Mr Barton For Hire
Occasionally I have a spare date in my diary to give a keynote address, run a workshop, deliver bespoke INSET training to a maths department, or work with PGCE students.
I have been fortunate to do these things all over the UK and overseas over the last few years, including Bangkok, Nanjing and Cambodia, both to primary and secondary audiences. My sessions are always hands on, practical, fun, cliche-free and make use of the ideas and resources that I have found successful in my own classroom and with my own students. My aim is always the same: to leave teachers with things they can use in the classroom tomorrow, together with strategies and approaches that will last a lifetime. Without wishing to blow my own trumpet, the evaluations and feedback I receive are always outstanding, and I work hard to provide sessions that will have a long-lasting positive impact for those involved.
Key Note Addresses/Workshopskeyboard_arrow_up
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Below are examples of some of the sessions I deliver. These can be
40-60 minute keynote addresses, or half-day or full-day hands-on
workshops. Sessions may also be bundled together and adapted to fit
your needs, and I may be able to deliver sessions on other aspects
of maths teaching on request. And to reduce the costs, please feel
free to invite other schools or colleagues along. The more the
merrier. If you are interested in discussing further, please email me
The many ways Educational Research has changed the way I teach Mathematics
I have been teaching mathematics for 12 years. I am an Advanced Skills Teacher, TES Maths Advsier, AQA Expert Panel Member, my teaching has been judged as Outstanding in four successive Ofsted inspections, I have been lucky enough to work with students in hundreds of schools, and I have had the honour of delivering workshops to teachers all over the world. And yet only now do I realise I didn't really have a clue what I was doing. Since taking a keen interest in educational research, I have changed my approach in significant ways. I have removed several practices and concepts I had always assumed had to be true, and replaced them with simple strategies based on findings from the fields of cognitive science, psychology, memory, behavioral economics and more. In this interactive workshop we will delve into concepts such as problem solving, effective use of worked examples, the presentation of information, interleaving, spacing, fluency, how to end a lesson, low-stakes testing, retention, motivation, differentiation, marking, feedback, responsive teaching, homework, revision, schemes of work, and more. These will be presented as simple, practical, effective strategies that you can employ straight away, regardless of your teaching experience or the ages of the students you teach. And far from making your life harder, they should save you time and energy, and have a positive impact on the learning and engagement of your students. I genuinely believe I have never taught mathematics better, and my students have never learned more. And I still have a long way to go.
Please note: this workshop is based on the findings of over
100 books and research articles, many of which are summarised on
Research page. It is suitable for teachers of all ages and
experiences, as well as subject leaders and members of SLT. The
workshop can easily last a full day, or be squeezed into
whatever time you have available. If you choose the latter, you
can prioritise the areas you wish me to cover in the allotted
How Cognitive Load Theory changed my life
Since discovering Cognitive Load Theory, I have become a little obsessed. Dylan Wiliam has descried it as "the single most important thing for teachers to know", and he is not wrong. In this interactive workshop I go through the basics of Cognitive Load Theory, discussing each of the "effects" and how they have transformed the way I teach my students. You will learn about the power of worked examples, the importance of knowledge, the presentation of information, goal-free problems, and how we can (and cannot) help our students to become problem solvers. No matter your level of experience or your style of teaching, I am sure there will be plenty of simple, practical and effective strategies you can take away.
How I Plan a Lesson (I promise it is better than it sounds!)
This is essentially the culmination of my work in education over the last 12 years. Using all I have learned from the wonderful teachers I have worked with, whose blogs I have read, who I have interviewed for my Podcast, and the thousands of students I have taught, I have finally got a process for planning lessons that I am happy with. This interactive workshop looks at how you can take a topic - any topic - and plan out a series of lessons, encompassing assessment for learning, differentiation, purposeful practice, problem solving, use of interactive resources, homework, assessment and more. I hope it will change, and improve, the way you plan and teach mathematics for ever.
Preparing Students for the new Maths GCSE
In this interactive workshop we don't just look at the topics that are brand new to the Maths GCSE, such as Venn Diagrams, Functions, Quadratic Inequalities and more, but also those whose content has subtly changed, such as Trigonometry, Transformations and Data Collection. In my opinion, it is how students are prepared for the latter more than the former, that will determine how well they do. We will look at these topics in depth, and examine top class teaching methods and resources to support their delivery.
