Mathematical problem-solving styles in the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals
Erickson, Elizabeth E. A.
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This study explored the mathematical problem-solving styles of middle school and high school deaf and hard-of-hearing students and the mathematical problem-solving styles of the mathematics teachers of middle school and high school deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The research involved 45 deaf and hard-of-hearing students and 19 teachers from a Midwestern state residential school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and from the public school district which surrounds the residential school.This research utilized the framework of mathematical problem-solving styles, based on the work of Dr. Steve Chinn and others. Mathematical problem-solving styles are related to the types of strategies used when approaching mathematical tasks. On one end of the spectrum there are strategies which approach mathematics in a formulaic way, using step-by-step approaches to solving mathematical problems. On the other end of the spectrum there are strategies which approach mathematics from a holistic perspective, making use of patterns and relationships.The results showed that, in general, the students demonstrated a strong tendency toward the use of formulaic step-by-step approaches in solving mathematical problems, while the teachers tended to use both step-by-step approaches and holistic approaches involving mathematical patterns and relationships.No significant difference in mathematical problem-solving style was found between deaf and hard-of-hearing students in residential educational settings and deaf and hard-of-hearing students in mainstream educational settings, or between teachers in residential settings and teachers in mainstream settings. A very weak linear relationship, however, was identified linking students who had spent a larger proportion of their education in residential settings for the deaf and hard-of-hearing with a greater tendency for step-by-step formulaic approaches. Among the teachers, a weak linear relationship was identified that linked more years of teaching experience with a greater tendency toward holistic approaches. It was also found that mathematics teachers utilized more holistic approaches while special education resource teachers (who taught mathematics to deaf and hard-of-hearing students) used more step-by-step approaches. It was further discovered that teachers who had completed at least one course at the calculus level utilized more holistic approaches involving patterns and mathematical relationships than teachers who had completed only mathematics courses below calculus.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of literature -- Methods -- Data analysis -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Permission to use the Test of Thinking Style in Mathematics -- Appendix B. Consent and assent forms for participants -- Appendix C. Demographic surveys for students and teachers -- Appendix D. Data analysis concerning gender and mathematical style