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Reflecting on UDL guidelines

Heather Salemme    UDL assignment #1        8/10/2015

What is the most important guideline, in your opinion? Which guidelines would be the most difficult for you to implement and why?

In considering the UDL guidelines, the goal of inspiring motivation to learn a given topic is the most important and also the most difficult to implement. As a passionate educator in my subject area (science) I clearly see and want to convey the importance of understanding the topics that make up my subject area, but how to inspire any level of interest in those topics can be very difficult to inspire in my students. Why – that is probably the elephant in the room. What hook can bring my students into the science geekdom I would love to inspire? I try to supply multiple examples of real life application for every topic – to draw their attention to the amazing everyday and everywhere of science but all too often they just don’t rise to the enticement. When I have offered choice, they readily admit that they self select what they consider to be the easiest option – and that they do not truly put forwards their best efforts.

However, in my elective classes, when I have students already enticed by the choice of the topic I see much greater levels of commitment to high levels of work. Their ePortfolios show effort, focus and interest in the topics, and a desire to understand and apply what they are learning in a much more engaged manner than my “regular” courses. The “why” is much clearer there – beginning with the ability to select the course, based on the topic, students are able to engage in their interests without much debate – the title of the course that draws them in IS the topic that they are interested in to the point of selecting the course for an elective.

So, the challenge is how do I inspire interest in those students who view the course as a forced requirement, and not as an area of fascinating life application that it is?

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