Mr Barton Maths Podcast

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The Mr Barton Maths Podcast: "changing useless time into CPD time" - @MrsG on Twitter

On the Mr Barton Maths Podcast I interview guests from the world of education who interest and inspire me. They may be fellow teachers, bloggers, thinkers, or people of influence. As well as discussing my guest's particular areas of interest, I always like to dig deep into their lesson planning process, and ask them to describe lessons that did not go so well and what they learned from the experience. Be warned, these interviews are intended to be long and in-depth, and are probably best digested across a few journeys to work or a few laps of the park with your dog.

It makes me so happy that many teachers are using these podcasts as CPD, either listening in the car, on long walks and bike rides, or doing the dishes. That was never the original intention, but it makes sense - I learn so much from each of my guests, so I shouldn't be surprised that others do too :-) I really hope you find my guests as interesting and inspiring as I do, thanks so much for listening, and please help spread the word!

To subscribe for free to the Mr Barton Maths podcast, so you never miss an episode, just follow these links: iTunes   Android   RSS feed or just click on an individual episode to listen right away.

Often my guests recommend books and research papers for teachers to read. You can find details of all of these here:
Recommended Books for Teachers to Read
Recommended Educational Research Papers for Teachers to Read

Speaking to the wonderful guests on my podcast also inspired me to write my own book: How I wish I'd taught maths: Lessons learned from research, conversations with experts and 12 years of mistakes. The book is my attempt to distill all I have learned, and the practical changes I have made to my planning, lessons and thinking. It is published by John Catt Education Ltd, and can be bought via Amazon or directly from John Catt. For details on the associated series of workshops, please click here. I really hope you enjoy it.

Sponsorship/advertising opportunity
Would you like to reach thousands of engaged, influential teachers to help spread your message in a relatively low-cost, innovative way? If so, then you may wish to consider sponsoring an episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast. There are single and multi-episode options available. Drop me an email at [email protected] to discuss further.

Greg Ashman: The Truth about Teaching
Following his game-changing appearance on the podcast in early 2017, Greg Ashman returns to talk about his wonderful book, The Truth about Teaching. And this is one sequel that does not disappoint. We cover everything from effect sizes to growth mindset, calling in at game-based learning, slow-motion problem solving and whole class feedback along the way. This is definitely one to share with your non-maths teaching colleagues.

Slice of Advice: What did you learn this year?
In an experimental episode, I asked 50+ of my favuorite people one question: "what did you learn this year?". You will hear from the likes of Dylan William, Andrew Smith, Katharine Birbalsingh, Claire Sealy, Andrew Percival, Dan Meyer, and many others talking all things from feedback, work-life balance, signalling, metacognition, working abroad, and everything in between. A must listen for teachers of all subjects and age groups.

Conference Takeaways: JustMaths 2018
After the JustMaths on 25rd June 2018, Jo Morgan (@mathsjem) and I sat down in Alton Towers to share our thoughts and takeaways on the sessions we had seen. We discuss the interesdting ways AQA are using their exam questions, Mel and Seagar's secrets of their success, Ofqual's take on last summer's GCSEs, Edexcel's reaction to Year 11s Twitter postings, Jo's favourite new maths resource sites, and just why am I both dangerous and clueless?

Conference Takeaways: MathsConf15
After the LaSalle Maths Conference in Manchester on 23rd June 2018, Jo Morgan (@mathsjem) and I sat down to share our thoughts and takeaways on the sessions we had seen. In a cracker of an episode (if I do say so myself!), we discuss AQA's Level 2 Certificate, the role of storytelling, Desmos, teaching indices in depth, working in a department with non-specialists, intelligent variation, and plenty more.

