Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Yan Ping Xin

Committee Chair

Yan Ping Xin

Committee Member 1

Sydney Zentall

Committee Member 2

David Sears

Committee Member 3

Jeffrey Gilger


Conversational repair often occurs in conversations when people attempt to address communicative breakdowns or inaccuracy by way of repeating what have been said or putting them in another way. The review of literature on conversational repair revealed that as an important concept in pragmatic aspect of language, it is an effective strategy to improve communication of different populations with disabilities. However, it is rarely studied in the domain of mathematics and with the population with learning disabilities/difficulties (LD). In current reform-based, discourse-oriented mathematics classrooms, students with LD encounter difficulties articulating or explaining well their reasoning processes due to the mathematical and communicative difficulties they may have. As such, the ability to repair communicative breakdowns or inaccuracy - making conversational repair - is important for them to make progress in classroom discourse and team work.

This study designed the intervention based on the different repair request techniques in the implicit-explicit continuum to elicit repair of self-explanation from students with LD. Using a multiple-baseline-across-participants design, the study found that the intervention was effective for improving the students' problem solving and reasoning ability measured by their word-problem-solving performance and self-explanation performance, respectively. It provided implications for future studies concerning the use of conversational repair in subject domain classroom discourse, especially for individuals with LD.