“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 and variables that exist in the transformation from theory to practice.

However, 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 and its summative assessment. 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. A template has also been created to guide application.

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

Unit Analysis Table:

Quality Differentiated Teaching Practice and Supplementary Adjustments

The unit analysis table demonstrated in the curriculum clarity guides above can be used to capture quality differentiated teaching practice and supplementary adjustments. This allows teachers to consider the curriculum intent of the unit of study and to proactively differentiate to support students to equitably access and engage with age-equivalent content. A general example of what this can look like is provided below:

Substantial and Extensive Curriculum Adjustments

Once teachers are confident in the alignment process at the various levels, the unit analysis table can be utilised to represent the provision of curriculum adjustments at the substantial and extensive level. This combined unit analysis table takes the age-equivalent know/do/think process, and highlights the variation in complexity for students accessing an alternate access point or individual learning goals. Utilising the combined version reduces the amount of time taken to align, and also clearly articulates how all students are included in the delivery of the regular unit of study. An example is provided 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. 

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.

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:

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.