A Case Study Of The Role Of Universal Design For Learning In Impacting Teacher Professional Development And Instructional Design

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Educators continue to try to address the many different learning styles, disabilities, and intelligences of the students who enter their classroom. With each new year, the ask of our teachers becomes greater. Consequently, designing instruction from the start that addresses the many differences found in a classroom is a challenge for educators. Therefore, professional development centered around creating a flexible learning environment that reaches many types of learners has become the new expectation. The purpose of this mixed method case study was to understand the impact of professional development using the Universal Design for Learning framework on changing teacher practices, and thereby increasing perceived student engagement at three local middle schools.The findings of this study were analyzed through the lens of four data sources: Teacher Focus Groups, Teacher Lesson Plans, Teacher Formative Assessments - Understanding the Role of Lesson Design, and the Technology Usage Perception Survey. My study revealed the challenges that teachers had with identifying students' unique learning needs and shows the importance of schools having a systemic learning framework. Teachers understood the importance of student engagement and good instructional design; however, designing the lessons to create a learner-centered classroom required them to completely rethink their lesson design process. This study concludes with recommendations for redesigning professional development, job embedded coaching, and systemic implementation of the UDL framework within a school district.



Education, Design thinking, Flexible learning, Lesson design, Systems thinking, Teacher professional development, Universal design for learning