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. 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 the sessions I currently deliver. These are suitable for
keynote addresses at maths conferences, hands-on workshops, or
bespoke sessions within schools. The approximate timings of sessions
are detailed below, but I will always try my best to be flexible to
meet your needs. 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
How I wish I'd taught maths
These workshops are based on the findings of over 200 books and research articles from the fields of Learning, Cognitive Science, Memory, Psychology and Behavioural Economics, many of which are summarised on my Educational Research page, together with the conversations I have had with world renowned educational experts on my Mr Barton Maths Podcast, and subsequent experiments with my students and colleagues. They are suitable for teachers of all ages and experiences, as well as subject leaders and members of SLT. The workshops can easily last 3 days, one 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 time.
The workshops form the basis of my book: How I wish I'd
taught maths: Lessons learned from research, conversations with
experts and 12 years of mistakes, which can be bought via Amazon
or directly from John
Catt. However, these workshops offer an opportunity to
explore the ideas presented in the book further, examining where I
have taken the ideas since the book’s publication. There will be
opportunities to try out the ideas, activities and strategies with
colleagues, discussing how to tweak them to make them work as
effectively as possible for you and your students. Whether you
have read my book or not (and if you haven't, what are you playing
at???), I really hope you and your colleagues will get something
out of these workshops.
1. Best of... (30 to 90 mins)
Here I present a selection of the most important ways educational research has changed how I teach mathematics, together with simple, practical, effective strategies to put this research into practice. This session is most suitable for a keynote address at a conference. I usually focus on the areas that have the greatest impact in schools, but if there are specific areas from the selection below that you wish me to focus on, then I will do my best :-)
2. Focussing Thinking (60 to 90 mins)
Dylan Wiliam has described Cognitive Load Theory as "the single most important thing for teachers to know", and he is not wrong. Together with the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, it is a theory that has truly revolutionised how I teach. We consider the limitations of working memory, and why this is so vital for teachers to know. We examine when silly mistakes might not in fact be silly mistakes. And then we dive into key findings from research into Cognitive Load Theory and the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, including The Redundancy Effect, the Split-Attention Effect, Goal-Free Problems, and more, and crucially examine how we can make practical use of the findings in our classrooms. Understanding these two theories better has been a real game-changer for me, and I hope it will be for you too.
3. Making the most of Worked Examples (30 to 60 mins)
I have completely changed how I deliver worked examples, and I genuinely feel my lessons have never been better. Here we ask, I look at two massive mistakes I used to make with my worked examples, which are considered good practice. Then I go through, in detail, exactly how I now present worked examples, incorporating Example-Problem Pairs, Silent Teacher and Show Call. It is a process that I use with every class, from my bottom-set Year 7s to my Year 13 Further Mathematicians, and it has completely transformed my lessons.
4. The power of intelligent variation (45 to 120 mins)
Not only has my delivery of worked examples changed dramatically, but so to has my choice of those worked examples and the practice questions I give my students. Indeed, harnessing the power of intelligently varied sequences of examples and questions is my latest obsession. Here we dive into why I believe the simple process of: Reflect, Expect, Check is one of the keys to learning. Then we look at four different ways we can utilise the principles of Variation Theory is lessons, in the form of Rules, Demonstrations, Examples and Patterns.
5. Deliberate Practice (30 to 60 mins)
There is a danger that Deliberate Practice could be written off as one of the latest trends and fads in education. However, used properly, I believe there is a great deal us maths teachers can learn from it. Here we dive into what lessons we can learn from learning expert performance in the fields of sport and music. I introduce my Five Stage Process of Deliberate Practice, looking at how we can apply it the the many multistage processes we need to teach our students. I also discuss the three reasons why we should always give our students the answers?
6. Problem Solving and Purposeful Practice (60 to 120 mins)
A big one here! Why are some students so bad at solving problems, and more importantly, what can we do about it? I will discuss why what I used to do was fatally flawed, and then present my present my two solutions.This will will incorporate the effective use of SSDD problems (see my website here) and the principles of Purposeful Practice. The latter has been a revolution to me, allowing my students to experience the all-important practice needed to develop fluency, whilst also providing opportunities to think hard and develop key problem solving capabilities
7. Formative Assessment and Diagnostic Questions (60 mins
to... as long as you like!)
Formative Assessment is the most important part of my teaching, and it breaks my heart when I see it misunderstood or presented as something that gets in the way. I could not teach without it, and I could talk about it all day. Here we tackle questions such as: What does effective formative assessment look like? How do we collect in students’ responses without having to mess around with technology? What can we learn from students' answers? How do we deal with difference response scenarios? What makes a good question? How can we improve departmental meetings? Is assessment for learning fundamentally flawed? Are multiple choice questions fundamentally flawed? Let’s get rid of the jargon and focus on what really matters for effective teaching and learning.
8. Memory and Desirable Difficulties (30 to 120 mins)
An understanding of the working of long-term memory has been so important in the way I have changed my teaching in recent years. Here we delve into understanding under what circumstances we should make learning more difficult. How do we use spacing and interleaving practically, both in terms of day-to-day lessons, schemes of work and homework? What are the implications for seating plans? Why are tests so much more than a means of assessment? How have low-stakes quizzes simply transformed my lessons? How can we delay and reduce feedback to not only reduce workload, but also make students think more?
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.
*technically, it has not won any awards. Not yet, anyway.
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
- Helping support the development of NQTs within one school or across a chain of schools
- Helping 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 has been teaching maths since 2004, predominantly in two comprehensive schools in the sunny North West of England, Range High School in Formby and Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton. Four years into his career, Craig was appointed an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) giving him the opportunity to work with and learn from many teachers and students in a wide variety of schools. Since 2009, Craig has been the Secondary Mathematics adviser for the Times Educational Supplement (TES), the largest professional network of teachers in the world, reviewing, creating and sharing resources with hundreds of thousands of teachers. 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, Doug Lemov, Daisy Christodoulou and Dan Meyer. He is the co-creator of Diagnostic Questions, a formative assessment website hosting the world's largest collection of high-quality maths diagnostic multiple choice questions, which aims to help students and teachers from all around the world to identify, understand and resolve key misconceptions, and currently has over 20 million answers and explanations. Craig has been fortunate enough to give talks, run workshops and work with teachers and students all over the world, from Bangkok to Basingstoke. He is the author of the best-selling book, How I wish I'd taught maths: Lessons learned from research, conversations with experts, and 12 years of mistakes, and the author of 3 (non-maths!) novels. Fingers crossed he is also still married to Kate when you are reading this.