Part 2: UDL and You
The original title of our book was UDL and You. There was a dual purpose in the title.
To us UDL is first and foremost an invaluable tool to create an inclusive classroom where all students feel empowered to learn and grow.
However, UDL it isn't just about your students. It is also about you - your personal and professional journey - to better you understand yourself as a learner and as an educator.
UDL both supports and challenges us. When we view UDL as something to apply to ourselves as learners we not only gain insight into how we learn, but also how our learning preference and needs impact how we teach. We can challenge ourselves professionally by asking ourselves:
Did we (do we) play the game of school?
Do we strive to be expert learners?
Do we recognize and understand (and share with our students) our jagged profile?
Recognizing and embracing UDL as a tool for personal growth and professional change (rather than only something we "do" to or for our students) brings us meaningfully into the the journey of learning, together.
Teaching is a journey and we should be constantly learning and growing. Obviously reflection is a key part of that journey, but so is teaching about our teaching. Forcing ourselves to explain our decisions and actions to others (administrators, peers, students, and other constituencies) can often shed light on ugly problems in our practice. This can be uncomfortable and even distressing, but it can also help us see these challenges in new ways and offers others’ the opportunity to help us solve these problems. This process can help us learn things about our practice and improve it. It probably won’t be easy and it won’t be pretty, but the benefits can be immeasurable.
You know those dreaded before and after pictures? Usually taken in a bathing suit? While uncomfortable they represent your starting point: a reference to measure your success as you work to get healthy and fit. They help you set goals based on where you are now, and they help you remember just how far you've come.
No worries, this section doesn't require before and after photos, but it does need you strip down and explore some of you assumptions and beliefs about learning, teaching and the current education system. You'll also have an opportunity to explore UDL's underlying assumptions and beliefs, and then in Chapter 6, see how UDL's assumptions and beliefs are put into action.
Chapter 4: Your Assumptions and Beliefs
Chapter 5: UDL Assumptions and Beliefs
Chapter 6: The UDL Guidelines: Translating Theory to Practice