#138 Michael Pershan: Teaching with worked examples – part 1

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Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, with me Craig Barton.

Now this is an episode with a difference. And it will be a welcome difference for my listeners I am sure, as for the next couple of hours you won’t have to put up with my annoying voice infecting your ears, but instead you get to enjoy the dulcet Australian tones of Ollie Lovell speaking to US Maths teacher blogger and author Michael Pershan.

So, what is going on here. Well, basically, Ollie nicked my guest.

More specifically, I had intended to interview Michael about his wonderful new book – Teaching Math with Examples – but Ollie got their first. And Ollie’s interview on his outstanding Education Reading Room podcast was so flipping good, that I wanted as many people as possible to hear it. So, Ollie and I agreed that I would post it on my podcast feed, as Part 1 of a Pershan Double-Bill. And then the next episode after this in my podcast feed will be my conversation with Michael Pershan that will directly follow on from Ollie’s, but cover completely new ground, and so be Part 2. Does that make any sense at all… I hope so!

So, what is in store in Part 1 of the Pershan Double-Bill? Well…

  • Michael discusses his journey engaging with research as a teacher
  • Michael describes his worked example process in detail
  • I particularly enjoyed the focus on the self-explanation prompts as a way to get students thinking harder about the worked examples, and the way Ollie shared some from a sequence of lessons he had delivered on Pythagoras
  • Perhaps my biggest takeaway was the justification for avoiding too much discussion and struggle over the basics of a procedure in favour of simply explaining it to students in the most clear way possible – struggle will come, and our aim is to ensure that struggle happens at as deep a level of thinking as possible. In other words – or, at least my interpretation – explain now, so students can spend time thinking hard and struggling with the more complex problem solving elements of a learning episode
  • And there is so much more gold in here

So, sit back and enjoy a couple of hours of engaging, deep educational chat, without any annoying flipping hecks. And if you don’t already, please subscribe to Ollie’s Education Reading Room podcast as it is so, so good. And I will see you next for Part 2.

On Twitter, Michael is: @mpershan
Michael’s website is: michaelpershan.com
He blogs at: Rational ExpectationsMath Mistakes and Teaching with Problems
His book is: Teaching math with examples


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