Supporting Students with Disabilities During Group Activities: Five Tools Every Inclusive Mathematics Educator Needs

Benjamin S. Riden Ph.D.
University of Minnesota Duluth
Andrew M. Markelz Ph.D.
Ball State University
M. Kathleen Heid Ph.D.
Pennsylvania State University


Students with disabilities are increasingly taught in general education settings, including mathematics classes. Too often, math teachers confront challenging behaviors of students with disabilities in inclusive settings. The authors present five efficient tools effective teachers can add to their repertoire to combat problem behaviors during group work that impact learning for students with problem behavior. In order to lead our students to proficiency in the concepts and procedures of mathematics, it is imperative that we have the behavior management skills to support our students in less structured environments like group work activities. In this article we highlight five research-based strategies that can be used to support some of the most challenging behaviors present in inclusive classrooms. Those five tools are assigning student to roles in group work, using proximity control with redirecting (directing student to be on-task), engaging students by using interest boosting techniques, conducting frequent checks for understanding, and delivering behavior-specific praise.

Keywords: group work, mathematics, students with disabilities, inclusion

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