Principle III

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Provide Multiple Means of Engagement

Students differ markedly in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. Some students are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while other are disengaged, even frightened, by those aspects, preferring strict routine. In reality, there is no one means of engagement that will be optimal for all students; providing multiple options for engagement is essential.

Guideline 7: Provide options for recruiting interest

Guideline 8: Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence

Guideline 9: Provide options for self-regulation

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6 Responses to Principle III

  1. Rebecca Zemlicka says:

    Shannon, I appreciated that you focused your response on how UDL can be applied without a lot of technology. Sometimes I feel that is our first, ”go to option” for students. Often complicated devices can be hard for other students to use to interact with the student. In other cases they work very effectively. I know one of our classrooms has been using an alternate communication device this year, and I am interested in talking to the teaching team to see how they felt it worked for them, the student, and the other students. Each child is different.
    Another point I enjoyed, was how you mentioned that modifications may need to be made during the year. There is no one instructional strategy or room arrangement that works perfectly all of the time. UDL provides opportunities for teachers to consider strategies that can help many if not all the students in their class to engage, express, and represent their ideas and learning.

  2. Sarah Hargadine says:

    I agree that the UDL format is a natural fit for the ECSE classroom because it seeks to include all types of learners, and provides concrete strategies to making learning accessible. It has many simple strategies that I could easily apply each day to my own classroom. For instance, I loved the idea of signing a story while reading it. Not only does this include any children who are nonverbal or hard of hearing, it is an also an interesting way to both watch and listen to a story. I could see teaching the children some of the signs and having them join in. This could also help to build vocabulary for all children, including children from culturally diverse backgrounds.

    • Rebecca Zemlicka says:

      Sarah, I really like how you thought about the needs of diverse learners in your post. I teach in a bilingual class and I feel that puppets or simple story props are really effective in helping second language learners. Plus, these materials help keep the interest of many of the students with learning disabilities. This includes students who have concentration issues or physical response needs. So by originally applying this concept for only second language learners I have found it helping every student in my class. For the “Three Little Pigs,” I used pink pom poms for the pigs and a brown one for the wolf, and all the students got the point. Plus it encourages them to think about abstract representation.

  3. Shannon Wald says:

    I like the idea of UDL because it is a positive effort toward taking into account the diversity of learners in classrooms at all levels, and the need to meet them where they are in order to create an authentic, valuable learning experience that will develop lifelong learners, not just individuals who can successfully accumulate knowledge or regurgitate information. This is in contrast to traditional education, so I am pleased there is recognition of the importance of an approach that makes much more sense intuitively. If the goal of learning is to apply knowledge gained in some meaningful way, students must first truly comprehend what is being taught and see personal value in it in order to do so. Since UDL is more focused on the real interests and learning styles of students, it is possible to see how this may motivate them to take responsibility for their own learning now and in the future.

    I believe UDL can easily be applied to an early childhood curriculum, in particular in a low tech manner, which would usually be the case in an EC/ECSE classroom environment. As we’ve learned, technology does not in itself imply that UDL is being applied successfully, while low tech ways of creating a UDL environment may be very effective. Things such as engaging choice centers that focus on student interests, colorful and vivid visuals, books and materials that are multicultural or multilinguistic in nature, movement and tactile experiences/activities to engage learners, etc., are easily implemented in early childhood classrooms. Assistive technology and computers with age appropriate software and touch screens or mice, etc., may also be used to address varied learner needs.

    The most obvious challenge with UDL that I see may be the need to design the environment before the children are introduced into it. This takes such careful pre-planning and organization to be done correctly, in particular to meet all three basic principles (representation, expression, and engagement) effectively. I imagine there might be some need to remain flexible and continue to make adaptations after the plan is in place, though since that is contradictory to the basic idea of UDL, I’m unclear how that issue should be resolved.

    • Rebecca Zemlicka says:

      Shannon, I appreciated that you focused your response on how UDL can be applied without a lot of technology. Sometimes I feel that is our first, ”go to option” for students. Often complicated devices can be hard for other students to use to interact with the student. In other cases they work very effectively. I know one of our classrooms has been using an alternate communication device this year, and I am interested in talking to the teaching team to see how they felt it worked for them, the student, and the other students. Each child is different.
      Another point I enjoyed, was how you mentioned that modifications may need to be made during the year. There is no one instructional strategy or room arrangement that works perfectly all of the time. UDL provides opportunities for teachers to consider strategies that can help many if not all the students in their class to engage, express, and represent their ideas and learning.

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