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Incorporating UDL Principles in Teaching and Learning: Principle I

Incorporating UDL Principles in Teaching and Learning: Principle I

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, you will learn how to incorporate the first UDL principle, providing multiple means of representation, into your teaching.

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In this tutorial, we'll take a closer look at Universal Design for Learning, principle I. Recall that principle I states that teachers should provide multiple means of representation. We'll examine three guidelines for incorporating UDL principle I in your classroom instruction.

These guidelines include providing options for perception, providing options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols, and providing options for comprehension. Let's get started.

Guideline one asks us to provide options for perception. We need to ensure that all students have equal access to learning in our classrooms.

Teachers are responsible for using a variety of instructional techniques in order to provide content, procedures, and concepts to students using methods that are appropriate for students' varied learning styles and individual needs. UDL helps us to design flexible instructional presentation that allows for customization and adjustability by the students.

Here are some specific suggestions for addressing guideline one. If possible, offer ways for students to customize the display of information. For example, provide visual resources that allow students to change the size of a font or the speed of a video or audio presentation.

Offer students alternative ways to access auditory content, such as visual diagrams or charts, transcripts for video and audio clips, or speech to text software. Also provide options for the presentation of visual information, such as written or spoken descriptions for graphics, video, images, or animations that are part of the course content.

Guideline number two for implementing principle I of UDL asks teachers to provide options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols. Some students may have difficulty processing information that is presented visually. This may be due to issues with understanding language structure, the use of expressions within a given language, or the use of symbols.

Here are some specific tips for addressing guideline number two. First, teachers can help by clarifying the vocabulary, symbols, syntax, and structure of the language being used. For example, we can pre-teach symbols and vocabulary, provide alternate descriptions for graphic symbols, highlight structural relationships in sentence structure and syntax, and help students build connections to previously learned sentence structures.

We can provide students with assistance in decoding text, including mathematical notation and symbols. Text to speech software might be helpful here, along with automatic voicing that's used with digital mathematical notation.

Teachers can incorporate multiple languages in order to help promote understanding. Check whether your textbooks offer resources in other languages. This may help students who have limited English proficiency.

When possible, provide definitions for vocabulary terms in both English and the students' dominant language. Or perhaps provide access to electronic devices that translate or otherwise help provide access to English for these students.

And finally, illustrate concepts using multiple media or representations. For example, in my math class, I may write an equation on the board, then explain it in words, and also reference the graph of the equation.

The third and final guideline for the implementation of principle I in UDL asks us to provide options for comprehension. Instruction ultimately aims to lead students to comprehension and understanding. Because students have a wide variety of learning styles and preferences and because not all students learn at the same rate, we need to be sure to take into account scaffolding and supports that are necessary in order to support learning by all learners.

Here are some specific ways that you can address guideline three. First, supply or reference background knowledge for students. Link new information to previous knowledge and students' personal experiences. Or pre-teach concepts through the use of demonstrations, models, and advance organizers.

As you present new material, be sure to point out the big ideas, the relationships among concepts, the critical features that students should be able to identify, and patterns that are present. Students may also find it helpful if you use examples and non examples as you're teaching new concepts.

Guide students' information processing through visualization and manipulation of new information, perhaps by providing prompts as necessary as students work through a step-by-step process, by chunking information into more manageable pieces, by progressively releasing bits of information as you feel students already, and by removing any unnecessary distractions, including extraneous information in the lesson.

Finally, encourage students to generalize and to transfer knowledge. This can be done through the use of organizers, reminders, checklists, mnemonic strategies and devices, and scaffolding that helps students to build on prior knowledge and to embed new concepts in familiar contexts.

In this tutorial, we addressed principle I of Universal Design for Learning, provide multiple means of representation. We took a close look at three guidelines for the implementation of principle I, providing options for perception, providing options for language, mathematical expressions and symbols, and providing options for comprehension.

Within our discussion of each of these guidelines, you learned some helpful tips for implementing principle I of UDL as you plan your curriculum and instruction.

Now it's time for you to stop and reflect. Do you have access to technology that might help provide options for perception in your classroom? Can you find ways to implement options for language and comprehension as you plan your instruction?

For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The Additional Resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource. Thank you for joining me today. Have a great day.

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

(00:00 - 00:29) Introduction

(00:30 - 01:36) Guideline 1

(01:37 - 03:15) Guideline 2

(03:16 - 04:59) Guideline 3

(05:00 - 05:29) Review

(05:30 - 06:05) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

Universal Design for Learning: theory and practice

This site provides free access to the complete e-text offered by CAST. The text provides the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the theory behind UDL and the practical application in the classroom.

Universal Design for Learning – Representation

This entry on teacher Jason Carroll's blog provides a clear look at one of the UDL principles for learning, using multiple means of representation. Carroll breaks down the process into three easy steps: before, during and after instruction providing a quick how to for any classroom.