UDL: An Indigenous perspective

Placed in a rural setting a wooden barn type building displays the cultural icons and two totem poles of the Alaskan Natives. UDL an Indigenous perspective.The education system in Alaska is an interesting place to research the potential for applying universal design for learning (UDL) in a culturally diverse and indigenous context. Indeed, UDL and indigenous approaches to education have much in common. An article by Krista James explores examples of implementation of the Alaska Cultural Standards for Educators within a UDL Indigenous perspective.

Similarly to Australia, Alaska’s indigenous population has experienced loss of culture and forced assimilation with Western educational systems taking over the education of their children. James concludes that the Standards and the UDL framework are easy to connect. That’s because many of the Standards are already ingrained in the core principles of UDL. You don’t have to be an educator to appreciate this article.

The title of the article is: “Universal Design for Learning as a Structure for Culturally Responsive Practice”, in the Northwest Journal of Teacher Education. 2018. There is a link to a 30 minute video at the end of the article.

From the abstract

Alaska is rich with cultural and ethnic diversity. In fact, it is one of the three most diverse parts of the country. Culturally relevant practice is both needed and required in Alaskan schools. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that may assist educators in this endeavor.

The Alaska Cultural Standards for Educators tell us what best practice looks like for our diverse student population, especially our Alaska Native students. This article explores examples of implementation of the Standards within a UDL framework.

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