All students, including disabled students, in your teaching means creating classroom and curricular spaces where all students can learn. There are two approaches to making your teaching accessible to disabled students:
- The first is legal accommodation, which means providing certain accommodations for disabled students that have been identified by a campus disability office. The required accommodations focus on individual changes teachers must make for particular students. Such accommodations will vary widely based on students’ needs, and may include strategies such as extra time on timed exams, note-takers for lectures, and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters.
- The second approach is inclusive teaching, also called Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which can work alongside accommodation (more on UDL below). With this approach, teachers make their classrooms more inclusive for all students, including disabled students. This approach benefits disabled students receiving accommodations, disabled students who have not disclosed their disabilities to the university and/or their professors, and students who have various learning styles but no diagnosed disabilities.
The information below is mostly focused on the second approach, but does not conflict with an accommodations approach.
Strategies to Try
Inclusive teaching focuses on designing your course and structuring your teaching so that all students can participate and succeed. The good news is that making your teaching more inclusive will make your classroom more dynamic for all your students, and for you. There are many strategies, but here are some simple ideas to try: