Colin Foster: Mathematical Etudes, Confidence and Questioning

November 26, 2017 - Podcast
Colin Foster: Mathematical Etudes, Confidence and Questioning

On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Colin Foster

Colin is a former maths teacher who is now an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Research in Mathematics Education in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham. He is an author, has written numerous research papers, and is the creator of three outstanding websites: foster77, mathematical etudes and mathematical beginnings.

Colin shares a keen interest in three areas that I am more than a little obsessed about – purposeful practice (or what Colin refers to as a mathematical etude), measuring students’ confidence in their answers, and effective questioning. If any of those area peak your interest too, then I can promise you are in for an absolute treat.

In a wide-ranging interview we covered the following, and more:

This is one of my favourite interviews I have ever done. Colin is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable, and it was just such a pleasure to discuss and debate with him over subjects that fascinate me. I learned so much. I really hope you find it as useful and enjoyable as I did.

A quick mention that depending on when you listen to this podcast my book – How I wish I taught maths – may be either about to be released, available for pre-order, ready to buy, or sent to the pulping factory due to lack of sales, Alan Partridge style. It is a collection of all the things I have learned from two years of talking to the world’s leading experts, and reading all the research I could get my hands on. Some would say it is the ideal Christmas present, but I could not possibly comment.

On Twitter, Colin is @colinfoster77
The EEF report “Improving Mathematics at Key Stage 2 and 3″ is available to download here
Links to the books Colin recommends teachers read can be found here, along with the recommendations of all my other guests.
Colin’s main website is
His Mathematical Etudes website is
His Mathematical Beginnings website is

Colin Foster’s Big 3
1. mathshell
2. Cambridge maths espressos
3. Daniel Willingham Articles

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
Book: How I wish I’d taught maths
Mr Barton Maths Podcast


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