#139 Michael Pershan: Teaching with worked examples – part 2

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

This time around I was delighted to welcome back to the show Michael Pershan.

Michael is a teacher of mathematics in New York. He is a keen blogger, consumer of educational research, and classroom experimenter. He is also one of my favourite people to talk to.

Now, a bit of background on this episode. Regular listeners of the podcast might remember Michael came on the show back in 2019 to talk about his use of worked examples in the classroom. Since then Michael has continued his research and experimentation, which has culminated in a book: “Teaching math with examples” that I was lucky enough to read a preview copy of, and absolutely loved. So, I wanted Michael back on the show to talk about what he has changed his mind about and what his worked examples look like now…

But then a certain Ollie Lovell very selfishly invited Michael on the his Education Reading Room Podcast and asked him all the questions I wanted to ask… plus a load I would never have thought about.

So, instead of pulling the plug on my proposed conversation with Michael, I decided to tweak things and instead frame our conversation as a direct follow-up the Michael’s conversation with Ollie, creating a Pershan Double-Bill. So, if you haven’t listened to that one yet, please check out the previous episode in my podcast feed, as I have released it there – and in the language we often like to use on this podcast, it is prerequisite knowledge for this one.

So, following on from Ollie and Michael’s conversation, I wanted to know:

  • Exactly how and why are mine and Michael’s approaches to worked examples different
  • What role do mistakes play in worked examples, and when should we introduce students to them?
  • How about assigning names to worked examples – such as “this is Craig’s example”. Is that a good or a bad thing?
  • And if Michael were to become a YouTuber, what would his online worked example videos look like?

I knew I would enjoy this conversation with Michael, and thankfully I was right. Michael is super smart, super funny, and very open to a deep discussion about his ideas. I certainly came away with lots to think about.

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


My usual plugs:


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