construction of ability and disability

Disability, invisibility, and equity in mathematics (part one)

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. (more…)


A great introduction to mindset from Jo Boaler.

Mindset is incredibly important for kids with disabilities in mathematics.  Too often, kids with disabilities are given the impression that they lack the ability to do complex mathematics.  And, perversely, when kids are labeled LD, they are often told that they are “smart” but their brains are not “wired” to read easily, or do mathematics easily.  In this sense, we are constructing fixed mindsets for kids.  We tell them that kids with LD are smart, and that their abilities in some areas are fixed at a high level, and their abilities in other areas are fixed at a low level. When we know how destructive fixed ability mindsets can be, why do we purposely create them in kids with LD? (more…)