Our class this summer was both a professional development opportunity (sponsored by California Partnership for Math and Science Education (CAPSME)) for participants and a research project. We are currently analyzing data from the project, from qualitative analysis of the design process of as experienced by individual Design Teams, to quantitative analysis of pre-post surveys.
In our reflections on the course, we got some important feedback that we want to listen to, and build on for future iterations. Three themes have seemed very important for right now.
Participants returned again and again to the importance of empathy.
UDL and Design Thinking go together as design cycle to help us rethink education in complex times.
Educators identified Disability Rights and ableism as important concepts in their work.
First, the importance of empathy.
Others also noted how that despite how caring teachers and PD designers are, they don’t actually consider the perspectives of the “user”.
This next quote is both about empathy, and about the role of a design process in adapting to complex situations.
This next quote illustrates the second theme- UDL needed a design process.
The third theme was the importance of delving into issues around disability. This was one of our intentions in the course, to center disability rather than talk around it (or not about it at all!). And we provided content on disability as an identity, a community, and a political movement. We wished we could have spent more time on this, which is why we were interested when many participants noted this in their final surveys.
And several participants noted how important this vision of disability, not as deficit, but as radical potential, how relevant this was to their work as a teacher and as a teacher educator.
I am a faculty member at the University of California Santa Barbara, and a former teacher. My interests are at the intersections of mathematics education, disability studies in education, and social justice.