The UDL team collected data from teachers in our school with an online survey. They responded to multiple choice questions designed to find out respondents' perceived knowledge of UDL, their level of willingness to implement UDL in their teaching, and how they feel about UDL.
One of the questions asked, "What are your feelings about the N.B. Department of Education's mandate to promote Universal Design for Learning in Schools? a) It's just another passing fad, OR: b) It's a step in the right direction"...
It was encouraging that most repondents (82%) feel that UDL is a step in the right direction, but I couldn't stop thinking about the minority of teachers who assume that it is just another passing fad. It seems that there are a couple of teachers in every staff who are dismissive of 'new' things. Education can be quite trendy. I have seen my fair share of things come and go over the years, but I believe that UDL is here to stay.
As we move toward an inclusive educational system, it is inevitable that educators find ways to include and engage all of our learners in meaningful ways. UDL eliminates barriers to instruction by providing flexibility in ways students learn and how they can demonstrate their knowledge and skills. It has so much to offer, yet it frustrates me to think that some teachers will be dismissive of it because they think it's a fad.
So how can I, as a teacher who believes in UDL, help promote teacher buy-in? It seems like an uphill struggle, but I'm willing to give it a try. I hope that the data that results from this action research project will help our research team make the case for it to reluctant colleagues. I also hope that our Department of Education continues to make UDL a priority... as they have a lot more influence and reach than we do. But for the time being, I'm personally going to try to make an impact at a grassroots level... sharing successes in my universally designed classroom, and hoping that my enthusiasm becomes contagious!