School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Gail Collins


mathematics difficulties, manipulatives, mathematics, instruction, self-efficacy, middle school teachers, assistive technology




The purpose of this instrumental case study was to examine the experiences of middle school teachers who use manipulatives during math instruction to foster the self-efficacy of students with mathematics difficulties. Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy was the theoretical framework for this study. The study was conducted at the Starlight School for Exceptional Children and at the Kingsway High School in The Bahamas. I recruited 15 participants for this study that included a combination of special and general education teachers who use manipulatives to provide math instruction to middle school students. To attain optimum results, I collected the data in the following order: individual interviews, focus groups, and classroom observations. Data analysis procedures were based on the guidelines outlined by Yin and Stake. The central research question that guided the study asked, How do middle school teachers describe the factors that influence the development of their students’ self-efficacy while using manipulatives during mathematics instruction? The five major themes that emerged from the data analysis included the following: (a) consequences, (b) deliberate practice, (c) modeling, (d) targeted feedback, and (e) instructional changes. The interpretation of findings, along with relevant implications, limitations and delimitations of the study, and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

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