18 Apr 2015

Teacher’s new book explains the importance of conceptual learning

A new book written by Jennifer Wathall, Head of Mathematics at Island School explains
why conceptual understanding of Mathematics is more important than memorising of facts and formulae. She explains traditional Maths teaching focuses on factual content and assumes conceptual understanding but when concepts are taught a greater emotional and intellectual engagement takes place.

So what happens in the classroom?  Wathall: “For example when teaching calculus – rather than launching straight into example after example we look at calculus through a “conceptual lens”. We introduce the concepts of change and accumulation – the foundations for understanding calculus.”

“The book has lots of practical examples of things teachers can do in the classroom.”

Wathall’s book has been endorsed by best-selling authors in the field, university professors and educational consultants and her requests to speak at conferences globally and train other teachers shows no sign of slowing down.

Wathall; “There is a massive body of research supporting the results of concept based learning or a concept based curriculum and when I speak publically about CBL it just seems to make sense to people!”

“All teachers have seen students disengage from Maths and learning generally when they don’t have the foundations to build on. But developing a strong conceptual base means students can develop a better understanding of content knowledge, transferable skills and their confidence grows.”

Concept-Based Mathematics: Teaching for Deep Understanding will be published in January 2016 by Corwin.