Universal Design for Learning

This is a link to the website of the National Center on Universal Design for Learning: http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/whatisudl/3principles

I feel it is important to include the UDL in my philosophy for teaching because not all students learn the same way. There are three principles in UDL the first of which is to provide students with multiple means of learning. This principle demonstrates that in the way students learn differently, as teachers we must provide multiple ways for students to get to a common goal in learning. It is essential to provide students with options. This is described by the National Center on UDL as the “what” of learning. I see this every day with my music students. I adjust my teaching method for each student I teach, depending on what that student needs from me that day.

The second principle is to provide students with multiple means of action and expression. The “how” of learning. In this principle, students may differ in the way that they express what they have learned. Some students may be comfortable with speaking, while others need to use actions and some may need to write what they learn. Students will have different ways of showing us as teachers what they have learned and it is important to provide them with options in demonstration of what they have learned. For example, in music it is customary to give playing tests. As a teacher I can give my students a choice whether they prefer to play alone, in a group, in a recording or in front of me. There are many ways to see how a student has learned and what they have learned as well as many ways to assess this.

Finally principle three states to provide multiple means of engagement. The “why” of learning. Students will always be interested in what learning something will give them and they often need to know “why” they are doing something. While some students may love composing and improvising on their instruments, others may simply want to play what is on the page. It is important to know as a teacher, when to be spontaneous and when to play safe with certain students, while at the same time engaging all students equally and providing a means to an end.

Video Lesson: Putting the Flute together, playing first notes and Cleaning the Flute

https://www.dropbox.com/s/du47m44qvdxnb2j/VIRB0007.MP4?dl=0

This is a link to a video I filmed to remind flute students how to put together a flute and play their first notes. It does not replace individual attention or music lessons but will really help when a teacher does not have the time to give individual attention. I think that a video such as this for every instrument would be incredibly helpful in starting a band in a school. In using this video it can help students who need a little extra help which coincides with MELS Teaching Competency 7:To adapt his or her teaching to the needs and characteristics of students with learning disabilities, social maladjustments or handicaps. It also uses media in the deliverance of lessons which is Competency 8: To integrate information and communication technologies (ICT) in the preparation and delivery of teaching/learning activities and for instructional management and professional development purposes. As well it integrates Competency 1: To act as a professional inheritor, critic and interpreter of knowledge when teaching students.

Manifesto

The Oxford Dictionary defines Inclusion as: “1. The action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure; 1.1 A person or thing that is included in the whole”[1]. In order to state my intentions of inclusion within my classroom setting I have created a manifesto to clearly mark the various points of inclusion that I believe to be important in every classroom in every school, why I believe they are important and how I will implement them into my classroom and teaching practice.

All students must be included and have the right to learn in a positive learning environment, no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, physical or mental abilities or disabilities. It is the responsibility of teachers to follow the guidelines of the MELS competencies and in this instance, MELS competency 7, “To adapt his or her teaching to the needs and characteristics of students with learning disabilities, social maladjustments or handicaps”.

Within my classroom and learning environment, I will ensure that all students feel that they are in a safe and respected environment that will promote learning on all levels and will make every effort to accommodate the various needs of all students. By providing opportunities for socialization within different peer groups, all students have an equal chance to make friends and learn from each other. I feel that it is important for students to socialize in order to gain appreciation and understand the differences of others, be able to learn from these differences and have mutual respect.

The learning environment is also a critical aspect of inclusion. All students must be able to participate in all aspects of learning, no matter their needs. Means of support for students with special needs will be provided, whether it is in the form of an aid or an environmental adjustment. If there are adaptations to the environment based on students needs, they will be addressed and made accordingly.

When planning field trips, they will be planned with every student in mind so that every student is able to participate and gain experiences from the field trip.

My teaching style is flexible and will be adjusted to meet the needs of every student in my class. Whether students are auditory, sensory, kinaesthetic, or visual learners, all learning styles will be addressed throughout the school year so that all students will have the opportunity to discover their personal leaning style and benefit in learning to the fullest extent.

The support of parents and families is encouraged in my classroom environment and I value input from parents when addressing individual students needs. I believe that the core values of inclusion are take seed at home and I will work with parents in order to create the most inclusive environment possible.

In order for positive learning to take place, it is essential to provide an inclusive and safe environment. To build community, promote self esteem and provide learning opportunities, no matter a students background or abilities, my classroom will provide an inclusive environment in which all students will have the opportunity to be leaders and work together as a cohesive unit.

[1] Inclusion. 2014. In oxforddictionaries.com

Retrieved September 30, 2014, from       http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/inclusion