#048 Lucy Crehan: Cleverlands

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On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Lucy Crehan

Lucy is a former Science and Psychology teacher, turned international education consultant and explorer. She is also the author of one of my favourite books of the last few years, Cleverlands. In order to write the book, Lucy helped out in schools and lived with teachers in Finland, Canada, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and Shanghai, spending a month in each place. As soon as I started reading Cleverlands, I knew I had to get Lucy on the show to dig deeper into some of her findings, and dispel some of the myths you often hear about education in these higher performing regions.

So, in a wide-ranging conversation we discussed the following things, and much, much more besides:

  • I start by clarifying just what is a PISA score and how is it calculated
  • We then journey to Finland to discuss the benefits of a later school start and a use of textbooks
  • Next up is Japan where we look at problem solving and differentiation
  • Then we travel to Singapore with a focus on teacher training
  • Whilst we are over that way, we might as well call in on China to look at Growth Mindsets and drills
  • And then we venture to Canada, with age related expectations and a problem solving curriculum
  • We then discuss the role of technology, homework and teacher workload, before Lucy reflects on what she has learned on her travels and the reaction to her findings back in the UK

You know what I am going to say here, because I say it all the time, but only because I really, really mean it – I loved every minute of this conversation. Lucy has a unique perspective on education across the globe having immersed herself in it, speaking and living with teachers, parents and students. The episode is a nice complement to my second interview with Ed Southall where we focussed on the way maths is taught in Japan, and I discuss two of my own takeaways after the interview.

If you buy one book as a result of the podcast, then obviously make it Cleverlands. However, if you buy two then maybe consider snapping up “How I wish I’d taught maths”. And if you have bought it, firstly thank you, and secondly if you have time to give the book a quick review – ideally a positive one – on Amazon, then I would be eternally grateful.

On Twitter Lucy is: @lucy_crehan
Lucy’s website is: lucycrehan.com
Cleverlands is available to buy from Amazon here

My usual plugs:

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

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