#033 Peps Mccrea: Planning, Memorable Teaching and Teacher Expertise

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On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Peps Mccrea.

Peps is a former Fasttrack maths teacher and Senior Lecturer in mathematics education. He has been a National Curriculum Advisor for the DfE, External Examiner at the OU, and is the author of Lean Lesson Planning and Memorable Teaching. Peps has three Masters degrees (in Engineering Design, Educational Leadership, and Educational Research) and holds Fellowship Awards from the University of Brighton and the Young Academy. He now leads on the Institute for Teaching’s Masters in Expert Teaching course.

In short – I was once again well out of my depth.

I absolutely love Peps’ books on lesson planning and memorable teaching and I am fascinated by the challenges of developing expertise in teaching. Hence, I had been wanted to get Peps on the show for ages, and he did not disappoint.

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

  • Does Peps believe you can teach problem solving, and if so how?
  • What are Peps’ 7 habits of highly effective lesson plans, and what are the practical implications of implementing these?
  • How can teachers work together to joint-plan effectively?
  • What are the key principles of memorable teaching, and how can we design our teaching to lead to more memorable experiences?
  • What does Peps think of my ideas about keeping still, teaching in silent, and getting rid of all classroom displays in terms of his understanding of memory?
  • How would Peps present a worked example?
  • Is there a consensus as to what expert teaching looks like?
  • Can you judge how good a teacher is from a lesson?
  • Can the principles of deliberate practice be applied to teacher education?
  • What would Peps consider to be three essential research findings or principles that all teachers should know?

I don’t want to build this up too much, but I am going to have to. This is one of those special episodes. I reckon I need to listen to it about 48 times to take in all the nuggets. It is also one to share with your non-maths colleagues as the vast majority of Peps’ points about planning, memory and the development of expertise are applicable to all teachers and all subjects. So please spread the word. And if you enjoy this episode, or any of the other 30-odd, then a quick review on iTunes would be hugely appreciated.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to officially announce that I have written a book. It is called “How I wish I’d taught maths”, with the subtitle “reflections on research, interviews with experts, and 12 years of mistakes”, and is being published by John Catt Education, the home of such wonderful books as What every teacher needs to know about psychology and the recent What does it look like in the classroom?. My book is essentially a collection of all the lessons I have learned from speaking to my wonderful podcast guests, reading the books and research they pointed me to, and trying out ideas in the classroom. It is very much a tale of regret when I think back to all the things I used to do, but hopefully it will be of interests to you, my dear listeners. It is currently being read by Kris Boutlon, and assuming I survive that experience, I hope it will be available before Christmas.

On Twitter, Peps is @pepsmccrea
His website is pepsmccrea.com
His first book is Lean Lesson Planning
His second book is Memorable Teaching
Links to the books Peps recommends teachers read can be found here, along with the recommendations of all my other guests.

Peps Mccrea’s Big 3
1. John Sweller TES piece
2. David Wees stuff around Instructional Activities 
3. Keep an eye on the IFT website > going to be publishing some stuff 

My usual plugs:

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

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