Ulrika Vanhoenacker, special education teacher at the National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools

Making Mathematics Accessible

- A study of how paraeducators work with adaptations

In Sweden all braille reading students are included in elementary school and they attend regular classes with a class teacher and a paraeducator, where the paraeducator often has some kind of teacher education.

Ulrika will present a study that aim to highlight how paraeducators work with adaptations in mathematics for 7-9 year old braille reading students. It was a qualitative study where three paraeducators were observed and interviewed.

All three paraeducators showed tactile material or whispered to the student at the same time as the class teacher explained mathematics for all students, including the student with blindness. Some of these simultaneous activities would easily have been avoided if the class teacher had verbalized her teaching, named the objects, rather than using expressions like "this" or “that”. As the students with blindness did not have time to finish all tasks, a priority of the mathematical tasks needed to be done in advance based on the student's knowledge. In this session, you will learn about how a teacher and a paraeducator planned the teaching together in advance. Other successful factors were to verbalize the mathematical teaching and be aware of when to introduce tactile materials.

Handout file (opens in new window, word)

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