Teacher Planning and Universal Design for Learning Environments

Prepared by Richard Jackson and Kelly Harper from the Teaching Practices Group at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College, with the editorial assistance of Nicole Strangman, CAST. Additional edits and revisions by Tracey Hall, CAST.

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This report addresses one of the most difficult challenges for teachers: meeting the needs of every student in today's diverse classrooms. After describing the progression in special education from an emphasis on meeting developmental and disability-specific needs to an emphasis on access to the general curriculum, the report argues the utility of collaborative teaching approaches grounded within the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework for enabling this access. Using a thematic instructional unit we demonstrate the application of UDL to classroom activities and provide suggestions for incorporating teacher collaboration and UDL features into the design of daily lessons. A template for this purpose is also proposed for field-testing.

The report is organized according to the following headings:

  • Challenges Confronting Teachers
  • Special Education and the General Curriculum
  • Teacher Collaboration and the General Curriculum
  • Assumptions about Teachers and Classroom Instruction
  • Contextualizing UDL
  • Beginning with a Unit Plan
  • Creating Curriculum for All Learners through UDL
  • Designing Daily Lessons from Unit Activities


Cite this paper as follows:

Jackson, R., & Harper, K., (2001). Teacher planning and the Universal Design for Learning environments. Peabody, MA: Center for Applied Special Technology, Inc. Retrieved [insert date] from http://aim.cast.org/learn/historyarchive/backgroundpapers/teacher_planning


Last Updated: 10/22/2013

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