In her book Teaching to Diversity, Dr. Jennifer Katz synthesizes the research, and 16 years experience of teaching in inclusive classrooms and schools, to provide answers to several questions:
•How do I make inclusion work for ALL students?
•What are the foundational best practices of a truly inclusive learning community?
•How does one create such a community?
The author pulls together, in an organized way, a three-block model of universal design for learning (UDL) and suggests a step-by-step approach for implementing it. This framework includes:
Block One, Social and Emotional Learning: details ways to build compassionate learning communities (K–12) in which all students feel safe and valued, and develop a positive self-concept, sense of belonging, and respect for diverse others.
Block Two, Inclusive Instructional Practice: includes a framework for planning units from K–12, and explains instructional and management practices for teaching, assessing, grading, and reporting in UDL Classrooms.
Block Three, Systems and Structures: suggests strategies for creating inclusive learning communities, and explores ways in which resource teachers, student services personnel, and school administrators can support and create socially and academically inclusive schools and classrooms.
The three-block model of UDL can empower educators with the knowledge, skills, and confidence required to teach diverse learners in the same classroom—including those who have previously been excluded. Ultimately, it is about creating classrooms and schools that heal by teaching to the heart, mind, and spirit of every student.