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'I like it instead of maths' : how pupils with moderate learning difficulties in Scottish primary special schools intuitively solved mathematical word problems

Moscardini, L. (2010) 'I like it instead of maths' : how pupils with moderate learning difficulties in Scottish primary special schools intuitively solved mathematical word problems. British Journal of Special Education, 37 (3). pp. 130-138. ISSN 0952-3383

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Abstract

This study shows how a group of 24 children in three Scottish primary schools for pupils with moderate learning difficulties responded to word problems following their teachers' introduction to the principles of Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI). CGI is a professional development programme in mathematics instruction based on constructivist principles developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The study found that the sample group of pupils were able to develop their understanding of mathematical concepts through actively engaging in word problems without prior explicit instruction and with minimal teacher adjustments. The pupils' conceptual understandings demonstrated by their solution strategies within CGI activities were generally not consistent with classroom records of assessment. The results were encouraging in illustrating the capacity of the sample group of pupils with moderate learning difficulties to reveal their mathematical thinking and considers the importance of this insight for instructional decision making.