Conference Takeaways: Festival of Education 2018
I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the Festival of Education. And if that wasn't enough, I also got to reflect on each day's session with Kris Boulton (@Kris_Boulton) from a sun-soaked Master's garden. So sit back, relax and listen to us discuss everything from curriculum, knowledge, reading, measuring progress, Ofsted, and even Love Island
Festival of Education Day 1
Festival of Education Day 2

GCSE Maths Special: Graham Cumming and Karen Wilkinson
With the summer 2018 Maths GCSEs finally behind us, I thought it would be nice to reflect on the experiences of teachers and students over the first two years of sitting of the new GCSE Maths specification. And who better to join me on this voyage of discovery than my very own Head of Department, Karen Wilkinson, and the Head of Maths at Edexcel, Graham Cumming. Settle yourselves down for an enlightening discussion on good and bad questions, tiering decisions, and much, much more.

Tom Sherrington: The Learning Rainforest
Tom Sherrington is a vastly experienced teacher and headteacher, blogger, speaker, and the author of one of my favourite books, The Learning Rainforest: Great teaching in real classrooms. In the episode we tackle all the big issues, from curriculum to assessment, lesson observations to different approaches to teaching. No matter what your subject, I think you will enjoy this one.

Conference Takeaways: researchEd Rugby
After the researchEd in Rugby on 9th June 2018, Jemma Sherwood (@jemmaths) and I sat down to share our thoughts and takeaways on the sessions we had seen. We discussed when it is best to introduce algebra, things we have not borrowed from higher performing regions, knowledge organisers, marking, getting carried away with research, and much more!

Harry Fletcher-Wood: Responsive Teaching
I have been a huge fan of Harry Fletcher-Wood's writing for many years. He was a great inspiration for my work on Diagnostic Questions, and his innovative use of Twitter to summarise research findings is essential reading. I loved this interview. We structure our conversation around Harry's book, Responsive Teaching, and get into areas including writing lesson objectives, formative assessment, marking, feedback and much more besides!

Conference Takeaways: Comparative Judgement
In this special Conference Takeaways episode, myself and English teacher Jon Sellick reflect on what we learned from attending a workshop entitled Refining assessment and reducing workload, delivered by Daisy Christodoulou, which was all about the fascinating concept of Comparative Judgement. And just as you are getting sick of our voices, I am delighted to say that Daisy herself joins us to answer a few key questions, marking her return to the podcast following her very well-received 2017 appearance.

Dylan Wiliam - the return! Creating the schools our children need
Dylan Wiliam's 2016 appearance on the podcast remains the most listened to episode of all-time, and is always the one I direct first-time listeners to. And now Dylan is back to talk about his new book, Creating the Schools our Children need. In this episode we cover so much ground, including why decreasing class sizes is not as effective as you might think, why problem solving and critical thinking are not skills, how to harness the power of forgetting, and what is Dylan's view on how his work on formative assessment has been applied in schools. It is another classic!

Alison Kiddle and Charlie Gilderdale: NRICH
Alison and Charlie work for NRICH, a website of rich maths activities and problems that I am sure most of my maths teaching audience have heard of and visited. But how can we get the very best out of NRICH? Are the activities only suitable for our highest attainers? And how on earth will my students develop fluency in key skills whilst doing them? It is these questions and more that I wanted the answers to, and Alison and Charlie certainly delivered!

Lucy Crehan: Cleverlands
Lucy is the author of one of my favourites books of last year, Cleverlands, which documents her journey and the lessons she learned from visiting some of the highest performing education regions in the world. In this interview we dig deep into why regions such as Japan, Singapore, Finland and Canada do so well and what - if anything - we can learn from them.

Conference Takeaways: BCME 2018
Jo Morgan (@mathsjem) and I spent four days at the BCME conference in April of 2018, and decided to record a podcast each night - it sounded a good idea at the time. Hear our thoughts on all things from variation, manipulatives, A Level teaching, tough GCSE questions, pub quizzes and Hannah Fry...
BCME Day 1
BCME Day 2
BCME Day 3
BCME Day 4

Conference Takeaways: researchEd Blackpool
After the researchEd in Blackpool on 24th March 2018, Simon Cox (@MathsMrCox) and I sat down to share our thoughts and takeaways on the sessions we had seen, which included sessions from Tom Bennett, Carl Henrdick, Robin Macpherson, Mark Healy, Tom Sherrington and Harry Fletcher-Wood. Hopefully this will be of interest and use to anyone who was unable to make the conference. I even managed to keep the discussion to under an hour!

