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Enhancing Inclusive Instruction - Protocol for Leaders

Mirko Chardin
Mirko Chardin
February 25, 2024

The Situation: Your school is on an ongoing journey towards inclusive practices. You and your peers have attended professional development sessions, read some books and materials, and maybe even taken a course or two to deepen your understanding. Now, it's time to apply what you've learned, evaluate your progress, and determine how well you and your team are implementing inclusive practices. Oh, and you need to get it done quickly, because you have a million other things to do.

The Solution: The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) lesson tuning protocol provides teachers with a quick yet effective process to incorporate the UDL principles into their lesson plans within a 30-minute timeframe. It encourages collaboration and immediate application of UDL concepts to enhance the inclusivity of instruction. With this protocol, leaders can quickly and effectively review lesson plans or instructional materials and teachers can ensure that their lessons are designed to meet the diverse needs of all learners.

By following the steps outlined below, teachers can  make adjustments based on the three UDL principles: Multiple Means of Representation, Multiple Means of Engagement, and Multiple Means of Expression. By focusing on these principles, teachers can provide various ways for students to access and understand the content, engage with the material in meaningful ways, and express their knowledge and understanding in a way that is essential for some and beneficial for all.

Quick UDL Lesson Tuning Protocol

Objective

To evaluate and make quick adjustments to a lesson plan using the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in 30 minutes or less.

Materials Needed

  • Lesson plan or instructional materials
  • Timer or clock

Procedure:

1. Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Welcome participant(s) and explain the purpose of the UDL Lesson Tuning Protocol.
  • Emphasize the importance of designing inclusive lessons that cater to diverse learners.

2. Preparatory Phase (5 minutes)

  • Review the lesson plan or instructional materials to be evaluated.
  • Identify the lesson's objectives, methods and materials, and assessments.

3. UDL Principles Overview (5 minutes)

4. Guided Evaluation (10 minutes)

  • Break participants into small groups, if possible.
  • Assign each group one of the three UDL principles (Representation, Engagement, Action and Expression).
  • Instruct groups to focus on their assigned principle and discuss how the lesson can be adjusted to align with that principle. Encourage brainstorming.
  • Emphasize the importance of considering diverse student needs.

Note: This collaborative approach not only fosters a sense of collective responsibility for inclusive instruction but also allows for the sharing of ideas and best practices.

5. Adjustments (5 minutes)

  • Reconvene as a whole group.
  • Each small group presents their suggested adjustments based on the UDL principle they focused on.
  • Discuss and record these adjustments on a shared document or whiteboard.

6. Prioritization (2 minutes)

  • As a group, prioritize the most impactful adjustments that can be made within the 30-minute timeframe.

7. Quick Refinement (3 minutes)

  • Provide a brief window for teachers to make immediate adjustments to their lesson plans or materials based on the prioritized suggestions.

Note: Once adjustments have been suggested and prioritized, teachers have the opportunity to make immediate refinements to their lesson plans or instructional materials. This quick refinement phase allows teachers to implement the prioritized adjustments, ensuring that they are ready to be applied in their upcoming lessons. By doing so, teachers can effectively integrate UDL principles into their instruction, removing the need to do more work later! 

8. Sharing and Closure (5 minutes)

  • Allow participants to briefly share how they plan to implement the UDL-based adjustments in their lessons.
  • Encourage participants to seek support and share their experiences.
  • Thank participants for their participation and commitment to UDL principles.

9. Follow-Up (0-5 minutes, as needed)

  • Depending on time availability, offer a brief follow-up session in the near future to discuss the implementation of UDL adjustments and share successes or challenges.

The Quick UDL Lesson Tuning Protocol (make a copy) is a tool that can be used again and again, as a quick and effective way to make continual strides on your journey towards inclusive learning environments. By integrating this protocol as a tool for ongoing reflection - teachers are empowered and motivated to to integrate the UDL principles into their lesson plans in a quick and effective manner. By encouraging collaboration and immediate application of UDL concepts, this protocol ensures educators don't feel robbed from their "me-time", while working towards the main goal - creating an environment where all learners have equal opportunities to succeed!

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