story, on any of the “ah-ha” moments that you had with the opportunity to experience these ideas. What happened inside of you during the “Yes Brain” experience?  Did you practice the Talk-moves and have story to share?  Do one of the activities and share with your instructor.  Please label the assignment with Unit 3: Assignment 1 and include your name.  

  2. Using your understanding of Know-How 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. Remember these activities should focus on problem-solving strategies, decision-making, ownership, accountability and/or adaptability.