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Part One

Meet Felicity (pseudonym). Felicity is fifteen years old and currently

completing Year Ten at a secondary school in Western Sydney. Felicity is

diagnosed with mild intellectual disability (MID) and struggles with her mental

health often missing time from school due to anxiety. Felicity does not often

engage in aggressive disruptive behaviour but can be distracted by and a

distraction to her peers. Felicity applies herself to tasks, however, once she

becomes overwhelmed she retreats and can be seen with her head on her desk,

no longer engaging with class work or her teachers. MID is usually characterised

as an IQ of less than 70 but higher than 55 and students with MID may have low

academic achievement, issues with social skills, communication and daily living

(Bouck, 2017). Anxiety is a mental health issue that affected one in four young

people in Australia in 2015 (beyondblue, 2018). Anxiety often presents in

students with MID in it’s ‘state’ form meaning that students with MID respond to

situations, specifically challenging or difficult ones, with more sensitivity to

perceived danger, prompting students to avoid the situation all together (Kurtek,

2016).

Inclusive education requires not only providing the same learning

opportunities to all students but providing those opportunities in an accessible

way (Loreman, Deppeler & Harvey, 2011). Inclusive education demotes the need

for segregated classrooms and as a result, students with a disability including

MID are educated in mainstream classrooms (Sermier Dessemontet & Bless,

2013). Accordingly, teachers are required to understand and respond to

individual student needs for students to achieve their best educational outcomes

(Loreman et al., 2011). In order to do so teachers should create lessons that

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focus on student strengths and by following the Universal Design for Learning

students such as Felicity should be able to access curricular learning without

further modifications (Loreman et al., 2011). Felicity has many strengths; she is

able to use varying forms of technology capably and is quick to pick up on new

applications. She enjoys creative tasks and has strong social skills; she is

particularly versed in social media. Felicity is usually enthusiastic in class; she

participates in class discussion and is an eager volunteer for tasks such as

reading passages from texts. Felicity is an independent and hard worker, when

she understands class tasks and the information foreshadowing them she will

make a strong attempt to complete the work. During the course of a creative

writing unit in English, Felicity was observed to have higher engagement,

completed more set work and worked with only limited assistance. Despite this,

Felicity’s comprehension skills are still quite low and she has trouble applying

English language forms and features to her writing. Once overwhelmed with the

class work, Felicity will begin to show symptoms of anxiety and retreat in to a

state of unresponsiveness despite the best efforts of the teacher to assist her.

According to Kurtek (2016), Felicity is exhibiting signs of anxiety in its ‘state’

form, in which once she anticipates the possibility of failure she avoids the

stressor, that is, the work.

As mentioned, one method that will assist in increasing Felicity’s

engagement in the classroom and educational outcomes is Universal Design for

Learning (UDL). UDL is a model grounded in the idea that, like buildings,

classrooms should be accessible for students without modification (Courey,

Tappe, Siker & LePage, 2012; Loreman et al., 2011). It is a proactive process that

when completed successfully cultivates improved educational outcomes for

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students both with and without disability (Vitelli, 2015). UDL is distinctly

different from differentiated instruction in which students are seen to be the

issue and as such, accommodations must be made to the original lesson to

include them (Capp, 2016). UDL requires the teacher to understand that barriers

to success lie not within the student but within the curriculum and their

interaction with it (Capp, 2016). As such, retrospective modifications are

discouraged and instead lessons should be designed in such a way that they are

flexible and build on the strengths of the student (Centre for Applied Special

Technology [CAST], 2018a). There are three elements teachers must consider

when planning lessons to satisfy the principle of UDL. UDL requires teachers

asking themselves how they can incorporate multiple means of: expression,

representation and engagement (CAST, 2018a; Loreman et al., 2011).

Multiple means of representation is to provide all learners with a

number of different ways of obtaining information and knowledge (Loreman et

al., 2011). It understands that learners vary in the way they absorb and

comprehend information and as such, teachers must provide options to make

learning accessible for all (CAST, 2018b). Ways in which teachers can achieve

this is by presenting information in multiple ways, multiple times. Content

should not be dependent on one single sense such as sight, language used should

create understanding not hinder it and meaning should be co-constructed by

teacher and student rather than leaving students to attempt to generate

understanding themselves (CAST, 2018b). When content is provided in multiple

ways and multiple times, teachers should be able to cater for every student

including those with MID ensuring that all students can comprehend content.

