Instructional Media as it Relates to UDL

Posted by Nikki Rankin on 1/20/2017 7:15:00 AM

A teacher needs to start by selecting a medium for teaching and should consider its appropriateness for the particular content or activity. Next, the teacher needs to weigh the characteristics of each student. This goes back to my initial position based on researching UDL and the conversation with my sister. We can’t just teach one way and expect all kids to learn. Next, we will explore the role of the three networks in speech and reading.

Understanding speech requires interpreting meaning from the flow of sounds and using prior knowledge and content to predict what words will come next, and finally to make sense of what we are hearing. Challenges to understanding speech include hearing impairments and difficulty segmenting speech-sounds quickly. The semantics, or ability to attach meanings to words can also be a challenge for some students.

The visual cues for understanding speech are important. Some students have a very hard time distinguishing visual cues used by a teacher. The student who is blind, is at a huge disadvantage when visual cues are used with spoken language. Listening to and understanding speech also requires the student to act strategically and to stay focused and engaged. This is where the domains of strategic and affective networks become involved.

We know that there is motor planning when we are going to speak. Our mouths form the words and actions. We listen to someone when they speak. Listening requires heavy participation of the brain’s strategic networks. To gain meaning, we must remember what we hear. We all have our own way of doing this. The student with executive functioning skill deficits will hear what is spoken, but have difficulty understanding what is being said. Selective concentration is another key factor. The listener must devote attention and to screen out irrelevant stimuli. All of this makes up the recognition networks.

Understanding speech requires the meaningful interpretation from the flow of sounds.  Barriers to understanding speech include hearing impairments and difficulty segmenting speech-sounds quickly. Research has shown that some children do not process the spoken language quickly enough to recognize normal speech patterns. One way of helping them is to slow the speech down, possibly by using a computer. Students can then learn to segment the speech into the individual sounds that make up words.

Another barrier for some students is semantic recognition, or the ability to attach individual meaning to words. An example from the reading used the word rock. There are many different meanings for rock, and one has to be able to use context clues to understand the actual meaning. Some children have difficulty with this task. Difficulties using grammatical constructions can appear independently of other language problems.

Visual cues when it comes to speech are also important. They help convey the meaning of words. The facial expressions and gestures provide emphasis, context, and significance to verbal communications. A student with a visual impairment sometimes misses key parts of the spoken conversation. This can be very true for the ADHD child too.  They hear it, but don’t meaningfully attend to what they have heard.

Listening to, and understanding, speech requires a student to act strategically while staying focused and engaged. The other domains of the strategic and affective networks which will be examined in the next newsletter as it pertains to speech.

Michele Neumann  Michelle Neumann, Assistant Director