Why Composition?

Via the National Center on Universal Design for Learning:

Though instructors who hope to utilize UDL ideologies in their classrooms will not want to universally adopt any standards without first analyzing them in the context of their own needs and those of each individual student, these guidelines provide a strong base from which to build one’s pedagogies and curricula.

The writing classroom in particular provides the fertile ground for implementing UDL strategies and engaging a diversity of students, regardless of need or ability. For example, language versatility, multimodal capabilities, collaboration, and feedback are all integral components of both the field of composition/rhetoric and the UDL guidelines referenced above. Providing multiple means of representation, of action and expression, and of engagement facilitates accessibility and ensures that writing students are more fully integrated into the educational process.

Because writing and the teaching of writing have become increasingly important features of university requirements and career expectations, it makes sense to consider the planning of these classes from a practical standpoint. However, writing is also a deeply personal experience, one that enables students to contribute to academic discourse, to articulate personal ideas and beliefs, and to directly engage with interesting or controversial topics. It does not always make sense to teach only grammar and conventional writing mechanics, and traditional writing paradigms have often failed to help students realize their full academic potential or fulfill their personal needs.

When writing teachers thoughtfully engage with the UDL process, composition courses, classroom spaces, writing assignments, and lesson plans are re-assessed continually, and students have access to multiple avenues for individual development throughout the semester or year.

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