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Curriculum Based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Differentiated Instruction

Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommended guidelines for curriculum based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and differentiated instruction.

Curriculum Based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Differentiated Instruction

The Committee recommends that all teachers should know and use the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). In other words, teachers’ colleges should train teachers on the three principles, which involve multiple means of:

Teachers should know how to apply these principles in their classrooms, to instruct and assess their students in a variety of ways.

Moreover, teachers’ colleges should also provide training in differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction means teaching course content in different ways, to reach students with various strengths and needs. For instance, teachers can impart course content using a mixture of:

  • Lectures
  • Videos
  • Readings

Similarly, teachers can assess students in many ways, including:

  • Tests with different question types
  • Individual and group assignments
  • Written essays or oral presentations

Therefore, teachers should receive training on how to use differentiated instruction when creating tests, such as:

  • Diagnostic assessments, to find out students’ prior knowledge
  • Formative assessments, in the middle of a unit or course
  • Summative assessments, at the end of a unit or course

Furthermore, the Ministry of Education, school boards, and schools should also ensure that teachers are using these principles as they plan and teach lessons. Therefore, current teachers should also receive professional development training on both UDL and differentiated instruction. For example, teachers should know how to procure learning resources that the widest variety of students can access.

Finally, educational leaders at all levels should support the implementation of UDL and differentiated instruction approaches within their schools or school boards. Processes to assess and monitor these approaches will help teachers use instructional strategies that benefit more of their students.