Teaching Students in the Margins

Before we dive into the specific details of UDL, we will consider our own conceptions of teaching and learning.

View a Prezi about the Future in the Margins

When you are ready, download and read The Future is in the Margins (pdf).

Before Reading: When does a student have a disability? What students do you consider to be “in the margins?”

Reflect on these questions and jot your answers down on the article, on your computer or in a notebook.

Directions: After reading the article, answer the before, during and after reading questions listed below. When you are finished reading the article and responding to the questions, participate in the class discussion.

During Reading: How do Rose and Meyer challenge you to think differently about disability? Explain.

Reflect on these questions and write your answers in your notebook.

After reading: Re-read this statement made by Rose and Meyer on page 4 of in The Future is in the Margins1:

“..the more differentiated use of media for instruction reveals that individuals who are defined as “learning disabled” within print-based learning environments are not the same individuals who are defined as “learning disabled” within video- or audio-based learning environments. Such revelations splinter the old categorical divisions between “disability” and “ability” and create new descriptors that explicitly recognize the interaction between student and environment in the definition of strengths.”

Rose and Meyer, The Future is in the Margins (2005)

Teacher Spotlight

Directions: When you are ready, select the links below hear thoughts from each of three teachers on viewing the curriculum as disabled.

 Teacher #1

TRANSCRIPT: I think about looking at the curriculum as disabled, it allows teachers to reach more students instead of feeling constricted by a certain set of standards. By looking at the curriculum in that manner, teachers may feel more inclined to use other means to reach students and help them learn.

 Teacher #2

TRANSCRIPT: Viewing the curriculum as disabled and not the student greatly impacts how I develop lessons. I had already thought of the curriculum as being flawed and not appealing to a great number of my students. What I never considered was students not being disabled. The notion gets you thinking. Reading the article makes me think a bit differently about that student. We all have a best practice of how we learn just like so many of the students we label as being disabled.

 Teacher #3

TRANSCRIPT: I do think that the curriculum is disabled and needs serious attention. Science should be about experimenting and exploration but due to a demanding curriculum and the pressures of the HSA, science, well Biology at least, is all about memorization. As a Biology teacher, I am only able to give my students the information that they need to pass the test at the end of the quarter or the end of the year. But what if my students are curious and want more information about a certain topic? Do I tell them that it’s not important for them to know because it’s not on the test or do I plan and implement a lesson that increases their understanding of the topic at the risk of not completing my curriculum before the administration of the HSA? Viewing the curriculum in a different manner would considerably change the way I plan and implement lessons.

Prepare a response to the following question:

  1. How will viewing the curriculum as disabled, rather than students, change the way that you develop lessons?

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