What is Universal Design for Learning?
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) comes from the world of architecture whereby architects discovered that if they designed buildings and environments for those who needed adaptations, not only did they benefit, but so did those who may not necessarily need the adaptations. For example, by putting cut outs into sidewalks, people in wheelchairs had more accessibility but so did mothers who were pushing baby strollers. Educators began to look at this approach to meet the needs of every student in the classroom. It is helpful for all students, including those with learning, attentional, and behavioural needs.
In Lord Selkirk School Division, through UDL we attempt to build compassionate learning communities by respecting the diversity of each student. The goal is to build a community where students feel safe and valued which gives them a sense of belonging and establishes an inclusive classroom climate.
Through inclusive instructional practices physical environments are designed so all students have access to all the learning experiences presented in the classroom. We use a variety of instructional methods to address different learning modalities. Teachers provide regular feedback and assess individual learning as required. Students benefit from the on-going feedback over time because it allows them to understand what is expected of them. This type of instruction promotes deeper learning and higher-level thinking which assists students in meeting their academic potential.
Finally, through a UDL teaching model, divisional systems and structures are implemented to support the fundamental belief that we will do everything we can to create inclusive learning environments.