Interdependency, alternative forms of mathematical agency and joy as challenges to ableist narratives about the learning and teaching of mathematics

Lulu Healy, Elena Nardi, Irene Biza

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Catering for the mathematical needs of disabled learners equitably and productively requires the anti-ableist preparation and professional development of teachers. In CAPTeaM (Challenging Ableist Perspectives on the Teaching of Mathematics), we design tasks that emulate inclusion-related challenges from the mathematics classroom, and we engage teachers with these tasks in workshop settings. In this paper, we focus on evidence from one type of task in which participants engage in small groups with solving a mathematical problem while at least one of them is temporarily and artificially deprived of access to a sensory field or familiar channel of communication. In this paper, we focus on evidence of emerging resignification – discursive and affective shifts in the participating teachers’ sense-making about what makes the construction of mathematical meaning possible and valuably different – as they work on the tasks. By linking Vygotsky’s vision about the educational changes required to empower and include disabled learners with more contemporary ideas from embodied cognition and disability studies, our analyses show how engagement with the tasks affects participants’ realisation and appreciation of interdependencies between learners, teacher, resources, and emotions, highlights alternative forms of mathematical agency and gives opportunities to turn initial sense of impasse and despair into joy.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date4 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2024

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