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The modified lesson plan achieves multiple means of representation by

providing students with key definitions of the metalanguage used with practical

examples. By providing the definitions and distinctions between inner and outer

dialogue a shared understanding is generated within the class of the vocabulary

that will be used moving forward (CAST, 2018b). Similarly, providing students

the rules of dialogue in a hard copy worksheet highlights the crucial features of

dialogue and supplies a resource that is beneficial for all students while they

master the skill, a key feature of UDL (Vitelli, 2015). This resource should be of

particular benefit to Felicity who when challenged, may often retreat away from

the work. By providing the worksheet Felicity is not expected to immediately

remember and apply the rules of dialogue to her own writing; instead she is

provided with a guide that can continuously referred back to for as long as

required. Further, the learning intention is also expressed through multiple

media such as written, video and simulation. Students are provided written

examples of correctly formatted dialogue, they also engage with a simulation on

the board with the teacher and then apply the skills to scene from a well-known

movie (Courey et al., 2012). By targeting the learning intention in multiple

media, it is hoped the information becomes comprehensible for all learners in

the classroom and creates stronger neural pathways by leveraging off students

prior knowledge (CAST, 2018b).

The second principle that governs UDL is multiple means of expression.

Essentially this allows students to demonstrate what they know in a way that is

suitable to them; this may include non-traditional methods that extend past a

written assessment task (Loreman et al., 2011). Further, providing multiple

means of expression also acknowledges that students with learning and

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cognitive disabilities such as MID may present as disorganised or unprepared for

learning (CAST, 2018c). As such teachers need to provide students with extra

support such as scaffolds, templates or organisers to assist ensuring students do

not become overwhelmed or confused with information (CAST, 2018c).

Multiple means of expression has been incorporated in to the attached

lesson. Rather than having students sit and copy from the board, students work

through various exercises including whole class activities, teacher modelling,

individual tasks and group activities. In doing so, students are provided multiple

opportunities to demonstrate their grasp on the content. For instance, Felicity

enjoys contributing to class discussions therefore the activity in which the class

corrects some sample dialogue on the board provides Felicity an opportunity to

contribute and showcase her understanding. Learning is also scaffolded in the

final task in such a way so all students are able to complete the activity. Students

may choose to rewrite the passage from the video-clip with correct formatting,

turning the scene in to a short story or simply edit the script provided. Given

Felicity’s strength with technology, she may instead create a cartoon strip or

PowToon. By providing Felicity with multiple means of expression she will be

able to demonstrate her comprehension of class content in a way that is

meaningful to her and capitalises on her strengths (Courey et al., 2012).

The third principle of UDL is multiple means of engagement. Multiple

means of engagement understands that there is not one way to engage all

learners in content and as such various learning styles and capabilities are

considered to build interest and motivate students across all levels (Loreman et

al., 2011; Capp, 2018). Multiple means of engagement focuses on recruiting

interest in students; sustaining effort and persistence; and promoting self-

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regulation of emotions and motivation when learning (CAST, 2018d). Recruiting

interest in students can be achieved by promoting student choice and autonomy.

This might be reflected in the classroom by offering students choice in the way in

which they work such as groups or individually (CAST, 2018d). Focussing on

student strengths can assist in sustaining effort and persistence in learners and

may present in varying forms of complexity for a task or providing options in

assessment tasks (CAST, 2018d). Assisting students in developing their own

personal coping skills may look like a social and emotional learning regime in the

classroom, however, it should be incorporated hand in hand with the above

strategies because at its core, UDL asks teachers to look at the curricular barriers

that prevent success in students rather than solely focussing on barriers within

the student (Capp, 2016).

This principle of UDL has been incorporated in to the attached lesson

plan by giving students independence and autonomy in their choice of class

activity. Whilst all activities will assess student comprehension of dialogue rules,

how students demonstrate this understanding is up to them and this autonomy

can lead to an increase in pride in work and increase in self-determination

(Bouck, 2017; CAST, 2018d). This design is appropriate for Felicity as when she

becomes overwhelmed with tasks she often disengages. By providing Felicity

with a choice, it is hoped that she will see the class work as an opportunity rather

than a threat and thus heighten engagement (Kurtek, 2016). The lesson also

includes multiple opportunities for students to receive timely-feedback including

when the teacher is roaming to assist with written work and through the use of

ICT. When the teacher is roaming to assist the purpose of the feedback is to guide

students in mastering the technicalities of writing dialogue. Similarly, by

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providing students with the link to the video and the script, students are

encouraged not to focus on the spelling or copying the script down but pay

attention to comprehending and applying the extra details such as adverbs or

pictures to demonstrate emotion etc. As such, students are assisted in mastering

the skills of writing dialogue rather than just complying with the conventions of

spelling, grammar and punctuation (Nepo, 2017; CAST, 2018d).

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Part Two

ENGLISH LESSON PLAN

Key:
Multiple means of representation - Multiple means of expression - Multiple means of
engagement

Class: Year 10
Time: 50 minutes

Syllabus Outcomes
EN5-3B, EN5-1A

Procedures

TIME ORGANISATION TEACHING/LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Class follows routine to prepare them for learning, come in and open
5 min Mark roll books with date, title and margin. First three students finished and
prepared receive merit as per class policy.

Teacher aids class discussion on dialogue: what is it? Why is it used?


Where is it used?

Students are provided with the definition of dialogue on the


5 min PowerPoint
PowerPoint including the difference between inner and outer
dialogue with an example of each to assist in comprehension of the
different forms.

Students are handed a worksheet detailing the various rules of


writing dialogue and an example of each to assist students with
comprehension. The Teacher works with the class going through
each rule and clarifies any concerns or questions.
PowerPoint
10 min A sentence is displayed on the board and the teacher models how it
Worksheet
is to be amended to conform to the rules of dialogue.

A passage is then displayed on the board and as class students apply


the rules of dialogue to the passage, correcting any errors by raising
hands and sharing corrections with the class.

Students complete the worksheets correcting sentences as modelled


previously by the teacher and the class activity. This can be done
either by hand in their English books or the sheet can be
downloaded on their Chromebooks and edited in word.

Tasks on worksheet vary in levels of complexity but are accessible to


10 min Worksheet all students.

Students are instructed they can complete the worksheet


individually, in pairs or in groups.

Teacher roaming to assist students, check their comprehension of


dialogue rules and provide feedback.

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Extending beyond editing dialogue

As a class, an iconic scene from The Incredibles is watched twice.


Students watch the video once just to observe and listen to the
dialogue. Students watch the clip a second time, paying attention to
the way in which the dialogue is delivered.

YouTube Students access a transcript of the dialogue online supplied by the


https://www.yo teacher that has been removed of all formatting. Students are to
utube.com/watc applying the rules of dialogue to the text that is present in the
20 min
h?v=x2qRDMHb worksheet. Students are also asked to extend on the dialogue rules
XaM by attempting to convey tone or expression to the dialogue.

Students are at liberty to decide how they want to do complete this


task. Ideas include creating a comic strip depicting the scene, turning
the dialogue in to a short story, creating a series of Tweets or
Facebook posts or editing the worksheet itself.

Students are able to re-watch the video on their devices if needed.

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References

BeyondBlue. (2018). Understand what’s going on: Anxiety. Retrieved from

https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/understand-what's-going-

on/anxiety

Bouck, E.C. (2017). Educational Outcomes for Secondary Students with Mild

Intellectual Disability. Education and Training in Autism and

Developmental Disabilities, 52(4), 369 –382. Retrieved from

https://search-proquest-

com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/docview/1967051474?accountid=36155&rfr_id

=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo

Capp, M. (2016). Is your planning inclusive? The universal design for learning

framework for an Australian context. Australian Educational Leader,

38(4), 44-46. Retrieved from https://search-informit-com-

au.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=605439579318289;res=I

ELHSS

Capp, M. (2018). Teacher confidence to implement the principles, guidelines, and

checkpoints of universal design for learning. International Journal of

Inclusive Education, 1-15. doi: 10.1080/13603116.2018.1482014

Centre for Applied Special Technology (2018). UDL and the learning brain.

Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/our-work/publications/2018/udl-

learning-brain-neuroscience.html

Centre for Applied Special Technology (2018). Universal Design for Learning

Guidelines version 2.2: Provide multiple means of representation.

Retrieved from http://udlguidelines.cast.org/representation

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Centre for Applied Special Technology (2018). Universal Design for Learning

Guidelines version 2.2: Provide multiple means of action and expression.

Retrieved from http://udlguidelines.cast.org/action-expression

Centre for Applied Special Technology. (2018). Universal Design for Learning

Guidelines version 2.2: Provide multiple means of engagement. Retrieved

from http://udlguidelines.cast.org/engagement

Courey, S.J., Tappe, P., Siker, J., & LePage, P. (2012). Improved lesson planning

with Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Teacher Education and Special

Education, 36(1), 7-27. doi: 10.1177/0888406412446178

Kurtek, P. (2016). Role of Anxiety as a Trait and State in Youth With Mild

Intellectual Disability: Coping With Difficult Situations. Journal of Policy

and Practice in Intellectual Disability, (13)3, 236-245. doi:

10.1111/jppi.12150

Loreman, T., Deppeler, J., & Harvey, D. (2011). Inclusive education: Supporting

diversity in the classroom (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, Australian: Allen &

Unwin.

Nepo, K. (2017). The Use of Technology to Improve Education. Child and Youth

Care Forum, 46(2), 207-221. doi: 10.1007/s10566-016-9386-6

Sermier Dessemontet, R., & Bless, G. (2013). The impact of including children

with intellectual disability in general education classrooms on the

academic achievement of their low-, average-, and high-achieving peers.

Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 38(1), 23-30. doi:

10.3109/13668250.2012.757589

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Vitelli, E.M. (2015). Universal Design for Learning: Are We Teaching It to

Preservice General Education Teachers? Journal of Special Education

Technology, 30(3), 166-178. doi: 10.1177/0162643415618931

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