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Teaching addition strategies to students with learning difficulties

Abstract: Background & aims: In recent years, there has been an increased interest in analyzing the mathematical performance of students with learning difficulties in order to provide them with teaching methods adapted to their needs. In particular, the importance of studying the type of informal strategy that students use when solving problems has been highlighted. Observing how these strategies emerge and develop in children with learning difficulties is crucial, as it allows us to understand how they develop a subsequent understanding of arithmetic operations. In this paper we study the effect of explicit instruction in addition strategies, focusing on the minimum addend strategy, and analyze the difficulties that arise during this process. Methods: An adapted multiple-probe design across students with a microgenetic approach was employed to assess the effectiveness of the teaching instruction and the acquisition of the minimum addend strategy while solving addition word problems. The participants were three primary-school children (two boys and one girl) with learning difficulties, one of them diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The instruction on the minimum addend strategy was sequenced into levels of abstraction based on the addends represented with and without manipulatives. Results: The results show that the three participants were able to acquire the minimum addend strategy and transfer it to two-step problems. They all showed difficulties during the instructional process, with quantity comparison difficulties predominating. The instruction provided to address these and other difficulties is detailed for each participant. Conclusions: The teaching of the minimum addend strategy has proven effective, and all three students acquired it throughout the instruction. The results concerning the student diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder are especially interesting given the lack of studies that focus on the strategies employed by students with this disorder to solve arithmetic problems. In this sense, the use of the microgenetic approach was especially useful to observe the type of spontaneous strategies used by this participant, and how they varied in response to the instruction. Implications: Each study participant faced different difficulties and needed different periods of time to assimilate the new strategy. Conclusions are drawn for educators to help children with learning difficulties advance to more sophisticated strategies, so they can acquire these and subsequent mathematical concepts.

 Fuente: Autism & Developmental Language Impairments, 2021, 6, 1-14

Editorial: SAGE

 Año de publicación: 2021

Nº de páginas: 14

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1177/23969415211045324

ISSN: 2396-9415

Proyecto español: EDU2017-84276-R