Will Emeny – Great Maths Teaching Ideas and Numeracy Ninjas

April 13, 2016 - Podcast
Will Emeny – Great Maths Teaching Ideas and Numeracy Ninjas

On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast I spoke to Will Emeny.

Will is Head of Maths at Wyvern College, the author of the Great Maths Teaching Ideas Blog, as well a couple of excellent educational books, and the creator of Numeracy Ninjas

In an epic 2 hour interview, we covered loads of things, including:

  • How does Will plan lessons? – we dive very deep into this!
  • How do Will and his department try to create renewable lessons?
  • Can Will describe a lesson that went badly, and what he learned from it?
  • How is Will preparing his Year 11 students for their GCSEs, and what are his plan for students embarking upon the new GCSE specification?
  • What has Will learned in 3 years of being a Head of Department?
  • Then we delve into two fascinating areas:
  • Firstly, what did Will discover during his amazing analysis into Prior Learning Dependency Flow, and what are the implications for the teaching of mathematics?
  • Secondly why does the concept of Memory fascinate Will so much, why is the distinction between Learning and Performance so important, and again what are the implications for teaching and assessment?
  • What was the inspiration behind Numeracy Ninjas, and what are the future plans for the website?
  • What does Will wish he had known when he first started teaching?

It’s a longy, but I promise it’s a goody!

Links to things discussed in the show:

Diagnostic Questions
I have put together a description of five simple strategies on Diagnostic Questions that we are using with our Year 11 students in preparation for their GCSEs. There include daily questions, full GCSE papers, and a tool for independent revision. These are all dead easy to set up, are having a massive impact on our students, and best of all, they are completely free. Have a read of my blog post to find out more

Links to the research that Will mentions, as well as all the research cited by my previouis guests, can be found here

Prior Learning Dependency Flow
Prior Learning Dependency Flow – blog post 
You’ve never seen the GCSE Maths Curriculum look like this before – blog post  

Memory Flow
Forgetting is necessary for learning, desirable difficulties and the need to dissociate learning and performance – blog post  

Numeracy Ninjas 

Will Emeny’s Big 3 (or Big 4 in this case!)

My post explaining the important ideas in memory research, desirable difficulties etc

Evidence into practice blog by Nick Rose

Michaela blogs!
Joe Kirby
Naveen Rizvi
Bodil Isaksen
Dani Quinn

Hegarty Maths!

Link to Podcast Puzzle

maths puzzle

If you cannot see the image, visit here

Thanks so much for listening, and I really hope you enjoy the show!
Craig Barton

I am a maths teacher, currently teaching at Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton, UK. Here are links to some of my work:
Mr Barton Maths Blog
Twitter: @mrbartonmaths
Diagnostic Questions
Mr Barton Maths Podcast
Just the Job Podcast

6 thoughts on “Will Emeny – Great Maths Teaching Ideas and Numeracy Ninjas

Dom Salmon

An inspirational interview! I got so much from this – it really put me back in touch with some of the ideas I was interested in during ITT, and has opened up some exciting avenues for me to explore. Thanks so much for this Craig – all the hard work that goes into these podcasts and everything else you do is really appreciated. Keep up the good work! :)


    Thanks so much for your kind words, Dom, I really appreciate it!

Mike Kennedy

What an epic listen! Took a few car journeys to and from work but well worth it! Have been using numeracy ninjas all year and was so interesting to listen to both of you being so enthusiastic about the job in general. Have emailed department telling them to give it a listen!
Keep up the excellent work!


    Thanks so much!

Jon Southern

Thank you Craig and Will. As a trainee teacher this has really inspired me to develop better teaching methods – I particularly like the idea of learning as an intrinsic motivator. Working through your back catalogue of interviews – done soon so keep the new ones coming


    Really pleased you enjoyed it


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