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Incorporating UDL Principles in Teaching and Learning: Principle II

Incorporating UDL Principles in Teaching and Learning: Principle II

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, you will learn how to incorporate the second UDL principle, providing multiple means of action and engagement, into your teaching.

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In this tutorial, we'll take a closer look at incorporating principle two of Universal Design for Learning. Recall that principle two asks teachers to provide multiple means of action and expression.

There are three guidelines that you can follow as you incorporate UDL principle two, provide options for physical action, provide options for expression and communication, and provide options for executive functions. We'll examine each of these guidelines in more detail. Let's get started.

Guideline number one for incorporating UDL principle two states that teachers should provide options for physical action. It is perhaps unrealistic to expect that learning should result from students sitting and listening passively for a lengthy amount of time. Instead, teachers must provide students with a variety of learning materials and allow students to move around the room and interact with one another.

We should also consider the use of assistive technology in this environment. Here are some specific ways that we can address guideline one. First, provide a variety of methods for both response and navigation. For example, vary your wait time, both for physical responses to questions and for interacting with classroom materials.

Also consider unique student needs and preferences, as you set requirements for timing, rate, range, and speed of various motion activities. Also offer access as appropriate to assistive technologies and tools, such as alternative keyboards or customized overlays for keyboards and screens, or perhaps instructing students in keyboard shortcuts that can be used in place of mouse actions or alternative scanning and switching options.

Guideline number two asks teachers to provide options for expression and communication. Students need to be allowed multiple methods for expressing their knowledge and for interacting with others. This helps students to easily and appropriately express their knowledge, ideas, and concepts in the learning environment on a leveled playing field.

Here are some specific tips for addressing guideline number two. Consider using multiple media for communication. Students may be allowed to communicate their ideas through not only text and speech but through design, movement, music, illustration, drawing, and so on.

They may demonstrate their understanding through the use of physical manipulatives, like 3D models or base 10 blocks. Or they may wish to use interactive web tools are social media in order to express themselves.

Encourage students to use tools that are available for them in construction and composition. Students should know how to use tools for checking spelling and grammar in word processing applications. They may find benefit from text-to-speech software or from sentence starters and concept mapping tools. Consider the appropriate use of both standard and graphing calculators.

Finally, incorporate scaffolded levels of support in order to build fluency through both practice and performance. Scaffolded supports can be gradually pulled back as students increase their skill levels and their independence.

Providing examples of problems and solutions in an authentic environment can help build students' confidence in their ability to solve similar problems. And incorporating differentiation, including models at each differentiated level, can help students to identify their current level of performance and inspire them to move up to the next level.

Finally, guideline three in the incorporation of UDL principle two states that teachers should provide options for executive functions. These are the functions that help students develop their capacity to bypass impulsive, short-term, and automatic reactions.

We want students to be able to set long-term learning goals, develop strategic plans for addressing their goals, and implement effective ways to monitor their own progress. These processes involve high level cognitive functions. And so we need to help students practice these executive functions, so that they don't have to focus on managing those lower level skills.

It's also important to note that these functions may be impaired if students have certain disabilities. By scaffolding the lower level impulsive skills, we can help reduce students' cognitive demands on those skills and, therefore, help to scaffold the higher level skills that we want students to develop.

Here are some specific tips for addressing guideline three. Teachers can help to guide the process of student goal-setting by providing guides and checklists that can help scaffold the goal-setting process, by talking about the end product, and by posting sample goals, objectives, and associated schedules in the classroom for students to see.

It's important to help as students work on planning and developing their strategies for meeting their goals. Familiarize students with expressions, such as show and explain your work or stop and think to help them slow down and evaluate their progress.

Students may find it helpful if they are given checklists or templates for project planning. And involving mentors or coaches, who can visibly and audibly model the process for students may be a worthwhile investment of time and resources as well.

Provide students with resources for managing information. Graphic organizers for the collection of data and for organizing information or checklists and guides that help students as they take notes can help students to develop these skills.

And finally, guide students as they monitor their own progress. Share questions that students can use for self-monitoring and reflection. Show samples of what progress tracking might look like. And help students to vocalize the types of feedback or help that they need.

In this tutorial, we examined UDL principle two, providing multiple means of action and expression. We learned about three guidelines for the implementation of principle two, providing options for physical action, providing options for expression and communication, and providing options for executive functions.

This is a great time for you to stop and reflect. Have you seen your students get bogged down with short-term and impulsive reactions? If so, can you see how helping them to develop their executive functions could have a positive impact on their learning? Do you have specific ideas for how you can provide your students with options for physical action and for expression and communication?

As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Incorporating UDL Principles in Teaching and Learning: Principle II"

(00:00 - 00:32) Introduction

(00:33 - 01:41) Guideline 1

(01:42 - 03:23) Guideline 2

(03:24 - 05:32) Guideline 3

(05:33 - 05:50) Review

(05:51 - 06:33) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

UDL and Personalized Learning

In this entry on her website, Barbara Bray includes an interview with Kathleen McClaskey, a leader in the field of UDL. Through the interview, McClaskey provides an overview of UDL principles and examples of how teachers would incorporate those principles in their instruction.

Maryland Learning Links: Universal Design for Learning

This page explains how to use UDL to support classroom behaviors and learning. Explore other posts and resources on this site to get practical advice on using UDL in your instruction.