Career Clusters® Institute Blog Series: Making your CTE Curriculum Accessible to All Special Populations

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the Career Clusters ® Institute. Guest bloggers are among teachers, faculty, researchers and other experts that will present at the national gathering in Fort Worth, TX in June. Today’s guest blogger is Lakshmi Mahadevan, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, College Station, TX.

Why UDL?Lakshmi

Career and Technical Education instructors are most commonly asked to educate many diverse student populations. Although teaching students with such broad ranges of skills, talents, and interests presents challenges for CTE educators, the nature of CTE programs of study fortunately makes them particularly amenable to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach.

In this session, CTE instructors will be introduced to the UDL principles of multiple means of engagement, representation and action/expression that can be effectively utilized within their classrooms so that all their students, including special populations, can be taught the necessary skills and academic content.

What is UDL?

In general, UDL principles call for the curriculum to be presented in multiple modalities, and students are allowed to demonstrate their learning through a variety of formats. Specifically, a universally designed curriculum overcomes limitations by incorporating three principles of flexibility into its design.

Principle I

The first principle is multiple methods of presentation. UDL courses provide alternative representations of essential concepts, which allow students to learn the information in their preferred means. Examples of alternatives include placing course materials on the Web, allowing students to tape record, using videos, podcasts, and other multimedia.

Principle II

The second principle is using multiple options for participation and engagement. By having flexible teaching strategies and course content, students can choose methods that support their interests and skill levels. For example, assignments and course content may be tied to a current news topic or world event, which allows the instructor to tap into the students’ own interests.

Principle III

The last principle is multiple means of expression. The instructor can let students choose a format through which they demonstrate their knowledge of a subject (for example, doing an oral presentation, a written paper, or taking a test). Allowing choices leads students to multiple opportunities and means of demonstrating mastery of the required material.

What will I get if I attend?SpecialPop

Participants attending this presentation will view videos of CTE instructors incorporating UDL principles into their teaching. In addition, attendees will have an opportunity to access UDL tools for self-assessments, ask questions, and discuss UDL-related best practices with colleagues through a group activity.

Other information (URLs, etc.): For further information about this and other CTE and special populations-related topics, go to:

Dr. Mahadevan’s session, Making Your CTE Curriculum Accessible to All Special Populations, will be held Tuesday, June 11, during Session C, 8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Co-presenter is Dr. Rick Peterson, Associate Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, College Station, TX.

More information about the Career Clusters® Institute

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager


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