EFL LESSON PLANNING AND TEACHING UNDER THE PERSPECTIVE OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING: THE CASE STUDY OF “THE HAPPY PRINCE”
This study focuses on designing and implementing an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) lesson based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Since education should be interconnected with learning challenges and opportunities, the “one-size-fits-all” curriculum approach is no longer effective as it does not address the diversity of pupils’ interests, strengths and weaknesses. The UDL provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond and demonstrate knowledge and in the ways students are engaged. Designing lessons under the UDL principles could provide support and challenges for all students regardless of their learning readiness, interests or profiles. In the present lesson plan pupil diversity was considered as an important issue during learning and the whole class was encouraged to learn and express themselves in differentiated ways. The lesson plan presented was part of a cross curricular topic on Language, Literature and Social studies and was part of the well-known story of "The Happy Prince" by Oscar Wilde. Participants were 20 sixth grade pupils in a primary school of Athens in Greece. The lesson plan is presented according to the principles of UDL and could be considered as an example for pupils who are provided with opportunities to learn in various ways. Discussions with the EFL teacher before and after the implementation of the lesson as well as classroom observation were used as tools for categorizing stages of the lesson plan and the implementation in the class under the UDL principles. Assessment of the lesson plan was provided by the pupils’ responses on it and their portfolios which included worksheets and opinions. Pupils reported their excitement about this lesson and from the observation data they appeared to be actively involved in the learning process. Pupils also asked the teacher to repeat similar teaching activities because they found them very interesting. The present study contributes to the growing literature on designing lessons based on the UDL model.