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Dissertation Theses

Contributing factors for improving mathematics teaching for students with intellectual disabilities

  • Contributing factors for improving mathematics teaching for students with intellectual disabilities
  • 2021
    • Hong Kong
    • 1997.7 onwards
    • Unknown or Unspecified
  • Subject-specific training in mathematics teaching for students with intellectual disabilities (IDs) has been little studied in the academic field and is uncommon in the practice of teacher education. Given that teachers face significant challenges in regard to teaching mathematics to ID students, it is necessary to know whether there is a need for subject-specific training. If yes, what kind of subject-specific training do teachers need? What kind of subject-specific knowledge should be covered? How can this kind of training contribute to improving mathematics teaching for ID students?To answer the above questions, this study focuses on one particular teacher professional development programme (BE MATHS programme) for mathematics teachers who teach ID students in special schools in Hong Kong. Programme effects and the contributing factors of the effects are examined to explore whether and how subjectspecific support can contribute to the profession of teaching mathematics to ID students.The study is conducted via a mixed-methods approach. First, it uses quantitative measures to examine teachers’ changes in mathematics teaching efficacy and students’ changes in their academic engaged time in mathematics classes. Second, a qualitative approach is used to explore the contributing factors of the changes.Quantitative results show that the programme has a significant positive effect on teachers’ mathematics teaching outcome expectancy and a conditional positive effect on teachers’ personal mathematics teaching efficacy. It is also found that the programme can improve teachers’ mathematics teaching by engaging more students in mathematics learning.The qualitative findings in this study show that the design of teaching and learning trajectories with subject experts is a substantial learning activity for teachers. During the design process, teachers and subject experts identified knowledge gaps within the mathematical content to be delivered to ID students and successfully inserted intermediate learning stages to bridge the gaps. Three case studies conducted in schools for students with mild, moderate, and severe IDs respectively provide considerable evidence on the existence of specialised content knowledge that is essential to teaching mathematics to ID students. The findings highlight the need to study mathematics teaching problems in special schools from a subject-based perspective and accumulate specialised content knowledge to prepare mathematics teachers for special education and inclusive education.In summary, the study indicates that pedagogical knowledge and a superficial understanding of mathematics (compared with profound understanding of fundamental mathematics) are not enough for teaching mathematics to ID students. The profession of teaching mathematics to ID students can be improved by studying the teaching and learning trajectories of ID students from a subject-specific perspective via a design research approach. The findings have practical implications for professional developers and address how teachers can be better prepared to develop their profession on ID students' mathematics teaching. This is a significant contribution, given that subjectspecific knowledge is lacking by teachers in special schools but has little been addressed in teacher training programmes and academic research fields. All rights reserved.
  • PhD
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong
    • English
  • Dissertation Theses
  • 2022-11-03

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