Unlike quantitative studies which engage the use of statistics qualitative work places greater emphasis on the narrative and in this case on answering the research question. The researchers found that the majority of experts demonstrate that LD affects the understanding of concepts, and this impedes the comprehension of mathematics. They were also able to identify four approaches that produce better results in students with LD. The four approaches, systematic and explicit instruction, Self-instruction, peer tutoring and visual representation have been demonstrated to produce significant results in persons with LD (Steedly et al. 2008, p.3). This finding has multiple implications for the teaching community.
If the teaching community engages these approaches in a systematic and comprehensive manner, it is very possible that more students will learn mathematics easier. To do this may require some retooling in many instances as the associated pedagogy may not be completely understood by present teachers. The retooling is a costly exercise and with the present budgetary constraints, it may not be possible to have a full-scale start (Daniel, 2005). Additionally, the researcher have identified the need to have more research into the area of linking the type of intervention with the nature of the LD. This particular aspect of knowledge is absent at present but it is a critical conceptual cog that will facilitate faster learning, and reduce the trial and error phase. There is an urgent need to have this type of research undertaken by the relevant researchers thus providing better outcomes (Janus, Lefort, Cameron, & Kopechanski, 2007).
The article provided a useful exploration into the problem of teaching persons with LD mathematics. The language used by the authors was scholarly but it did not become heavy reading. It was refreshing that they could present their position without having the reader wade through an endless flow of research related jargon that may not serve to enlighten. I liked the approach taken to compiling the article. It appears that the researchers examine multiple pieces and chose only those that would add the greatest value to the work. This sifting is an aid to the reader. As you read the work, you felt as though you were engaging work that was well thought out and not reading the thinking process of the writers. I found this to be a very useful aspect of this article.
Additionally, the work was very clear. The authors set out to answer a question and they did just that. Along the way, several subordinate questions were raised and these were answered. The one area of concern I had with this aspect was that I felt that they could have included a question on the teacher response to the use of these interventions. The question I believed would have added to the overall usefulness of the piece as you could beforehand observe the challenges and possible pitfalls of attempting to implement such a system.
The main weakness of this work is the lack of explicit details on the process used to choose the authors and to determine who is an expert. There are many experts in a discipline when an author chooses a number of them as representing the ideas of that discipline it is important to understand how that choice is made. In the absence of that information, the reader is left wondering in the dark on this important issue. This is certainly something I would do differently and provide the reader with this information.
I consider the study very successful because they raised a question and answered it in a comprehensive manner. The interventions identified have the potential to make teaching a lot easier and I would not hesitate to adopt them, once I have adequate training and comprehension. This work has left an indelible impression on me and I am encouraged to bring some of these measures into my present practice.
Daniel, Y. (2005). The Textual Construction of High Needs for Funding Special Education in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Education / Revue canadienne de l'education, 28,(4):763-
Janus, M., Lefort, J, Cameron, R., & Kopechanski, L. (2007). Starting kindergarten: Transition issues for children with special needs. Canadian Journal of Education / Revue
canadienne de l'education, 30(3), 628-648.
Marshall, M.N. (1996). Sampling for qualitative research. Family Practice 13 (6): 522-525.