The following reflection will discuss my evolving knowledge and understanding about how the curriculum can be modified and adapted to provide effective learning experiences and teaching strategies that are inclusive of all students. I will also reflect on some of the advantages and difficulties that may arise as a result of implementing these teaching and learning strategies.
I believe that the first step to providing an education that is accessible to all is to acknowledge that all students’ are unique individuals. That their emotional, educational, social and physical needs are diverse and will require differentiated approaches. We also need to be aware of the many barriers that may affect learning. Curriculum is said to one of the main barriers to creating an inclusive learning environment. For example, if a teacher expects all students to demonstrate their knowledge of the plants lifecycle (standard 6.23 /Science) by presenting a written report, they are essentially creating missed opportunities and potential barriers for individual students. Students that encounter poor writing mechanisms are immediately disadvantaged and missed opportunities are created for those students who possess talents in drawing or oral communication. If a teacher was to be flexible with assessing students understanding it would begin to break down these barriers to learning. Therefore, I can see how teachers play a vital role in dismantling these barriers and delivering a curriculum and providing a learning environment that is accessible by all.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a concept used by teachers during the planning stages to help create an educational environment that is largely free from physical, cognitive, intellectual and organizational barriers to learning. According to Alkins and Elkins (2009),
I have found that there are many advantages to setting up your classroom according to the principles of Universal Design of Learning. I believe that a classroom environment that is designed with diversity in mind will enhance learning for all students and promote an inclusive community within the classroom. Furthermore, Pisha and Coyne (2001) report that when students are given full access to curricula through the thoughtful design and deliberate planning of learning experiences, it fosters students’ strategic learning and promotes deeper engagement. I believe that this learning design allows students to recognize and celebrate their strengths and promotes self efficacy. For example, if teachers are flexible about the way a student is able to demonstrate new skills and knowledge (orally, written, multimodal) a student is likely to...