A singularity theory: unifying pedagogical differences between "abled" and learning "disabled" writers


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Towson University. Professional Writing Program

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Universal Design in Learning (UDL) was designed to provide support for students with learning disabilities (LD). It gives flexibility to both teaching and learning: how to present information (teaching), how to receive and respond to information (learning), and how to create a classroom space that is both accommodating and challenging to students with LD. UDL is a fairly recent installment, enacted in 2008, addressing the question of how to teach students with LD - a legislative pairing to LD pedagogy theory - while the field of Rhetoric/Composition (Rhet/Comp) has existed for decades, though it is not necessarily wedded to any specific demographic, such as LD. This piece will review works from LD and Rhet/Comp theorists, as well as individuals who have influenced or are influenced by Rhet/Comp. It will look at the theory and practice of teaching LD and non-LD students, what the differences are and, in some cases, shouldn't be, and how to create a singularity theory that merges UDL with already existing theories and practices in the field of Rhet/Comp. In order to do this, two schools of thought will be discussed, compared, and re-thought to the extent that the two can be latticed together. In the end, this thesis will posit the idea of singularity - that pedagogical segregation should not necessarily the result of being different nor should it be the initial reaction in the discussion of how to teach students with LD.