Support for teachers in implementing adaptations for students with learning difficulties in mathematics


The project aims to upgrade design work on successful overcoming of learning difficulties in primary/basic school.

The project was carried out by the National Education Institute Slovenia (2010-2012) in collaboration with 24 Slovenian primary/basic schools.

Aims of the project

  • to upgrade design work on the successful overcoming of learning difficulties in primary/basic school (Work Concept Learning Difficulties in Elementary School, the Council of Experts for General Education, October 2007).
  • to detect and identify the most typical problems of pupils in mathematics and develop examples of good teaching practice.
  • identify obstacles to the elimination of learning difficulties.
  • contribute to the development of special didactics in mathematics.
  • to promote effective approaches to the teaching and learning of pupils with learning difficulties.
  • to follow up pupils’ progress systematically.
  • to encourage cooperation among all participants.
  • to prepare and to produce recommendations for teaching and learning of pupils with learning difficulties in mathematics.

Basic information

Country: Slovenia

Coordinator: National Education Institute Slovenia,


Programme: Other

Project Acronym:

Target groups: education authorities, parents, researchers, teachers, trainee teachers

Topic: Maths

Start year: 2010

End year: 2012


Contact person: Assoc. Prof. Amalija Žakelj, Email: amalija.zakelj (at)

Improving the level of pupils' learning performance outcomes, in particular pupils with learning disabilities, is a challenge for numerous school systems. To enable teachers or schools to carry out adequate assistance measures effectively, a timely identification and detection of causes and characteristic traits of learning difficulties is needed, and then the preparation of suitable plans of help based on empirical findings.

As one of the most common causes, signs of and barriers in pupils’ learning difficulties in mathematics, teachers cite general slower intellectual development, specific deficits in specific areas of learning, lack of educational and work habits and low motivation for school work, which are most often reflected in signs such as slower acquisition of learning materials, difficulties in understanding and implementation of algorithms, difficulties in reading and writing as well as in tasks that require logical thinking, and quite often also short-term focus. And within the learning process, among the most common obstacles for pupils, they mention: understanding of mathematical concepts, development of numerical concepts, logical reasoning, reading and comprehension of texts and application of problem-solving strategies.

The findings of the study suggest that teachers’ identification of pupils’ learning difficulties is closely related to the knowledge of the cognitive, emotional and affective causes of learning difficulties. The results also point to the need for updating and adapting teaching methods to promote positive attitudes towards mathematics and pupils’ confidence in their own abilities, and to increase responsibility and motivation for learning. The result of the research is a didactic approach to the teaching and learning of pupils with learning difficulties in mathematics (model DPMAT), which was developed in the study "Support for teachers in implementing adaptations for pupils with learning difficulties in mathematics".

We can conclude from the results of the research the effects of the model on the competence of teachers to work with pupils with learning difficulties and the need for further training of teachers in the implementation of support measures. But in the background they suggest some other dimensions of teaching mathematics, like, for example, teachers' attitude towards the implementation of various methodological approaches to teaching and learning; they raise new research questions and initiatives that are linked to teachers' collaboration with parents, methodical approaches to teaching and learning at the level of identification of pupils' prior knowledge, the identification and elimination of causes for learning difficulties, and designing a model for effective communication regarding learning difficulties of pupils, etc.

  • teacher training and professional staff services
  • virtual (e)classroom for teachers
  • development of didactic materials for teaching
  • adaptation of methods and forms of work to pupils with learning difficulties
  • Web page of the project
  • cooperation between different participants in the network of student support: parents, teachers, professionals
  • evaluation


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