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How to Address Difficulties in Math

The third chapter deals with the analysis of the instruments for addressing difficulties in mathematics.




How to address Difficulties and Learning Disabilities in Math

Table of Content

Introduction

This chapter is aimed at presenting and discussing the ways to address difficulties and learning disabilities in mathematics that were developed and tested during the SMILD project.
As pointed out in Chapter 1, the way of addressing difficulties and learning disabilities varies across states. What is common is the fact that the teacher plays a crucial role in identifying difficulty, understanding it and deciding how to act, with the final aim of helping the student. The SMILD project is exactly conceived to work for the teachers and with the teachers to help students in need. Such a way of addressing difficulties and learning disabilities is organized in two steps: at first, it is necessary to understand such difficulties, that is to say identify profiles of difficulty. This is done in the project by means of two questionnaires (B1 and B2), that are described in detail in Intellectual Output 1. Once identified the profiles of difficulty of the students, it is possible to design and implement intervention tools for a specific difficulty, that can be used by the teacher in interaction with a single student or when teaching to the whole class.

A key feature of the entire project is the fact that the design of the questionnaires and of the interventions tools is inspired by the state of the art of research and practice on mathematical learning difficulties and disabilities. Within the project we identified theoretical tools that may frame the design and management of the intervention tools for individual students and/or for the whole class. Such theoretical tools helped us to identify general guidelines for the design of efficient intervention tools. Moreover, we designed and tested intervention tools (Intellectual Output 2) addressing specific difficulties. The final product is a free accessible set of ICT based tools available in English plus the 3 different languages represented within the project consortium (Italian, Polish and Portuguese) in order to ensure high transferability potential of the intellectual output. An interesting feature is that each partner proposed intervention tools that were designed in reference to a specific national context, but that now, thanks to the project, can be exploited also by the teachers of other countries. Another relevant issue is the fact that the design followed a cross-national review, so that each intervention tool was improved thanks to the comments of the project partners.

This chapter contains:

  • The theoretical framework that was used to design effective intervention tools. Such theoretical framework refers to inclusive education approaches (udl principles, see http://udlguidelines.cast.org/ ) and to formative assessment (inspired by the fasmed project, see https://research.ncl.ac.uk/fasmed/ );

  • The guidelines we developed for the design of the intervention tools; we point out that the guidelines should in principle also frame the design of other intervention tools by the teachers that read this chapter;

  • Some examples of intervention tools that were designed and tested; we point out that more intervention tools are described in Intellectual Output 2.
    The contents are developed in order to make full use of ICT and media available on-line and addressed to teaching and learning Math, providing external links to portals, websites, on-line publication, pdf documents, videos etc.



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The SMiLD project is funded by the European Commission through the Italian National Agency for the Erasmus+ Programme. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.