Author Archives: Kris Boulton

About Kris Boulton

Teach First 2011 maths teacher, focussed on curriculum design.

My best planning. Part 1

Craig Barton interviewed me recently, during which I discussed a series of lessons I planned and taught on solving simultaneous equations. I could be wrong, but I think this was the best planning and teaching I ever did. Several people … Continue reading

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Maths: Conceptual understanding first, or procedural fluency?

Should you teach conceptual understanding first, or focus on raw procedural fluency? This question drives endless debate in maths education, but its answer is very straightforward: it depends. I can demonstrate this quickly and easily with a single example, by … Continue reading

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Never ask pupils a question to which they have not already been told the answer.

Never ask pupils a question to which they have not already been told the answer, unless they know enough that answering the question requires them only inching forwards. Years ago I wrote on questions and questioning, a seemingly important aspect … Continue reading

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Why we need to get rid of lesson objectives

The problem of Juxtaposition Prompting In sum: 1) The problem of Juxtaposition Prompting is endemic in our classrooms. It prevents generalisation and transfer, and therefore what we consider ‘deep understanding’ or ‘deep thinking.’ 2) To overcome it, we must reconsider … Continue reading

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MECE – 7 – Mental Models for Education

Pronounced ‘Mee-See,’ this is another fave from the world of consulting. When mapping out a curriculum, assessment, taxonomy, decision or driver tree, consider whether its components as you’ve outlined them are Mutually Exclusive, as well as Collectively Exhaustive. In other words, make sure … Continue reading

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Objective Oriented – 6 – Mental Models for Education

I’ve written about this before, so will only touch on it again briefly. There are two modes of thought when doing something: Process oriented Objective oriented The first asks ‘What must I do?’ then tries to do it.  The second … Continue reading

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The 80:20 Principle – 5 – Mental Models for Education

In 1896 the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto noticed that roughly 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of its population. The Pareto Principle, or more often, the 80:20 principle, suggests that 80% of your sales usually comes … Continue reading

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