By Paulo Tan, Alexis Padilla, Erica N. Mason, and James Sheldon.
Humanizing Disability in Mathematics Education: Forging New Paths is about enhancing the practices of mathematics teachers by extending the concepts of access, equity, and empowerment to include students living with all types of disabilities. These students are rarely thought of as mathematics doers and thinkers, and so are seldom offered opportunities to engage in mathematics in meaningful and connected ways. Humanizing Disability examines the current mindset and pedagogy that students with different learning needs encounter, and then offers strategies and practices to humanize the mathematics experience for these students.
The authors lay out some key ideas about humanizing mathematics education for students with disabilities. As teachers of mathematics of teacher educators and students with disabilities, as well as with their own backgrounds as learners with identified disabilities, the authors’ case and perspective are informed by hands-on episodes of their work and their own lived experiences.
Foundational to the authors’ advocacy are these compelling concepts:
- Students with disabilities are mathematics doers and thinkers.
- There are multiple ways of knowing and doing mathematics.
- The idea that disability is a tragedy must be resisted.
- Humanizing mathematics education is a matter of human rights to counter conventional, deficit-centered forms of education involving students with disabilities.
- Humanizing the mathematics education of students with disabilities enhances the learning of all.
Humanizing Disability offers practical examples of implementation through the exploration of singular cases of how an Individual Education Plan (IEP) can be a powerful tool for access, equity, and inclusivity for the disabled learner; and of using funds of knowledge and of identity to navigate the education system.