Oliver Lovell: Planning, running a maths department and Cognitive Load Theory
Ollie Lovell is a high school maths teacher from Australia. He is also an incredible thinker. Like me, he is a little obsessed with educational research and how he can apply it to the greatest effect in his classroom. In an epic 3+ hour interview we dig into how Ollie has planned out a new approach to teaching Year 12, how he runs a maths department, and his views (and questions!) about Cognitive Load Theory. I loved this interview!

Conference Takeaways: MathsConf14
After the LaSalle Maths Conference in Kettering on 10th March 2018, Jo Morgan (@mathsjem) and I sat down to share our thoughts and takeaways on the sessions we had seen, which included sessions by Naveen Rizvi, Dani Quinn and Hinal Bhudia, Kris Boulton and Bernie Westacott. Hopefully this will be of interest and use to anyone who was unable to make the conference. I even managed to keep the discussion to under an hour!

Anne Watson and John Mason: Variation, questioning, visualising and developing mathematical thinkers
Anne Watson and John Mason are two of the most influential people in the history of mathematics education. Their books, papers and workshops have influenced generations of maths teachers and this directly improved the experience of teaching and learning maths for hundreds of thousands of students. In this interview we look back over their careers, and then dive deep into the principles of Variation Theory, how to ask good questions and the importance of visualisation.

Helen Hindle: Mixed attainment teaching and growth mindset
Helen is an experienced maths teacher and head of department. She is also the organiser of the Mixed Attainment Maths Conference. Mixed attainment (or as I often mistakenly call it, mixed ability) teaching is an area I am woefully inexperienced in and clueless about, so it was incredible to speak to Helen to get to the bottom of why she believes in it so much, and how to make it as effective as possible. Along the way we also tackle the concept of a growth mindset, and how Helen tries to instill that in her students.

Amir Arezoo: Lean maths departments, deep work, schemes of work
Amir is an experienced maths teacher, someone who has been head of maths in several schools, and who is now Vice Principal for Raising Achievement at Horizon Community College in Barnsley. Listeners have requested more interviews with experienced and successful teachers, so they can learn from their habits, processes and past mistakes, and Amir certianly delivers. We talk about running successful departments, planning lessons, creating opportunities for deep work, what makes a good scheme of work, and a lot more!

Jane Jones: Ofsted, observations, marking, reasoning
Jane is a former teacher and head of maths who is now the HMI National Lead for Mathematics - to me and you that means she is the most senior maths specialist in Ofsted. In this revealing interview Jane discusses everything from observation and marking, setting and reasoning, and a lot more besides. Whether you are due an Ofted inspection, just had one, or simply curious about what Ofsted are looking for, this is the interview for you.

Carl Hendrick and Robin Macpherson: What does this look like in the classroom?
Carl and Robin are the authors of the exceptional book: What does this look like in the classroom? The book collects together a quite ridiculously impressive line-up of contributors, including Dylan Wiliam, Doug Lmeov, David Didau, Dasiy Christodoulou, and more, to summarise and clarify key research findings and how teachers can use them directly in the classroom. In this interview I dig into the key things the authors themselves took away from their book, and what listeners could change tomorrow to have a positive effect.

Colin Foster: Mathematical Etudes, Confidence and Questioning
Colin Foster is a former maths teacher who is now an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Research in Mathematics Education in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham. We talked about Mathematical Etudes, or what I term Purposeful Practice. I believe this is one of the most important types of practice we can give our students, allowing them to become fluent in key skills, whilst also developing problem solving capabilities. We also discuss the role of confidence in learning, and what makes a good question. I loved this interview.

