As professionals in exceptional education, we are trained and passionate about the necessity to individualize curriculum for each child according to the student’s IEP goals and objectives! We know the purpose of the IEP is to provide teachers with guidance so each student receives the specific instruction and skills he or she needs. After all, we decided to become teachers in exceptional education because we believed in the abilities of EVERY child. We believed in developing, encouraging, and growing the skills of EACH child. We acknowledge that EVERY child has ABILITIES along with possible disabilities.
How can you individualize instruction for each student in your overcrowded classroom? Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a model for planning and delivering instructional content so that EACH child receives instruction according to his or her needs. The best part? “Universal Design for Learning is a research-based set of principles that together form a practical framework for using technology to maximize learning opportunities for every student” (Rose & Meyer, 2002, p. vi).
UDL has its foundations in research on learning and the brain. To learn best, instruction must activate three neural networks:
Recognition Network = information acquired through the sensory organs: see, hear, smell, taste, touch.
Strategic Network = the planning, executing, and monitoring of our internal motor and mental drives.
Affective Network = our personal and emotional background, as this affects perception.
UDL’s instructional framework is based upon three principles:
“Principle 1: To support recognition learning, provide multiple, flexible methods of presentation.
Principle 2: To support strategic learning, provide multiple, flexible methods of expression and apprenticeship.
Principle 3: To support affective learning, provide multiple, flexible options for engagement.” (Rose & Meyer, 2002, p.75).
If you are interested in FREE resources on UDL, go to www.cast.org for LESSON PLAN OUTLINES, SAMPLE LESSONS, CHECKLISTS, INTERNET LINKS, & A LESSON-BUILDING TOOL!
Download a book ‘FREE’ (also my reference).
Rose, D.H. & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning. Alexandria, VA: CAST.
Have a great weekend!
Kimberly Pawling, Ph.D. student in Exceptional Education, University of Central Florida