As BC inclusive educator Shelley Moore says, “No plan, no point!” UDL uses a simple approach to curriculum planning that includes Students, Goals and Guidelines. UDL planning always starts with the students and assumes that learner variability is the rule rather than the exception. Student profiles and class reviews are tools that help educators learn about the abilities and needs of their students. Planning pro-actively for diverse needs removes potential curriculum barriers.
Basing lessons on goals rather than one-size-fits-all materials or activities opens the door for students to show their learning in a variety of ways. The UDL guidelines, based on Multiple Means of Engagement, Representation, and Expression, provide checkpoints during planning and teaching to ensure that lessons will be accessible to the widest possible variety of students. As you explore the strategies below, you will learn from BC educators who have successfully implemented these approaches.
Diversity should be celebrated in the classroom. Help students appreciate themselves and each other to build a respectful learning community.
UDL planning always starts with the students. In order to accommodate the diverse needs of your students, you’ll need to understand them as learners. Students also need to understand their own learning preferences and needs.
Understanding the classroom as a unit helps school based teachers to identify the class’ areas of strength and need and provide support as needed.
Goal-based planning is essential to the UDL approach. Learn how to separate goals from methods in order to provide more entry points for diverse learners.
Assessment in the UDL classroom in as flexible and responsive as the options students can choose from but is solidly grounded in the essential learning outcomes.
Rubrics communicate clearly and succinctly to students what is expected of them. Well designed rubrics will extend and challenge students to achieve beyond what is just expected.
The multiple means of engagement principle is about much more than creating a fun and motivating classroom environment. Providing authentic learning tasks and helping students develop the self-regulation skills to focus and stay on task will greatly enhance learning.
The multiple means of representation principle suggests that we provide multiple access points to learning. We can make learning accessible for a greater number of students by presenting curricular materials and concepts in a variety of ways with a variety of supports.
The multiple means of expression principle encourages us to allow students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. When they are given choice, students who struggle with traditional means of expression are able to truly demonstrate their learning.