Doug Lemov: Teach like a Champion and Top Tips for delivering training
Doug Lemov is a legend. As the author of Teach Like a Champion, he has had a major impact on my teaching and thinking over the last two years. I this interview we discuss several key strategies from the book, looking at the practical ways we can implement them in the maths classroom. We then turn our attention to teacher training, and Doug shares some wonderful advice for anyone delivering a training session to their colleagues. This is a cracker.

Peps Mccrea: Planning, Memorable Teaching and Teacher Expertise
Peps has done it all. He is a former Fasttrack maths teacher and Senior Lecturer in mathematics education. He has been a National Curriculum Advisor for the DfE, External Examiner at the OU, and is the author of Lean Lesson Planning and Memorable Teaching. He now leads on the Institute for Teaching’s Masters in Expert Teaching course. We had a great time digging into three areas that really interest me: lean, effective lesson planning; making our teaching memorable; and helping teachers determine and develop expertise in their profession. Get your pen and paper ready for this one, there are nuggets left, right and centre.

Lucy Rycroft-Smith: Cambridge Mathematics, Setting, Times Tables, Anxiety
Lucy is the Research and Communications Officer at Cambridge Mathematics. I base my interview around five key questions from Lucy's espresso research series: What are the effects of attainment grouping on mathematics learning? What are the issues in learning and assessing times tables? How does maths anxiety affect mathematics learning? How does assessing confidence affect learning and testing in mathematics? How can mathematics teaching be measured? But we cover a lot more besides!

Kris Boulton - Part 2: Minimal guided instruction, Understanding, How before Why
Kris returns to the podcast for another epic. This time we cover Kris' concerns with minimal guided approaches to teaching, such a discovery and inquiry based learning. We also delve into what it actually means to understand something in maths, and whether we as teachers can ever truly assess that understanding. Finally, how do you decide if you should teach the How before the Why?

Andrew Blair interview from 2014: Inquiry Maths and being Head of Department
My first interview with Andrew caused something of a stir (in a good way!), so I thought it would be useful to release an interview I did with Andrew back in 2014 for my TES Maths Podcast. Here Andrew describes a completely open-ended inquiry lesson, as well as sharing some excellent advice on being a Head of Department.

Andrew Blair: Inquiry Maths
Andrew is a head of maths at the creator of We spoke about planning and delivering inquires in mathematics, explicit  instruction, developing fluency, problem solving, and evaluated evidence related to memory, motivation and purpose.

Rachel Webster: How your Year 7s have been taught maths
Rachel is an experienced primary maths teacher. We spoke about what primary maths lessons look like, what topics they have covered, their problem solving skills, their use of manipulatives, what students might be expecting maths lessons to look like at secondary school, and much more.

Chief Examiner Trevor Senior: How GCSE Maths exams are written
Trevor is AQA’s Chief Examiner for the Maths GCSE. We spoke about when the GCSE maths writing process starts, who is involved, what makes a good question and what makes a bad question, what are the difficulties, how exams are marked, and much more. This is a great listen now we have finally made it through the first new specification GCSE cohort, and essential listening as we prepare for the next!

Nick Rose: Mindset, Misconceptions and Differentiation
Nick is a former science teacher who now works as a researcher for TeachFirst. He is also the co-author of the outstanding book What Every Teacher needs to know about Psychology. We spoke about inducing cognitive conflict, the dangers of differentiation, whether growth mindset is really a thing, and much more!

Ed Southall - Part 2: Puzzles and Lessons from Japan
Ed returns to the show following the launch of his book Yes, but why? Teaching for Understanding in Maths. This time around we spoke about why maths puzzles are important, what makes a good puzzle, how maths lessons are taught in Japan, what we can learn from this approach, and how much student discussion should happen during examples.

