Special Assignment: Math Learning for All

A unique project in Singapore is helping bring math literacy to some of the nation’s most vulnerable students.

Monday, Dec 11, 2023 • Written by Monique Bird :

Bree Jimenez instructing a class of teachersA special education professor for UT Arlington's College of Education is on special assignment in Singapore, helping the country to better support math education for students living with autism, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities.

Dr. Bree Jimenez, associate professor of special education, was recently invited by the Singapore Ministry of Education to participate in a national project designed to bring research-based numeracy instruction to all students through systematic instruction, story-based math lessons, graphic organizers, and the use of manipulatives.

“I was asked to come out and spend several days in schools, providing professional development to their teachers and working with the ministry’s numeracy team to think about how to support a national ‘syllabus’ for numeracy instruction for students with disability,” said Jimenez, noting that her past research with math education caught the attention of government officials.

Bree Jimenez instructing a class of teachersJimenez noted that much of the past, many students with more complex disabilities in Singapore were not expected to learn math concepts, beyond time and money.

“The country has made a commitment to develop standards and increase national expectations that all students engage in high-quality rigorous numeracy and math instruction,” said Jimenez, who also serves as program director for UTA's M.Ed. in Special Education. “But the goal is not only that the students engage in learning math, but also that their teachers will use research and evidence based teaching strategies in their instruction.”

Bree Jimenez instructing round tablesShe added that the project may expand.

“We are currently working to develop plans for a partnership in the coming two to three years as they introduce the syllabus, which will include math curriculum standards and then as they work to provide support to teachers to implement the new syllabus,” said Jimenez.