I just had to share my thoughts on this…
The following two quotes from the article, “UDL: National Universal Design for Learning Task Force,” rang true for me as a special educator. Time and again my co-teachers and I have planned together and piece together lessons that will benefit all students, not just those with disabilities. One of my administrators mentioned that while this is a great thing to try and accomplish, it is important to keep special educators necessary in the classroom. I suppose what she meant was that if my co-teachers and I planned too effectively, I would inevitably be null and void in the classroom. While I see her point, I also don’t agree with it. What this article said to me was that if we do this on a regular basis – create activities that are of high interest and motivate that natural desire in students to learn then we’ve almost recaptured the essence of childhood innocence. Here’s what I mean by that. So along the way, due to what we consider now as our old method(s) of teaching, we have severely stomped on the natural curiosity of wondering in our students, and wondering is something I strongly believe leads to learning. I know this might be getting extremely philosophical, but there is the element of awe in education that is chronically stifled due to the rigid regime that educators have to follow. It’s really nice to read an article that is very in tune to my views of universal teaching.
“Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing educational environments that enable all learners to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. This is accomplished by simultaneously reducing barriers to the curriculum and providing rich supports for learning.”
“Students differ from one another in many ways and present unique learning needs in the classroom setting, yet high standards are important for all students.”