The Universal Design for Learning Implementation and Research Network Logo

UDL & Antiracism SIG

About Us

We are a community of educators who are committed to engaging, sustaining and deepening conversations about Universal Design for Learning, anti-racism, and intersectionality.  Anti-racist practices are not limited by geographical borders. We anticipate that this SIG will bring together practitioners from many areas.  This is both a local and global conversation; we have representatives from multiple continents. Each member of this SIG is charged to recognize ways to share this learning with the UDL community and engage additional UDL practitioners and reflect on how to improve UDL practices within an antiracist lens.

Why It Is Important

This SIG will specifically focus on Universal Design for Learning and anti-racism in the educational context.  We define anti-racism as actively supporting anti-racist policy through action; action that involves identifying, naming and eliminating oppressive ideologies, practices, structures and systems.  We will work toward the redistribution of voice and power to disrupt predictable outcomes based on race in our education systems.

Multiple pieces of legislation define Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as “a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice.”  Central to this framework is the ability to name and remove unnecessary barriers to learning. As a SIG, we stay committed to our mission to optimize teaching until learning has no limits.  We recognize that racism and white supremacy cause Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students and teachers harm and create barriers to learning. This SIG commits to identifying and  addressing the ways in which dominant culture is present in our work as UDL implementers. We commit to looking at the UDL framework with a critical lens as we seek to find the intersection between UDL and anti-racist practice.  

This SIG is timely as many in the UDL field have surfaced the fact that UDL does not specifically address the barrier of racism, inequity, and injustice. In order to design learning environments that are truly equitable, we must name this barrier to learning or we will not be able to dismantle oppressive practices.

This SIG Will

  • bring together practitioners who wish to engage in critical dialogue, reflect on and discuss the shifts we have made/must make; 
  • observe our own conversations and interactions for examples of systematic racism within our own organizations; 
  • elevate examples of how we/others are addressing that racism at an individual, organizational and systemic level;
  • create a collective voice within this UDL-focused community.

Our Activities

There is significant power in the UDL framework and the related process of proactively identifying barriers to design, but we recognize that the framework itself is not enough.  This SIG will make space for members to critically analyze their own biases and conceptions about teaching and learning and UDL by exploring a series of topics/questions on a monthly basis. We will work toward identifying ways to share our learning with the UDL community and engage additional UDL practitioners. 

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Join Us!

To be added to our monthly discussions, please contact Liz Berquist at eberquist@bcps.org.