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Research School Network: Overcoming the Obstacles to Teaching Maths Remotely A Primary persepective from USP Maths Lead, Anna Tapper

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Overcoming the Obstacles to Teaching Maths Remotely

A Primary persepective from USP Maths Lead, Anna Tapper

by Unity Research School
on the

Less is more

Unity schools have found that less is more’ has been a beneficial approach to live online delivery of maths. As initial attempts to deliver teacher input for an hour proved to be unproductive, this has been reduced to a maximum of 20 minutes – amalgamating teacher explanation and Oak National Academy video clips. Using these clips in combination with a live teacher who can pause, remind, prompt, and link to prior learning appears to be a particularly useful approach.

Varying the purpose of live sessions has also been productive, and a combination of explanation sessions, drop-in sessions for those pupils needing support, and review sessions where problems are modelled, answers checked, and misconceptions discussed, are all used regularly.

Concerns around pupils’ extensive screen time and potential loss of written maths skills have resulted in a significant portion of work being completed by pupils on paper; away from their laptops. This has also enabled the work set to be less algorithm’ driven and richer in mathematical content.

Written maths

Retrieval practice is a regular focus of classroom teaching, and this has been continued remotely, with questions from last year, month, week, and lesson used, together with teacher prompts linking prior learning to that day’s session.

Those pupils needing additional targeted support have had access to small-group live sessions led by teaching assistants either before or after the main teaching session, and pupils have also had access to a regular maths enrichment club which uses nRich problems to stretch and extend their thinking.

Some restructuring of the curriculum has been necessary. For example, fractions are usually taught in the Spring term which has been impacted by partial closures for two years now, so this has been temporarily moved to the Summer term for this year in order to minimise misconceptions.

Anna Tapper

USP Primary Mathematics Lead

Fruit fractions

'As we approach the end of partial school closures, it’s worth pausing to celebrate the exceptional efforts made by schools, teachers, parents and pupils up and down the country in putting this evidence into practice.'

Simon Cox, Secondary school maths teacher and EEF maths specialist

More reflections from Simon Cox in his EEF blog available here

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