, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 129-153

Deaf children's use of cognitive strategies in simple arithmetic problems

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Abstract

Research shows that deaf children have inferior achievement in simple arithmetic compared to their hearing agemates. The reported study investigates whether the reasons for deaf children's poor achievement can be sought in their strategy development. As this is a central issue, the strategies used by deaf children when solving symbolic addition and subtraction problems are identified, classified and compared to findings from earlier research, involving both deaf and hearing children. The effect of Sign Language in strategy invention and use is the main concern in this study. One result from the present study is that structural aspects of Sign Language counting may influence deaf children's thinking in a way that does not lead to a developed conceptual knowledge base, but instead to refined procedural competence. This is a development in simple arithmetic that is compatible with that of less able hearing children. The counting procedures used by the deaf children involve both oral counting and Sign Language counting. Due to the small sample size, and the shortcomings of the research design, the results are more suggestive than conclusive. Thus, further studies are needed in this area.

This revised version was published online in September 2005 with corrections to the Cover Date.