Using participatory action research to support the implementation of universal design for learning in an elementary science classroom : a case study
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The purpose of this study was investigating an elementary teacher's implementation of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework in her science classroom through engaging in participatory action research (PAR). This study examined (1) how the teacher developed understanding UDL and how engagement in PAR contributed to it (2) how the teacher's implementation of UDL influenced non-dominant groups of students' science learning experience as well as class climate. The data sources to answer these research questions included teacher interviews, classroom observation field notes, transcripts of PAR sessions, reflections and artifacts. The findings of the study demonstrate that my participant developed knowledge of UDL over time as engaging in PAR. PAR supported her learning about UDL and how to implement it in her classroom. This study also demonstrates that the teacher's implementation of UDL allowed non-dominant groups of students' greater access to information and learning and supported the engagement of nondominant groups of students in science practices. The results demonstrate that the overall classroom climate became more inclusive as the teacher implemented the UDL framework in several ways. The findings of this study suggest that teachers' understanding of students should precede learning of the three principles of UDL. Moreover, teacher education programs should help preservice teachers attend to strengths of students with special needs as well as weaknesses especially related to academic subject areas. The results of this study reinforce the notion that teachers must be supported in translating policy into practice.