Kris Boulton - Part 1: Lesson Planning, Englemann, Differentiation
Kris is, quite possibly, the cleverest person I know. Will Emney describes him as "cerebral". Kris is a former maths teacher who was second in department at King Solomon Academy, where he worked alongside fellow podcast guest Bruno Reddy, achieving incredible GCSE results in challenging circumstances. Kris now works for TeachFirst, where he is Associate Director of Participant Development. We spoke in depth about how Kris plan his lessons, focusing on sequences not individual lessons, the influence of Siegfried Englemann, successful interleaving and the role of differentiation.

Robert and Elizabeth Bjork - Memory, Forgetting, Testing, Desirable Difficulties
Robert and Elizabeth Bjork are my heroes. The Godfather and Godmother of memory (my name for them, not theirs!), and they have transformed my teaching. It was an honour to talk to them. We spoke about how memory works, why forgetting is so important, why tests are far more than tools of assessment, when and why to make learning difficult, optimal spacing schedules, how to interleave successfully, and a whole lot more.

SPECIAL: Bedley Brothers Podcast: The pitfall of inquiry based learning with Craig Barton
My attempt to break the US as I am interviewed on the excellent Bedley Brothers podcast about my views on Direct Instruction versus discovery based learning. Apparently this interview proved a little controversial when it was aired in the States...

Dani Quinn - Part 2: Michaela School, Behaviour, Drills, Culture
Dani Quinn, the Head of Maths at Michaela Community School, returns! In the follow-up to the controversial first interview we spoke about the behaviour policy at Michaela, the practice of drilling, teaching for understanding and the staff culture.I wonder if I will get told to "go to hell" as a result of this one.

Daisy Christodoulou – Assessment, Multiple Choice Questions, 7 Myths about Education
Daisy is one of the leading assessment figures in education in the UK. Her two books - Seven Myths about Education and Making good progress? - have transformed my teaching practice. We spoke about what makes a good assessment, the importance of planning examples, the power of multiple choice questions, the dangers of an over-reliance on past papers, comparative judgement and more!

Dani Quinn - Part 1: Michaela, Lesson Planning and Low Stakes Tests
Dani is the head of mathematics at the controversial Michaela Community School. We spoke at length about what maths lessons at Michaela Community School looks like, the importance of their weekly test, and how competition between students is used.

Greg Ashman - Cognitive Load Theory and Direct Instruction v Inquiry Based Learning
Greg is a head of maths in Australia and a prolific and influential blogger at Filling the Pail. We spoke about the implications of Cognitive Load Theory for planning and teaching mathematics (although the lessons are applicable to all subjects), and why Greg prefers direct instruction as opposed to inquiry based approaches to learning.

Paul Rowlandson - Bar Modelling, Questioning, Shanghai, Tokyo & Training Teachers
Paul is a maths teacher and a leading expert on bar modelling. We spoke about planning for understanding, bar modeling, advice on questioning, what Paul learned from his trips to Shanghai and Toyko, advice for teacher training and much more.

Tom Bennett - Behaviour, Teacher Workload and ResearchEd
Tom is the UK's leading figure on behaviour in schools, and the founder of ResearchEd. We spoke about in depth about managing behaviour in the classroom, including addressing some common myths. We also spoke about how best to tackle teacher workload, and what Tom considers to be the most important pieces of educational research.

John Corbett - Flipped Learning, Making Videos and Corbett Maths
John is an experienced maths teacher and the legend behind the ridiculously good Corbett Maths. We spoke about planning and delivering lessons using a flipped learning approach, the process that goes into creating maths videos, writing good maths questions, and advice for new teachers.

Dylan Wiliam - Author, Researcher, Trainer and Assessment for Learning Expert
Dylan Wiliam is my hero. I know this is a big claim, but I think this interview is an absolute must-listen for teachers of all subjects, possibly all humans full-stop. We spoke about feedback, planning, questioning, research, lesson observations, what Dylan wishes he had known when he started teaching, and so much more. I genuinely have listened back to this interview more than 5 times, and I pick up something new on each listen. Thank you Dylan!

Ed Southall - Part 1: PGCE Tutor, Teacher and SolveMyMaths
Ed is a maths teacher, blogger, Twitterer, teacher trainer, and the author of Yes, but why? Teaching for Understanding in Maths. We spoke about good questioning, dodgy plenaries, creating a safe learning environment, and false conventional wisdom

Beth Lilley - A year as an NQT
At the time of recording, Beth had just finished her first year as a maths teacher. We spoke about the pressures of being an NQT, maintaining a work-life balance, and Beth shares her top tips for surviving and thriving during a grueling year.

Jamie Frost – Dr Frost Maths and Teaching High Achievers
Jamie is an experienced maths teacher at the high achieving Tiffin School. He is also the creator of the outrageously good Dr Frost Maths website. We spoke about planning sequences of lessons, the importance of internalising concepts, and teaching high achievers.

Mark McCourt – Ofsted, emaths, La Salle Education and NCETM
Mark is a legend in the world of maths education. He is a former head of maths, Ofsted Insepctor, Headteacher, creator of emaths, creator of Complete Maths, and the organiser of the amazing La Salle Maths Conferences. We spoke about Ofsted lesson observations, teacher training, being Head of Department and why Mark has never marked a book in his life!

Stefanie Sullivan – Maths PGCE Tutor from Nottingham University
Stef is in charge of the PGCSE programme at Nottingham University, and was my tutor when I trained there many years ago. We spoke in-depth about the lesson planning process, habits of successful trainees, and the most common reasons for teachers leaving the profession.

Will Emeny – Great Maths Teaching Ideas and Numeracy Ninjas
Will is a genius. He is a head of maths, blogger, and the creator of Numeracy Ninjas. He also has a keen interested in cognitive science, and memory in particular. We spoke about  being a successful Head of Department, prior learning dependency flow and the fascinating subject of memory

Dan Meyer – dy/dan, 3 Act Math and Desmos
Dan is possibly the most famous maths teacher in the world. His TED talk and subsequent work on 3 Act Math had a huge influence on my career. We spoke about good and bad uses of technology in teaching and learning, the future of Desmos and the excellent Aspirin and Headache series.

Charlie Stripp – NCETM and MEI
Charlie is a very important man in the world of maths education. He is the head of both the MEI and the NCETM, as well as still finding time to teach maths. We spoke about the importance of times tables, Mastery teaching and the best and worst features of the new maths GCSE.

Bruno Reddy – Times Table Rockstars and
Bruno is incredible. He is the former head of maths at the pioneering King Solomon Academy, and the creator of the global dominating Times Tables Rockstars. We spoke about creating the right culture in lessons and in school, homework and written feedback, mixed attainment classes, Mastery, Shanghai, and much, much more!

Mel Muldowney – JustMaths
Mel is part of the award winning JustMaths team, a prolific blogger, and experienced maths teacher. We spoke about running a maths department, moving to a new school, and her now award-winning way of preparing students for the demands of the Maths GCSE.

Jo Morgan – Resourceaholic
Jo is a maths teacher, head of maths, and award winning blogger. Her Resourceaholic blog is a must visit for all maths teachers, and her Maths Gems posts are always overflowing with gold. We spoke about organising resources, blogging, Twitter and advice for NQTs.

Oxbridge Interview Special
On this episode I interviewed four Year 13 students about their experience in their recent Oxford and Cambridge interviews, which should be useful for anyone thinking of applying or helping a student prepare.

Neil Ogden – Maths Specialist at OCR
As part of my trilogy of interviews with the awarding bodies about the new Maths GCSE, and what it is like to do their job, I spoke to Neil Ogden from OCR

Graham Cumming – Head of Maths at Edexcel
As part of my trilogy of interviews with the awarding bodies about the new Maths GCSE, and what it is like to do their job, I spoke to Neil Ogden from OCR

Andrew Taylor – Head of Maths at AQA
As part of my trilogy of interviews with the awarding bodies about the new Maths GCSE, and what it is like to do their job, I spoke to Neil Ogden from OCR