Meeting the Needs of All Learners

Support students' diverse strengths and needs so they can grow and thrive in their learning environments

About Meeting the Needs of All Learners

BetterLesson's Meeting the Needs of All Learners Domain provides a specific and deliberate approach for teachers across content areas to use in order to ensure that they are providing the appropriate supports for all of their students, especially students with disabilities and English Learners, to be successful in their classrooms. Rooted in The Universal Design for Learning Guidelines, the domain serves to provide students with multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression. It ensures that students are given choice and autonomy, that the goals and objectives for their tasks are clear, that teachers vary demands and resources to optimize challenge, and that teachers provide targeted feedback and opportunities for students to reflect on their learning. It also ensures that teachers offer alternatives for auditory and visual information, clarify vocabulary and symbols, promote understanding across all languages, activate background knowledge, and guide information processing and visualization. And, it ensures that students use multiple media for communication and composition, use various methods for student response and demonstration, and work with teachers to plan, set personalized learning goals, and reflect on their learning. 

Therefore, this domain supports teachers to be reflective practitioners who can set up their learning environment, instructional tasks, and content to support all students to learn; can provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate and acquire information while acknowledging their previous experiences or background knowledge; and can engage students in the learning by understanding their interests and affording students choice as they persevere through challenging tasks.

Why it's important

Educators are aware that there is not one way to teach all students, but are often these educators are not fully equipped with the strategies and resources necessary to support each of their students to be successful. This challenge is becoming increasingly important as the number of students with diverse needs are increasing across the country. For example, in 2017-18, the number of students who received Special Education services in the United States under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) increased to 7.0 million students or 14 percent of total public school enrollment (source: National Center for Education Statistics). And, 9.6 percent or 4.9 million U.S. students were classified as English Learners in 2016 (source: National Center for Education Statistics).  At BetterLesson, we firmly believe that all teachers need to be equipped with the strategies and tools to teach each of the students in their classrooms, and provide personalized support, modifications, and accommodations to engage diverse learners with complex tasks and texts.

What success looks like

Students' diverse needs should be met in all grade levels and content areas. In classrooms in which all students' needs are met, students are: 

  • engaging in learning that is appropriately challenging and motivating for them
  • acquiring information in multiple and flexible ways, assisted by their teacher
  • demonstrating their comprehension in multiple, flexible ways
  • demonstrating their development of language and discipline-specific conceptual understanding at the same time
  • aware of their learning accommodations and employing them to access and engage with curricular content
  • engaged in a classroom environment in which they can access tasks and content that are appropriate for them

Featured Strategies

Use data to analyze gaps in student learning and create a personalized learning plan for students
Use data to analyze gaps in student learning and create a personalized learning plan for students
Learn how to welcome EL newcomers into both the classroom and school community
Learn how to welcome EL newcomers into both the classroom and school community
Building upon and activating prior knowledge helps make learning accessible and engaging for students
Building upon and activating prior knowledge helps make learning accessible and engaging for students

Growth Areas

BetterLesson growth areas are targeted goals for growth in a learning domain through BetterLesson Coaching. Learn more about BetterLesson Coaching.
I engage students by understanding their interests, offering appropriate challenge, and increasing motivation to learn
I provide students with multiple and flexible methods to acquire knowledge based on individual learning strengths
I provide students with multiple and flexible ways to demonstrate what they have learned
I integrate English language skill instruction - including reading, writing, speaking, and listening - across content areas to promote language development and build content knowledge
I utilize purposeful supports and scaffolds to ensure all students have equitable access to the learning environment, tasks, and content

Additional Reading

BetterLesson Blog Posts: 

External Resources:

How BetterLesson Can Help

We provide personalized, continuous support to help teachers and instructional leaders make growth towards their professional goals.
Get in Touch