Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
A disparity in the mathematics performance between students with disabilities (SWDs) and students without disabilities in K-8 grades in international schools may lead to a lack of opportunities for SWDs to take advanced mathematics classes and enter mathematics-related college programs and careers. This problem may be increased if K-8 teachers of SWDs do not use social-constructivist-based practices needed for effective mathematics teaching. The purpose of this bounded qualitative exploratory case study was to explore the constructivist-based practices teachers applied in the mathematics K-8 classrooms for SWDs. Vygotsky's social-constructivism theory was used to guide this study. The research question addressed which social-constructivist principles were used to instruct K-8 SWDs to learn mathematics. Eight K-8 mathematics teachers from 5 international schools were purposefully chosen and volunteered to complete a qualitative questionnaire and to participate in a semistructured interview. Data were analyzed thematically using a priori, open, and axial coding strategies and related to the conceptual framework. Teachers reported building relationships with SWDs to guide and use differentiated instruction, fostering student efficacy, and integrating real-world context and activities in their mathematics instruction. Based on the findings, it is recommended that teachers use self-reflection to align their teaching practices with social-constructivist principles and use self-reflection and feedback opportunities with SWDs to discuss student learning. This endeavor may contribute to positive social change when administrators encourage teachers to use self-reflection and self-assessment of their mathematics instruction to lead SWDs to increased motivation, engagement, and learning, which may result in more options for college majors and career paths for SWDs.