Saturday, 29 October 2011

Finding the Cornerstone

Making the shift from teaching curriculum to teaching students is nothing less than profound.

We are fortunate today in education to have access to a wide range of excellent professional development around Instructional Design to help us make this leap. Without exception, they all rely on a crucial initial step - establishing student profiles in relation to academic ability and personal interests. In other words, knowing your students.

Without this cornerstone element, an educator's instructional plan is at best a sequential unveiling of information aimed at the illusory average student and at worst, a misuse of time and space for the educator and students alike.

Assessing the status of individual students in terms of literacy and numeracy while learning about and valuing their strengths and interests, allows an educator to map out a group profile and then design a very effective learning plan.

At this intersection of assessment and instructional design is a particularly effective framework or filter called Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Similar to the architectural principle of Universal Design, UDL is based on the premise that planning with our learning-challenged students in mind leads to exemplary instruction for all students.

In this series of blogs, I look forward to elaborating on the fundamental elements of UDL as outlined by Dr. David Rose. You will also see related videos and links on my blog page.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome.

Stephen Petrucci
Director of Instruction
School District 60