#150 Research in Action 16: Writing a maths curriculum with Colin Foster

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This episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast is kindly supported by Arc Maths.

You can find more information about their app for helping students remember those crucial maths skills – and register for a free trial – at arceducation.co.uk/for-schools/


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

This is an episode from season 2 of the Research in Action mini series, where I interview a researcher from the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University about their chosen area of interest, and the implications for maths teaching and learning. You can check out all the previous conversations in the series here.

Episode 5 features Colin Foster

Colin is a former maths teacher who is now a Reader in Mathematics Education at Mathematics Education Centre in Loughborough. He is an author, has written numerous research papers, is the creator of three outstanding websites: foster77, mathematical etudes and mathematical beginnings, and is simply someone who is very nice to talk to about a whole manner of things.

And that is exactly what we did. We discussed Colin’s work at Loughborough, being the next MA President, what does understanding mean, Don Steward, mathematical etudes, and then the main area of discussion – the forthcoming LUMEN Mathematics Curriculum. How do you go about writing a maths curriculum, what do you include, what challenges do you face, and how do you hope teachers will use it? For anyone currently wrestling with tweaking, re-writing or completely overhauling their SOW, this should prove fascinating listening.

It’s also worth mentioning that this is Colin’s second appearance on the show. He first came on way back in 2017, where we discussed task design and problem solving. It remains one of my favourite episodes.

If you want to download an mp3 version of this episode, you can do so here.

Links from Colin to things we discussed:

  1. The plenary I gave at the MA conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPozpcv2GZA – slides attached as a pdf
  2. LUMEN Curriculum page https://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/lumen/curriculum/ including a link to the paper about the design principles for the curriculum https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00220272.2021.1902569 and also a video of me giving a plenary about it at the 2021 International Society for Design and Development in Education Virtual Conference
  3. LUMEN Professional Development page https://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/lumen/professional-development/ with all the PD videos I mentioned in the podcast
  4. My video introducing the idea of mathematical etudes https://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/lumen/professional-development/developing-fluency-with-procedures/
  5. The mathematical etudes website http://www.mathematicaletudes.com/
  6. The Centre for Mathematical Cognition blog https://blog.lboro.ac.uk/cmc/ which I didn’t mention, but is great!
  7. The Mathematics Education Centre twitter https://twitter.com/LboroMEC to keep up with developments on the LUMEN Curriculum and everything else
  8. Blog post: Designing a fully-resourced, research-informed school mathematics curriculum

On Twitter, Colin is @colinfoster77
Colin’s main website is foster77.co.uk
His Mathematical Etudes website is mathematicaletudes.com
His Mathematical Beginnings website is foster77.co.uk/mathematicalbeginnings

My usual plugs:

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