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What are the Three Principles of UDL?
The three brain networks match up very nicely with UDL's three principles. The recognition network is activated when students are allowed multiple means of representation. When students are given multiple means of expression, their strategic network is engaged. In order to activate the affective network, students need the multiple means of engagement.
Multiple Means of Representation
According to CAST, multiple mans of representation allows diverse learners the opportunity to acquire information and knowledge in a variety of ways. Teachers who follow UDL principles understand that there is no form of instruction that will meet the needs of all students in the classroom at any given time. Leaning disabilities, physical and sensory disabilities, cultural differences, learning preferences, learning styles, and language barriers are all reasons students learn in different ways.
First grade teacher Kirsten Howard provided her students with the opportunity to learn in a way that made sense to them. She provided a variety of reading materials at differing levels and styles which covered the science lesson on how seeds grow. Students were able to look over these materials and choose which they wanted to use for the lesson.
Multiple Means of Action and Expression
The second principle of UDL is multiple means of expression. Our students need to be able to perform learning tasks in ways that give them the best opportunity to learn. Those students with physical limitations, language barriers, organizational disabilities, and differing learning styles need differentiation in this area as well.
Teacher Kristen Howard did not stop differentiating her lessons with materials. She used her professional judgment to determine which students would work best alone and who needed to work in pairs. She scaffolded this lesson by making audio and digital versions of the books for her students to use if they needed help reading them or were audio or visual learners, taking care not to infringe on copyrights of course.
Multiple Means of Engagement
The third principle of UDL is multiple means of engagement. Teachers need to find ways to tap the interest of their students, provide the right amount of challenge in the activities, and provide motivation.
Teacher Kristen Howard engaged her students by allowing them to choose which book to read, and whether to read the print version, listen to the audio version or use the digital copy. They were also allowed to read the material as many times as they wished, read alone or in groups, and write the answers to the guided reading questions on post-it notes and hang them on the wall.