The UDL Guidelines at heart are meant to redress a very significant problem
in American education, which is that we've had a very
fixed and narrow curriculum designed for some students but not all students,
and we then have labeled or described the students for whom it doesn't work
as having disabilities or having weaknesses,
or struggling learners, or something.
We now think of curricula and schools and learning environments
as having their own disabilities, and the point
of the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines is to redress,
to try to reduce those disabilities, and by doing so,
fewer kids will be called disabled and more students will be successful.
How 'bout this one, is there any fat?
No, and how 'bout that one?
Okay, so let's go on to another one.
I use the UDL framework when I design my lessons
to give me a guideline so I can be clear of what my barriers are.
When I'm looking at a lesson or I'm looking at the materials
I'm using for planning a lesson I try and identify what's going to be
a barrier for certain students.
I have a lot of different students, and there's a great diversity of learners
in my room, so I have to be very careful about how I plan out my lessons.
I have to plan and design how I'm going to help them go over those barriers.
Today's methods are hands-on, interactive, engaging, so hopefully,
by doing that and having them actually doing something,
instead of reading about sugar molecules,
we're going to demonstrate it in a different way.
I think supporting UDL in any school is gonna take a little courage
that one needs to team with your teachers in a way that you're able
to trust the teachers who are open to making sure that they're able
to accomplish their goals, and be very, very creative
in a constant and ongoing way as to how we reach every student.
Administrators need to validate the hard work that goes into that.
I think they need to cheerlead, and some time,
I think they need to also, uh, make sure that the work we're doing is accountable,
make sure the assessments are there, and that UDL is good for everyone.
UDL is not for specific types of students, so that each of us,
every single one of us, is able to get what we need
and make sure that we feel that thrill of knowing
that we've accomplished something, and that learning is exciting.
In the end, what I find is that the students are on the same page,
and it's really rewarding to me to have students who are non-readers
participating in a conversation with my top-level students,
and have that interaction going on in class,
and that's when I know I've done something right,
when everybody can communicate with each other and participate in a class.
That's when we've got it right, and that makes putting that
extra time in worthwhile.