Continuing Conversation on Universal Design for Learning and Anti-Racism Education

Yesterday, Andratesha Fitzgerald joined us for a Zoom presentation on her research and work with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Anti-Racism Education.  We had a great conversation that highlighted The Wheel of Power and Privilege (Sylvia Duckworth) and UDL's multiple means of engagement, representation, and action/expression, which can be used to build greater equity between teachers and learners. 

Several participants shared their experience building these multiple means within their classrooms through their curriculum and through the power of conversation.  Andratesha shared that when we design lessons and activities, we need to keep in mind that no one shows up empty-handed and mistakes are a natural part of the human experience.  Learning and growing from them is key.

So, how do we start?  Andratesha shared these six options for engaging in the work:

1.Explore your data to see who is truly included and who is excluded.

2.Ask practitioners in your learning community to make a commitment to learning more about equity in action.

3.Commit to explicit learning about antiracism and universal design.

4.Take a look at the list of resources and do a “deep dive” into one.

5.Design feedback from learners into the design of your instruction.  What do they want more of?  What do they wish I would let go of?

6.Decide one small change that you can make tomorrow and actually
do it.

Have you tried one of these already?  Tell us more about what that looked like for you?  If you're new to this work, which of these makes the most sense for you to try?

If you're still not sure, that's ok.  Later today, Andratesha will be sharing some examples of UDL in adult education settings to help us visualize this work.  

Mike Cruse

Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator


The purpose of this sheet is to highlight Universal Design for Learning as a framework for designing highly effective professional learning experiences. All learners vary in the way they engage with new information, perceive content, and in the strategies they use to make sense of knowledge. Professional learning opportunities must recognize and address variability in adult learners, just as we recognize it in younger students. While the UDL framework can enhance the design and delivery of professional learning on any topic, it is crucial to apply and model the foundations of UDL when delivering professional learning on UDL.

Tesha, thanks for sharing this article on UDL professional development.  Yesterday, we had a participant ask about using UDL in math instruction and you mentioned a resource to engage learners through contemporary music, connecting musical beats to the teaching of multiplication.  Would you share that resource here with us?


One very fundamental understanding of math is the idea that one should mean one ... and if you're working in the same units, that the difference between 4 and 5 is the same as the distance between 199 and 200.   Musical rhythm can help get this into the brain.   I've got a couple of books about teaching this way (not here in the office, though).  
     I think Tesha was tlaking about some awesome songs about multiplication, too.   Can't remember where I pasted them -- while the session wasn't recorded, could links from the chat be shared? 


In order to give learners on-ramps to learning multiplication consider various formats to access the material.  In our discussion yesterday an instructor was looking for ways to help remember the multiplication facts.  One of the resources we shared was a hip hop adaptation of songs to include math facts.  Take a listen 

The Smart Shorties: Hip Hop Multiplication videos reminded me of another math teaching resource I learned about from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.  Their Living Maya Time site is a great resource as well.  The ancient Maya used math to support everything from market transactions to predicting eclipses and making calendar calculations. Maya math is vigesimal, which means that instead of counting by tens, it counts by twenties.  I've worked with immigrant learners from Central and South America in the last several years who learned and used Maya Math.  It's another way of using familiar resources to reach and teach learners from other races, cultures and backgrounds than our own.