New For All Teachers Teaching to Diversity

Three-Blocks: A Proven Model for Teaching to Diversity

From the book:

Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning
by Jennifer Katz
Foreword by Faye Brownlie

In her book Teaching to Diversity, Jennifer Katz synthesizes the research, and 16 years experience of teaching in inclusive classrooms and schools, to provide answers to several questions:

-How do I make inclusion work for ALL students?
-What are the foundational best practices of a truly inclusive learning community?
-How does one create such a community?

The author pulls together, in an organized way, the key pieces of what she learned and implemented from exploring and using universal design for learning (UDL) in her classrooms. Katz describes a three-block model of universal design and suggests a step-by-step approach to implementing it in the classroom. This framework includes:

Block One, Social and Emotional Learning: details ways to build compassionate learning communities (K–12) in which all students feel safe and valued, and where they develop a positive self-concept, sense of belonging, and respect for diverse others.

Block Two, Inclusive Instructional Practice: includes a framework for planning units from K–12 in ways that allow diverse learners to actively engage with curriculum in their own way, at their own pace, and at varying levels of complexity. Block two explains instructional and management practices for teaching, assessing, grading, and reporting in UDL classrooms.

Block Three, Systems and Structures: suggests strategies for creating inclusive learning communities that require changes to educational policy, budgeting, staffing, training, and interactions with families and communities. This section describes how service delivery models such as Response to Intervention (RTI) and co-teaching can work within a UDL framework. This block explores ways in which resource teachers, student services personnel, and school administrators can support and create socially and academically inclusive schools and classrooms.

Teachers in inclusive classrooms understand that children with exceptionalities, children from poverty, Aboriginal children, and others, like all children, can learn, deserve to learn, and are their responsibility. The question is how. How can we set up our classrooms in such a way that all students learn, play, and grow together—in celebration of their diversity, not in spite of it? How do we socially and academically include students who have previously been marginalized or excluded, without sacrificing the learning of the rest of our students? These questions are the reason for this book. The three-block model of UDL can empower educators with the knowledge, skills, and confidence required to teach diverse learners in the same classroom—including those who have previously been excluded.

For more information about Teaching to Diversity or to purchase a copy of this book, please visit

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