Universal Design For Learning: Educator Self-Reflection
Start writing a post
Student Life

Universal Design For Learning: Educator Self-Reflection

One way Educators can be Expert Learners!

131
Universal Design For Learning: Educator Self-Reflection
Pexels

Barriers to self-reflection and shifting our thinking away from student deficit models is at best often a challenge. It is certainly a process with many variables. Staying true to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in our own learning, we are going to evaluate a couple of possible barriers associated with the "Affective Network" of the brain or the "Why" of learning when addressing student deficit models. As a result of better understanding self-reflection (a component of guideline nine of UDL) of our own beliefs, knowledge, and practice, we become more "purposeful and motivated" to change our learning environments to be more conducive to all learners.


As educators we have beliefs, knowledge, and practice about our roles and responsibilities. Our practice (what we "do") and the behaviors associated with them cannot be truly changed or addressed unless we attend to our beliefs and knowledge. Our "beliefs" or the "why" behind what we do must be attended to as well.

To know or address the "why" behind what we do is a process of self-reflection and can not only be uncomfortable, but very personal and emotional. It can also reveal something much more than just a need to change behavior or "practice".

The discipline of psychology informs us about two potential barriers and both are associated with blame! Neither produce valuable intentional change. We can blame ourselves or we can blame others in place of healthy self-reflection that drives purposeful and motivated change.


Let's start with blaming others! When we blame students, their parents, bureaucracy, yada yada yada we actually deflect any real need to change. We see everyone else as the problem and believe we do not need to change, respond, or attend to the real needs and variability presented by our students. We also can consume ourselves with things we have no control over anyway or can be apathetic and see ourselves as helpless agents without any real ability to "do anything about it". This dynamic feeds student deficit models and places students in learning environments that marginalize their "need to feel affirmed and included as valued members of a learning community" (Hammond p. 47). It allows our implicit biases to remain unchecked diminishing our cultural responsiveness. Additionally, when we blame students and see deficits rather than accurately evaluating variability and address barriers in the learning environment we perpetuate learned helplessness and dependent learners.

"Here is the problem. On his own, a dependent learner is not able to do complex, school-oriented learning tasks such as synthesizing and analyzing informational text without continuous support. Let's not misunderstand the point - dependent doesn't mean deficit. As children enter school, we expect that they are dependent learners. One of our key jobs in the early school years is to help student become independent learners" (Hammond p. 13).

UDL translation: When we utilize Universal Design for Learning, we consider and attend to the variability of our students by evaluating the learning environment for barriers to learning, provide scaffolding and support, while providing options for students to become expert learners!


Now for self blame! There is are two paths self blame can take. One leads to healthy productive change, the other does not. When blame is disproportionately turned on one's self devoid of healthy self-reflection it is akin to the same kind of results we get from student deficit thinking only it is turned on one's self. At a distance it can "appear" as some form of introspection that can potentially promote effective change. However, upon closer examination it reveals its own learned helplessness and provides no power or real strategies for effective positive change.

Self reflection that authentically internalizes and evaluates one's own biases, reflects upon their practice and invites constructive (and even outside or peer) feedback, values student voice, embraces variability, leverages diversity, and continually engages a growth mindset understands that looking at ourselves and self reflecting is a positive step toward the continual process of designing learning environments that best meets the needs of all learners. It doesn't cower at or become victim to challenge. Rather, healthy authentic self reflection embraces change and flexibility. Not only does it desire to be resourceful, knowledgeable, strategic, goal-directed, motivated, and purposeful, it pursues expert learning for both itself and its students!

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." -Confucius


Hammond, Zaretta. (2015) Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.



Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

Is Meaningful Casual Sex A Paradox?

Why noncommittal sex is more complicated than we'd like to think.

607

I lost my virginity to a graduate student from Los Angeles. We’d met at a rundown cafe whose Yelp page complained of an alleged rat infestation. His name was Ken and he was 25. What drew me to him was the peculiar way his mouth was perpetually fixed into a sideways, half-moon shape that was like a smirk but without any trace of smugness. But the two most striking parts of Ken by far were the dinner plate roundness of his face and his small, expressionless teddy bear eyes. Of the things that mattered to him, there was his best friend, a college dropout who sold computer parts in Toronto, and sex.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

A Conversation About Sex

"Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature." - Marilyn Monroe

4621
Thinking Beyond Barriers

There it is. Even though I'm not around you, I can feel it. Was there a flutter of embarrassment in your mind when you saw the word sex in this article’s title? Did you look over your shoulder to ensure nobody was around before you began to read this?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

13 Signs You Are A True Cancer Of The Zodiac

Calling all babies born June 21st - July 22nd!

4064
My Astral Life

I'm the first to admit that I am one of THOSE people who uses their zodiac sign as a description of themselves. I realize not everyone believes in astrology-related anything, and there are plenty of people who don't fit their signs. However, I'm one of the people who truly fits their sign to a tee. I'm a Cancer, a Crab, a Moon Child. It's currently our season fellow Crabs! So without further ado, here are all of the signs that you're a Cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Blessing of Lacking Sex Appeal

To all the fellow non "it" girls out there

4738
kozepsuli.hu

Lacking sex appeal is not a desirable thing. It makes you fee not ugly, but wrong. Not having charisma is not a life goal. It doesn't make you fee friendless, but isolated. Not being the "it" girl happens, and tonight (and every nigh prior to this)

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

Confessions From the Single Friend of the Group

It is truly the worst place to be

7238
Confessions From the Single Friend of the Group

Look. If you are anything like me, complaining about being single is such a hard thing to because you are genuinely happy for your friends, but as they continue to be happy in their relationships, the ever crushing weight of being the single friends can become overwhelming. For context, my primary friend group consists of four people. We are all roommates and it is a great time here. All three of my roommates have boyfriends/girlfriends, which makes our friend group of four quickly jump to seven, and it is wonderful! I love my roommates so much and I love their S.O's, but no matter how much I love them I always get extremely jealous and sad. The sad thing is that the only part that ever truly ends up bugging me is that since I am single, they are my go-to top priorities and it has been really hard to watch myself slip from the top of their go-to's to not being their go to when they feel the weight of the world. What makes it harder is that expressing that I feel alone and unwanted makes me sound jealous and like I don't want my friends to hangout with their people. I get it. I do. But there are just days I want to be someone's first pick and I'm not.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments