Hillary Goldthwait-Fowles is an assistive technology professional and certified special education consultant, serving K-12 students. She specializes in breaking barriers to learning through the use of assistive technology and Universal Design for Learning, and is a featured speaker at FETC 2020 in Miami.
Goldthwait-Fowles asks educators to consider these questions:
- What messages are sent to a learner when they are pulled outside of the classroom for instructional strategies and supports that can benefit all learners?
- What if we flipped this notion and were proactive in our instruction?
- What if we planned for learner variability in the least restrictive environment first, rather than waiting for the test score to tell us otherwise?
- What if we provided options, choices and flexibility to all learners as our foundational teaching practice?
Implementing UDL is key. “UDL is more than just a framework that plans for learner variability,” Goldthwait-Fowles explains. “UDL is a healing work that schools desperately need to compete in a global society that honors the unique talents and gifts that each individual possesses. Inclusion is more than just providing access. It’s about honoring the individual and their needs and preferences. It’s about helping learners realize their own potential as learners. It’s about providing access in a way that makes sense for the learner, not what is most expedient for the teacher. It’s about giving access from a place of love. Access is love.”
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