How teachers teach and students learn

Have a look at this interesting research paper by Echazarra, A et al (2016):

How teachers teach and students learn: successful strategies for schools

Echazarra, A et al (2016), OECD Education Working Papers, No 130, OECD Publishing, Paris:

This article analyses how the use of different teaching and learning strategies relate to success in mathematics PISA test questions.

Findings show that while memorisation strategies can work well for less challenging questions, to achieve success with more complex and multi-step problems, students need to develop a deeper, conceptual understanding, rather than just relying on memory.

The research shows the importance of making connections, and exploring different ways of working out problems to develop the versatility and flexibility of thinking needed to tackle challenging questions. While there is a need to develop strong knowledge and quick recall, students also need opportunities to work independently and collaboratively to progress successfully, along with conversations about learning which offer positive and constructive feedback.

Most importantly, teachers need to ensure learners are constantly challenged by working at the correct level of difficulty, discussing how they get to solutions, and by placing problems in a range of meaningful contexts.

As part of the National Numeracy Hub we are encouraged to read and share research and develop reflective questions to work on our practice – try exploring these questions as part of your own development:


There are lots of fascinating research papers on the National Numeracy Hub, all with reflective questions and on a range of numeracy themes. Just follow the link to the National Numeracy Hub and click on the Research tile:


It would be great to hear your thoughts and comments on this article, or any other research you find useful – please post your comments if you would like to share!


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