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Chapter 10: Ownership of Learning

Supporting the Hidden Curriculum

The goal of UDL - learner expertise - can only truly happen when learners understand themselves both as learners and as human beings. A teacher directed classroom may run smoothly and efficiently, but if students are to become...

  • Purposeful

  • Motivated

  • Resourceful

  • Knowledgeable

  • Strategic

  • Goal Directed











...then they need to claim ownership. Right now, your students may not know they are the owners and drivers of their learning. As with all things, the development of these skills and mindsets happens over time, and are different for every learner. Gradually releasing responsibility for learning to students , and carefully guiding the process by making the thought process visible and giving stu

Unless and until we address the hidden curriculum, that is, help students develop metacognition, build skills of self-regulation, and better understand, utilize, and improve their executive functions, they will struggle to become expert learners and remain dependent on others for structure, direction, and validation. The antithesis of learner expertise.

Image: Four dogs. On the right - Terrier searching represents purposeful and motivated, Retriever with newpaper in mouth represents resourceful and knowledgeable, Lab swimming after a tennis ball represents strategic and goal directed. On the left is a mixed dog balancing a doggy treat on its nose, patiently waiting, represents the expert learner.
Iceberg above and below the waterline. Top is academic curriculum. Bigger bottom is the Hidden curriculum consisting of executive functions and metacognition.

Pause and Reflect

We've compiled the pause and reflect questions from the book into a Google Doc. 


Feel free to make a copy and work inside the document, or record your thoughts using another form of media. 

Chapter 10 - Pause and Reflect


To begin, we wanted to collect data to see what students ages 6–11 years knew about what an expert learner was. Students were allowed to write out, video or draw a picture with a description of their answer.

  • Over 50% of the students replied that an expert learner was compliant, i.e. listened to the teacher, followed all the rules, raised his/her hand in class

  • Over 20% of the students replied that an expert learner was smart and made good grades...

The Expert Learner Project

Ownership of Learning
Educator: [Your Name]

We want to feature you in this space! 

We hope you will share your learning with us. This might be your reflections, aha moments, or examples of “before and after” physical classroom changes. How and what you share is up to you.


Go to Next Steps to learn how you can quickly share with us. We know teachers rarely "toot their own horn" so let us do that for you! You'll inspire other teachers just like you and move UDL beyond your classroom.

Join the coversation on Twitter.

Poll your students, "What is an expert learner?"

A) You listen to the teacher, follow all the rules, etc.
B) You have the skills and the desire to learn
C) You are Smart, get good grades​​
D) A & C

Anything but b and you and your students have some work to do. #DiveIntoUDL

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