Learner Agency – The Role of Learnership

As we explored in my last blog, the concept of Learner Agency is gaining more and more importance around the world. Fortunately, it’s not a new concept – it dates back to at least the 17th century. And teachers who have been following my work on Growth Mindset and Learning Agility find they are ahead of the Learner Agency curve, already adopting many strategies that develop agency in learners.

Defining Learner Agency

Drawing on research and definitions of Learner Agency used by organisations like the OECD, Harvard University’s Achievement Gap Initiative, the International Baccalaureate Organisation, and the Victorian and New Zealand departments of education, I offer the following definition of Learner Agency. This definition synthesises the key ideas to provide teachers with an understanding of what Learner Agency is and a clear direction for developing it in learners.

The result of having agency is that you can choose your path through life. You act on the...

Continue Reading...

What is Learner Agency?

Learner Agency is fast becoming the latest educational buzzword. It is appearing in educational policy documents around the world, and attending a conference without hearing mention of it is increasingly difficult.

But what is “Learner Agency”? Why should school leaders care? How do we support teachers to increase Learner Agency in students, and what tools can we use to guide and measure the impact of our work?

The idea of agency relates to a learner’s ability to navigate their way through life and positively impact their circumstances.

It’s about ensuring learners are the master, not the victim, of their circumstances; to be powerful, not powerless, in the face of adversity.

As such, agency helps teachers address one of our biggest educational goals: to prepare students for an uncertain and challenging future.

One of the most common interpretations relates to giving students “voice and choice” in their learning. The idea is that teachers...

Continue Reading...

Learner Agency and Growth Mindset

Learner Agency is quickly becoming the latest educational buzz word. If you haven’t heard much about it yet, you soon will! It is appearing in educational policy documents around the world, so expect to hear it mentioned at the next conference you go to.

 At this point, you may be thinking, “Oh no! Not another new thing!”

But don’t worry. Like most important ideas in education, you’ll probably find you’ve (kind of) been doing it already. And if you’ve been following my work on Growth Mindset and Learning Agility, you’re definitely ahead of the curve when it comes to Learner Agency.



Learner Agency relates to a student’s ability to navigate their way through life and positively impact their circumstances.

It’s about ensuring they are the master, not the victim, of their circumstances, and it is about students being powerful, not powerless, in the face of adversity.







In many ways, Learner Agency is at the heart of what...

Continue Reading...