Are you a teacher of multilingual students?
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With multicultural and multilingual classrooms becoming the norm in educational settings throughout the U.S, chances are you will answer yes to this question.  Given the rise in internationalization efforts on many campuses, it has become increasingly important to understand the role that culture plays in the classroom and this understanding is essential to effective communication, teaching, and learning. In many cases, cultural diversity brings with it students whose first language is something other than English. The multilingual classroom presents challenges beyond those faced in the monolingual classroom.

What is UDL?
Universal Design for Learning recognizes that each learner presents a unique set of strengths and weaknesses in how they learn. It recognizes that learning is multifaceted and involves a complex interaction of networks involving recognition, strategic and affective domains. Teaching should minimize all barriers to student learning by incorporating highly flexible strategies and materials. UDL operates under three primary principles which propose that the most effective teaching strategies for all learners will  incorporate:
  1. Multiple Means of Representation
  2. Multiple Means of Expression
  3. Multiple Means of Engagement
Where can you find help?
A first line of defense may be found in the myriad variety of technology tools that are available and continue to be developed on a daily basis. In many cases, tools specially designed for learners with special needs are entirely appropriate and often appreciated by ALL learners. Text-to-speech editors, automatic captioning tools, tools that allow you (or your students) to create alternative forms of representation like animations and video, can all support the multilingual classroom. Check out the resources below to get started!