Developing a sense of Number and Pattern
Research from the US suggests that if students can develop a deep sense of number and pattern from an early age, it will lay in place solid foundations upon which the rest of their mathematical knowledge can be built. This is true for all students, but can have the largest effect on students perceived to be "low ability". In this interactive workshop I share the work we have done with our students using Number Talks, Estimations, Visual Patterns and Open Middle Problems. This has created a regular weekly routine for our students that has led to increased engagement and soaring levels of achievement.
Effective Assessment for Learning with Diagnostic Questions
The process of writing, asking and responding to diagnostic questions (or hinge questions) has been the single biggest change in my teaching over the last 5 years, ans the one that I believe has had the most positive impact. This practical workshop looks at the pedagogy behind diagnostic questions - how do we ask questions, how do we respond to students' answers, how do we use these questions to offer both support and challenge to students, to revolutionise departmental meetings, and to learn more about our students than we ever have before?
Use of Rich Tasks to promote Problem Solving and Effective Differentiation
"Problem Solving", "Rich Tasks" and "Differentiation" are phrases that often get banded around the world of maths teaching. In this interactive session we think about what they actually mean, and crucially how they can become an integral part of our daily routines - and not something that are just used as token one-off lessons. This is more important than ever with the arrival of the far more demanding maths GCSE. The days of differentiating by finding 5 different worksheets are over. This workshop will hopefully save you time and help you and your students enjoy mathematics much more.
Effective Marking and Feedback in Mathematics
I do not in any way profess to be an exert at marking and giving written feedback. In fact, it may well be the least favourite part of my job. Hence, I have been on a mission over the last few years to ensure that the time I spend marking and giving feedback is as effective as possible. This workshop is a summary of my findings, borrowing from academic research, leading experts across all subjects, a selection of policies from maths departments across the country, and finally how I now mark and give feedback.
The 5 most Interesting Misconceptions in Mathematics
Using the tens of millions of answers on Diagnostic Questions, I pick out five questions whose answers have surprised me, and drastically changed the way I teach certain topics. By playing the award-winning game of "Guess the Misconception", I challenge you to guess the most popular incorrect answer, and then we delve into students' actual explanations to gain real depth of understanding about the specific misconceptions they have and how we might help them.
How Misconceptions Change over Time
Students get better at maths as they get older, right? Well, as it turns out, no. There are some very specific areas of maths where students do not develop, and in fact get worse. In this interactive workshop - via a game of the awarding winning "Guess the Misconception: Extreme Edition" - we look closely at some of these areas and what we can learn from them. Using tens of millions of answers and explanations from Diagnostic Questions, this workshop will hopefully surprise you and make you think carefully about how you approach certain areas of mathematics.
For students: The Mathematics of Dating
Combining my passions for maths and economics, together with my painful period as a single man on Match.com, this engaging talks looks at how we can use mathematics to improve our chances of finding the one we love.
Work with Schoolskeyboard_arrow_up
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I have worked closely with many schools across the UK over the last
few years, either one-off days or longer periods of time. Here are
some examples. Please email
me if you would like to discuss these.
- Working with a maths department to plan and resource a new Scheme of Work
- Working with one teacher or a group of teachers over a period of time to support them with their teaching
- Help support the development of NQTs within one school or across a chain of schools
- Help support teachers applying for Special Leader pf Education status
- Helping support Heads of Department or TLR holders lead a department effectively
Biography and Photokeyboard_arrow_up
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I often get asked to provide a biography and a photo to help promote
the workshops I am involved in. Please find a recent one below.
Craig Barton is a Secondary Maths Advanced Skills Teacher from Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton, in UK. He is the creator of the popular mrbartonmaths.com website and blog, which provides free resources to teachers and students all around the world, with the aim of making maths more fun and exciting for everyone. Craig is the host of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, interviewing leading figures from the world of education, such as Dylan Wiliam and Dan Meyer. He is the co-creator of Diagnostic Questions, a formative assessment website, which aims to help students and teachers from all around the world to identify, understand and resolve key misconceptions, and currently has over 11 million answers and explanations. For the last six years, Craig has been the Secondary Mathematics adviser for the Times Educational Supplement (TES), the largest professional network of teachers in the world. Craig has been fortunate enough to run workshops and work with teachers and students all over the world, from Bangkok to Basingstoke. He is the host of the Just the Job Podcast and the author of 3 (non-maths!) novels. Fingers crossed he is also still married to Kate when you are reading this.