How might we support learners in...

Developing a deep understanding of needs, interests and strengths around: academics, health & wellness, social-emotional development, culture & language, living situation and cognitive skills

Example Strategies

Co-design a milestone map with learners on their past experiences and future goals/dreams
Example: A teacher talks one-on-one with each incoming learner about his/her previous experiences in school and influential moments, and then co-author a shared plan for future goals.

Engage in cultural competence training and actively seek to learn more about the cultures of their learners
Example: A teacher serving a primarily Puerto Rican population actively researches major holidays and traditions and engages with learners and their families to better understand the nuances and values of the cultures.

Review available information regarding learners’ prior academic performance (e.g. testing, work samples and portfolios)
Example: A teacher reviews a historical portfolio of a learner’s prior performance that includes sample work and areas of success or struggle, and reviews it with the learner to confirm the findings.

Conduct observations and assessments to confirm learners’ current academic level and their response to varying levels of academic challenge
Example: A learner takes a pre-assessment before starting a new topic in school, so both the learner and the teacher can see what the learner already knows and what he/she still needs to learn.

Meet regularly with key supporters (parents, teachers, extracurricular staff, therapists, etc.) to inform the strategy for the learner’s development
Example: Learner-led conferences are held prior to the start of the new school year with parents and others to discuss the learner’s needs and co-develop a support plan that is revisited throughout the year.

How might we support learners in...

Experiencing learning that is relevant, contextualized and designed for their individual needs, interests and strengths

Example Strategies

Redesign curricula and learning experiences to reflect the learners’ cultures and expand their self-awareness
Example: A teacher integrates works of literature that feature protagonists of the same culture or background as different learners in the class.

Create flexible learning environments to adapt to key needs (time, space, content)
Example: A team of teachers removes the doors between their classrooms and changes the furniture layout to create different learning “nooks” and dynamic groupings based on learner needs.

Partner with learners to explore ways to modify or vary content to align with their interests, strengths and needs
Example: A teacher works with her English language learners to incorporate more drawing and sketching of ideas in their science class.

Offer flexible modalities, groupings and times/places for learning to help meet individual learner needs, strengths and interests while balancing these individual needs with the needs of the class community
Example: A teacher has several “centers” set up in his classroom for learners to learn about reducing fractions. They can watch a video, practice with an online program, use manipulatives, work with a partner on a worksheet or do a mini-lesson with a teacher.

Design lessons and information using the principles of Universal Design for Learning, including multiple means of representation to support learners with limited working memory skills
Example: A teacher redesigns content in an English lesson to reduce the number of concepts a learner reads at a single time and shows the target concepts in multiple ways.