Which teaching methods are most effective for maths?

James Hiebert and Douglas Grouws reveal what elements of maths teaching have been shown to help pupils’ conceptual understanding and their skill efficiency

DECIDING WHICH TEACHING METHODS are most effective for increasing pupils’ learning continues to be one of the great challenges for educational research. Should teachers use Method A or Method B? Which one will show the best results?

What we know
● To improve conceptual understanding make explicit the important mathematical relationships and ask pupils to “work and wrestle”.
● To improve skill efficiency use rapid pacing, modelling and moving to error-free practice.
● Balance these two approaches, with a heavier emphasis on conceptual understanding.

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October 2009