To explain the concept of expert learners, I really enjoyed what I read by Rose/Meyer in “A Practical Guide to UDL” (2009)…teachers who offer more choices of topics and means of assessment notice a broader range of students who are able to participate. As students become more engaged, they put more time and effort into their work. This in turn raises teacher expectations…

I believe expert learners are those who are motivated to take responsibility for their learning and make the choice to be engaged in life long learning. This idea of choice is important in the transition planning domains of self-determination and self-advocacy.

In the learner variability PowerPoint we watched for class, I liked how Rose used such a simple example to correlate these concepts to vacation planning – packing your bags for all types of weather and situations that might occur.

Through my work with a pilot program with young adults with I/DD fully included in academic and campus life at my university, I see all of this playing out. Students tell us they did not experience high expectations from their teachers; therefore, their motivation to learn is fairly low. Students tell us they did not participate in a process of discovery through Part B transition planning to learn about what motivated and interested them; therefore, their choice of career options is fairly limited. We strive to proactively plan for any barrier or situation that could arise and to present information (in class, social activities, and on-campus employment) in physical, visual and auditory ways that promote their taking action (choice, responsibility) for their own learning (engagement) – becoming captains of their own ships! 

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4 responses »

  1. mcmahen says:

    I have the following quote on my email “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” — Goethe
    I feel that we need to have high expectations for our students so that they will strive to meet those expectations. If we have low expectations for our students then they will only work to meet those expectations and not move beyond such.

  2. drfrannie says:

    Interesting insights Dana! I’m especially drawn to the mention of your clients comments of what they did not receive in their transition planning. This is so unfortunate and speaks to why we need to inform others of why a UDL framework that addresses learner variability is so important. Providing opportunities to reach high expectations and encouraging learner expertise are critical for all learners–regardless!

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