Teaching material

Teaching Mathematics

Mathematics is a fundamental part of our daily lives. Numbers, shapes and formulae are all around us: in money, measurements, work, the household, and leisure. Reading diagrams, understanding the news, measuring recipe ingredients, paying bills, going shopping and checking change, and even playing board games – they all depend on an understanding of maths and the ability to manipulate figures. 

While maths is abstract, it is also a very visual subject. For the blind or visually impaired, numbers, equations, shapes, graphs and tables pose special challenges. Counting objects involves feeling for each object in turn. Simple arithmetic involves holding a set of numbers in the head, then performing calculations on them. Performing more complex calculations requires special equipment, such as a brailler or a talking calculator. Equations (algebra), geometry (the hypotenuse of a triangle) and graphs (the shape of a parabola) must be explained in words or converted into tactile forms. Maths is often a feat of memory as much as one of understanding or analytical ability.

This manual is aimed at maths teachers, maths support teachers, resource-room teachers and teaching assistants who work with blind and visually impaired students. These may be:

  • In special schools that cater especially to such learners.
  • In regular schools where there may be one or two such learners in a class of sighted students.