Cookie preferences

HundrED uses necessary cookies that are essential to use the service and to provide a better user experience. Read more about our cookies.
Accept cookies

Center for Inspired Teaching: ABCDE of Learner Needs

A reflection tool for understanding how your students’ – and your – needs play a role in learning.

Psychologist William Glasser defined five core human needs "which provide motivation for all that we do." Inspired and informed by Glasser's work and decades of research from child development experts and educators, Center for Inspired Teaching has framed these needs in the context of school. This tool helps to identify and address unmet needs in our students and ourselves so that we all thrive.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

Web presence






Target group
May 2024
We hope to see every teacher employ this tool to better understand their students and for whole school communities to develop a common language around meeting learner needs. With the newfound clarity it provides, ABCDE of Learner Needs enables schools to take a proactive approach to creating relevant, effective solutions rather than ruminating on problem areas.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Students cannot learn and grow to their full potential when their needs aren’t being met – something we saw clearly during the height of the pandemic. The ABCDE of Learner Needs provides an easy-to-implement framework for understanding gaps so that teachers have a clear view into areas where extra support can be provided in service of their teaching goals.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

The ABCDE of Learner Needs provides teachers with a simple, effective framework for understanding the foundational needs of their students and themselves, based on an adaption of the five core human needs as defined by psychologist William Glasser, and decades of research from educators and child development experts. Reflection tools for each need are available on the ABCDE of Learner Needs website as printable worksheets for use in the classroom or as a self-reflection exercise or within each of the ABCDE of Learner Needs digital guides, and are accessible tools as a first step in understanding where additional supports are needed.

How has it been spreading?

The ABCDE of Learner Needs was originally created to be used by teachers in the Inspired Teaching Institute – a year-long program for educators of all grade and experience levels. We then adapted it for use in a residency program for new teachers. During the pandemic, we began offering online training and created new online tools to make this more accessible to teachers around the globe who were experiencing new behavioral challenges both while online teaching and then when students returned to school with new social and emotional learning needs. We have also adapted the tool for specific use in an early childhood context and developed in-depth resource guides that combine the various forms of this tool we’ve been innovating in one location.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Designed to be straightforward and useful in an array of situations, teachers can use the ABCDE of Learner Needs as a classroom activity for students, as well as a self-reflection tool. It is also relevant for parents and any other individuals or organizations focused on education. It is accessible via the website, or institutions interested in in-depth curriculum can contact us directly.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

The tool's effectiveness in improving teacher perspective and enabling the creation of nurturing environments ultimately results in positive impacts on student well-being and academic success.

This resource finds strength in its simplicity - any teacher with access to internet and a printer could make use of this if they understand the concepts behind the tool. Has potential for wide application in creating understanding classrooms.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Visit the ABCDE of Learner Needs page
Visitors can navigate to the ABCDE of Learner Needs pages via the “For Teachers” menu item on the Inspired Teaching homepage. Once there, teachers can learn more about what each of the core needs means in the context of the classroom, understand how meeting these needs fits with the Inspired Teaching Approach, as well as access individual reflection sheets for each need (as well as F for “fun”).
Download the ABCDE of Learner Needs Guidebook/s
Inspired Teaching has developed two digital versions of the ABCDE of Learner Needs Guidebook: one for general educational use and one designed for application in an early childhood setting. Both include in-depth research, references, and resources for implementing the ABCDE of Learner Needs framework in your classroom and for sharing with parents and other adults with a vested interest in education. They are each available on the Inspired Teaching website and the ABCDE of Learner Needs page.
Reach out for customized curriculum
Inspired Teaching can also help teachers and school leaders build customized curricula with the ABCDE of Learner Needs as an anchor. We have a host of activities, strategies, and other resources that can be used in supporting identified needs – for students and/or for faculty – and can work with teachers to adapt our tools to the unique circumstances of their classrooms.

Spread of the innovation

loading map...