Universal Design for Learning

This year, our teachers will be focusing on the implementation of the principles of Universal Design for Learning, as outlined in the new Aotearoa New Zealand Curriculum Te Mātaiaho.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) recognises that each student brings their cultures, languages and identities with them to school, as well as a unique set of relationships, experiences, abilities and interests.  They also bring differences in how they learn.

As a school of excellence, Sancta Maria College is firmly committed to all learners succeeding.  For this to happen, the diversity within our student body needs to be recognised and accounted for in our teachers’ approaches within the classroom.

The principles of UDL mean our teachers can design their own approaches in response to the needs of all their learners in order to make the learning more inclusive.

The key to inclusive learning is this flexibility in approaches.

Universal Design for Learning can help schools and kura design learning that is flexible, with no barriers to learners being able to access learning opportunities.

Offering students choices about how they access learning, what they do with that learning, and also how they show what they’ve learnt, are examples of flexibility which is at the heart of UDL.

Neuroscience has determined that we each learn differently across three primary networks in the brain.

Our affective networks influence our emotions and motivations.

Our recognition networks influence what we perceive and understand through our senses, and our strategic networks influence how we organise and communicate our thinking.

Universal Design for Learning helps teachers design learning that supports these three networks in order to reach every student in our classrooms.

When principles of UDL are applied, we move away from the one-size-fits-all approach that used to be a feature of New Zealand classrooms.

For all students to be successful, we need to design flexible environments, where everyone can access, participate and engage in learning in a way that works for them.

Universal Design for Learning can help us do this.

It supports us to design respectful, inclusive environments where everyone is learning and achieving, and diversity is seen as a source of strength.

We hope to keep you updated on this learning journey for all of our teachers throughout the year.

Ray Green
Deputy Principal, Teaching and Learning