A recent post by my friend and colleague Andrew Benjamin Gael rightly critiqued the recent NCTM conference for omitting disability in current calls for equity. The recent Executive Summary of the Principles to Actions doesn’t mention disability or special education at all. Andrew asked why, and then went on to describe some recent, powerful work on meeting the needs of students with disabilities using the Mathematical Practices.
As a researcher and teacher educator in both special education and mathematics education, I am constantly confronted with the invisibility of kids with disabilities in mathematics education. Continue reading “Disability, invisibility, and equity in mathematics (part one)”
For far too long, the assumption has been that learners with disabilities cannot benefit from constructivist mathematics instruction. This assumption, in my opinion, is based on the highly erroneous idea that kids with disabilities cannot think for themselves, but must be spoon-fed methods. In my experience, this is not true. First, kids with disabilities are a highly diverse group of learners, with different strengths and needs. Second, all learners construct knowledge based on their own experiences and knowledge. Unfortunately, many researchers in special education mathematics seem to misunderstand constructivist mathematics as discovery learning rather than the carefully designed and scaffolded instructional sequence that it is. Here is some new evidence to support that idea, particularly about subtraction. Continue reading “New research on how learners in special education intuitively and accurately use indirect addition for subtraction”