“The biggest mistake of past centuries in teaching has been to treat all students as if they were variants of the same individual and thus to feel justified in teaching them all the same subjects the same way.” – Howard Gardner

Designing equitable learning experiences that acknowledge and value the contributions and outcomes of all students is a crucial component in the realisation of inclusive schooling.

Inclusive lesson design requires teachers to adopt and enact evidence-based pedagogical practices in order to ensure that all students are not only accessing and participating, but are engaged and learning.

Although the flowchart provided by ACARA (see here) is a credibly view of how curriculum adjustments can occur through the three-dimensional design of the Australian Curriculum, the reality is, the process into contextual implementation requires deeper consideration of the breadth of influences of variables that exist in the transformation from theory to practice.

When a systematic process to unit and lesson design is applied, the full breadth of student diversity can be captured and supported within the regular, age-equivalent learning area curriculum. Therefore, in order to embrace the inclusive intentions of the Australian Curriculum framework, further exploration of its application to the teaching and learning process is considered below:

Loren Swancutt – 2019

The following vignette provides explanation regarding the components featured in the diagram above…

Inclusive Teaching and Learning: Designing accessible and effective lessons from the age-equivalent curriculum for all

Curriculum Clarity:

The following guides provide a demonstration of the curriculum clarity process used to identify the curriculum intent of a unit of study. The process commences with clarity of the age-equivalent content, and is then extended to encompass alternate access points (substantial adjustment) and individual learning goals (extensive adjustment) as discussed on the curriculum page here.

Note: A Year 6 Math unit of study has been used as an example within the guides.

Unit Analysis Table:

The unit analysis table demonstrated in the curriculum clarity guides above, can be used to capture quality differentiated teaching practice and the provision of supplementary, substantial and extensive adjustments across a unit of study. Utilising the combined unit analysis table clearly articulates how all students will access and engage in curriculum content. An example of what this can look like is provided in the example below:

Note: The column for quality differentiated teaching practice can be included for every unit analysis table. Columns for supplementary, substantial and extensive adjustments are only included as needed. 

Sequences of achievement

The following sequences of achievement can be used to support the alignment of curriculum across access points. The sequences support teachers to make decisions about associated curriculum content and complexity across the strands and sub-strands of a learning area. The sequences support the curriculum clarity process associated with making substantial curriculum adjustments.

Lesson Design:

Lesson design for inclusive classrooms does not need to be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Utilising a template that is concise, that prompts the use of high impact and inclusive strategies, and that is multi-functional in its application is key to minimising workload whilst still resulting in a well-structured, effective lesson.

An example of a Lesson Design Tool that Loren Swancutt has developed and utilises in her own classroom practice can be found here:

The lesson design tool works in collaboration with the curriculum clarity process and its resulting unit analysis table as explored above.

An explanation of the tool is provided in the vignette below:

More Information

Check out this presentation from Loren Swancutt on ‘Making Supplementary, Substantial and Extensive Adjustments’ to curriculum.

For further exploration, check out Chapter 9: Making Adjustments to Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment in Inclusive Education for the 21st Century – Theory, Policy and Practice edited by Linda J. Graham.

Inclusive Unit and Lesson Design Examples:

Head to the Inclusive Curriculum Design and Delivery page to view examples of the above mentioned practices in application.