I recently found out that a local middle school will be doing away with all of their self contained classes except their class for students with autism. All of the students will have inclusion services but this person wasn’t sure how that was going to work. When I heard this, I really hoped that the teachers were given a lot of training on inclusion and collaboration. Then I thought about some suggestions that I would make. Here are some notes that I made from the CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) website that I would share with them.
1. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing curricula that enable all individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning.
2. The framework of UDL consists of instructional approaches that provide students with choices and alternatives in the materials, content, tools, contexts, and supports they use. But in addition to challenging teachers to be more flexible, UDL provides guidelines for creating flexibility that is both systematic and effective. These guidelines are derived from research on the learning brain and knowledge of the qualities of digital media.
3. Multiple Means of Representation: The content is represented in multiple ways including text, audio clips and video.
4. Multiple Means of Action and Expression: Online activities, discussion questions and lesson plan assignments allow students to express their understanding in different ways.
5. Multiple Means of Engagement: Text, audio, video, activities, additional resources, information, links to more information and to other web sites allow students multiple ways to engage with the content.
6. Traditional classroom materials and media, like books and speech, come in one size for all, but they do not fit everyone. Inflexible media actually create barriers to learning.
7. New classroom media, like digital text, sound, images, and the World Wide Web, can be adjusted for different individuals and can open doors to learning.
8. Students with various kinds of disabilities are likely to be the earliest and most obvious beneficiaries. Media such as talking books, descriptive videos, and American Sign Language (ASL) tracks vastly increase both access and learning opportunities. Using digital tools actually changes those students' capacities and makes them far more capable. An extreme example is a student with severe physical and language disabilities who, independently, might be able to communicate only by indicating yes and no. With a computer and the right software tools, this student can be on an equal footing with others.
9. Use the UDL checklist to plan.
10. A lesson does not need to address each UDL bullet on the checklist. If several guidelines under each principle are met, lessons will support many more students than a traditional lesson.
1. Understanding that both teachers are equal. This is very important.
2. Planning sessions between teachers on a weekly basis to plan, discuss, evaluate lessons.
3. Look at the UDL example to see how UDL can be applied.
4. Ongoing training at least once a month.
I hope their program goes well because students can benefit from this if it is done effectively.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).