Working Smarter: Using Universal Design for Learning to Spiral Curriculum in Small Special Education Preparation Programs


  • Jennifer Walker University of Mary Washington
  • Marla Lohmann Colorado Christian University
  • Kathy Boothe Southeastern Oklahoma State University
  • Ruby Owiny Minnesota State University Mankato



higher education, small programs, special education, teacher preparation


Although small teacher education preparation programs (STEPP) may struggle to implement robust program design frameworks compared to their larger preparation program peers, a collaborative design can help smaller programs with resource limitations. This collaboration can facilitate the design of effective and efficient teacher preparation programs (TPP) with a spiraled curriculum. Through scaffolding in TPPs, a spiral of support is defined as the process of learning continuous threads of information, gradually building to content mastery. These scaffolded components include case studies, role playing/modeling/feedback, and mentoring within the UDL framework. The use of case studies throughout a TPP provides a “continuum” of learning to prepare teachers to develop knowledge, skills, and practical experience within a diverse K-12 student population. Given a spiral of instruction to include role-play, modeling, feedback, and mentorship, preservice teachers can also engage in real world teaching and learning that go beyond the constraints of a classroom.






Small Programs Special Issue