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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

This week I conclude my interview with Dr. Alf Coles from the School of Education at the University of Bristol. Among the topics we discuss this week are:


  • Planning for the unexpected in mathematics classes
  • His work with the charity “Five by Five by Five Equals Creativity”
  • Using Cuisenaire rods and a tens chart to teach mathematics
  • How the number naming system in the English language makes learning mathematics more difficult and what you can do about it
  • Using the tens chart to teach decimals
  • How our current curriculum limits children’s understanding of number
  • Creativity in primary school mathematics
  • What inspires him
  • Whose work in education he likes to read
  • What he would change about his current institution
  • How his own schooling influences his practice in education today
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