Digital Learning

Visualisation May Be The Missing Link To Maths Proficiency

Steve Chinn shows that many maths difficulties stem from fundamental problems in visualising numbers and patterns. He shares how he has embraced technology to help students visualise maths concepts, especially for those with dyscalculia or other learning disorders.

When I began my career, many years ago, I encountered a number of teaching challenges that did not seem to have easy solutions. As a post-graduate student I taught A Level maths to undergraduate Food Science students who had failed to achieve a ‘pass’ grade. Later on, I was tasked to teach maths to 13-year-old, severely dyslexic students who seemed unable to learn basic maths. I thought dyslexia was about language, about reading and, especially, about spelling. There seemed to be no source of wisdom, neither practical nor theoretical, about how this related to maths learning. The education world had yet to discover the word ‘dyscalculia’. My employers hadn’t told me about how to work with students with these learning difficulties, so, suddenly instead of being a successful teacher in mainstream education, I became a totally ineffective maths teacher in special education.

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