The Voice of Special Education Math Students and their Teachers: A Collaborative Approach to Specially Designed Instruction
Neese-Blackman, Chris Jean
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The perception of high school special education math students and their teachers regarding the collaboration and provision of specially designed instruction was explored in this qualitative study. The theoretical framework proposed that a balance between constructivism and direct instruction within a student-centered classroom would encourage student voice and provide immediate feedback to teachers in their selection and use of instructional strategies. The literature suggests that students offer a unique perspective on learning and that when listened to could have a positive impact. According to fifteen student participants and three special education teachers, collaboration between students and teachers did not exist, yet suggestions for encouraging this two-way dialogue emerged. Additionally, the instructional strategies that were identified as having a positive impact on learning surfaced within the context of three qualities of an effective teacher: student connectedness, differentiated instruction, and subject competence. Recommendations invite school districts to consider subject knowledge in teacher assignment and for policy leaders to include student voice as a component of teacher evaluation systems in an effort to improve math instruction and have a greater impact on student learning.