Teachers perceptions of UD for Learning

A collage of words relating to universal design for learningTeachers who have embraced UDL are great advocates for the process of designing learning programs that include struggling learners. However, not all teachers are amenable to the ideas – resistance to change being a major factor.

Mary E. Jordan Anstead from Walden University investigated the issues and presents them in her doctoral dissertation Teachers Perceptions of Barriers to Universal Design for Learning.

On page 64 she writes, “Research has shown that students at-risk benefit socially, emotionally, and academically from implementation of UDL. Yet, successful implementation and application of UDL are rooted in teachers’ perceptions. Educational reform that promotes the use of Universal Design for Learning on behalf of equitable instruction for all students requires a positive perception of the UDL model. Teachers need to see evidence of student success rather than being forced to implement the instructional model of the year. Real systemic change calls for work designs that permit teachers to learn, plan, and implement UDL strategies through means such as shared planning schedules to allow department or grade level collaboration, Professional Learning Communities (Hirsh, 2012), administrative modeling, peer modeling, and formal professional development.”  She adds that perceptions are unlikely to change by mandating instructional changes and consequently other methods need to be found.