Shaun Whiteley – How have the methods of teaching Maths changed since I studied the subject at school?

CTTC asked a current Maths trainee to write a blog on how Maths lessons have changed since he studied it at Secondary school. If you are considering applying for our Secondary Maths training course, Shaun has covered some good points which could support you with your answer to interview questions or your personal statement.

I sat my GCSE’s in the summer of 2011 and since then several methods of teaching maths appear to have altered, or new methods have been introduced, even in this short time frame.


One of the more obvious changes is the introduction of the new GCSE syllabus and grading structure. Several topics have been added or adjusted for the new syllabus and hence teaching must adapt to meet these new needs. There is more of an emphasis on application of mathematics in worded questions or combining topics within a question to test deeper understanding. This, in my experience, has led to more exam style questions being introduced in lessons with model solutions discussed with the class to ensure familiarity of the new types of questions. Teaching for mastery is a growing concept in classes so students are able to tackle a question no matter how it is worded or structured.


Differentiation of tasks in lessons also now appears more apparent. This could be a variety of types of tasks during lessons to keep the pace and engagement of the lesson going or actually having different sets of questions to meet the needs of all students. Therefore, all students usually have an activity to suit their needs but are also challenged to achieve ambitious goals. On this note of meeting the needs of all students, there is a large emphasis on closing the gap of achievement between students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their counterparts. This could be down to a greater amount of training provided on the needs of all students and hence teachers now have a better understanding to adapting their lessons to suit the needs of all.


One of the main differences in teaching since I left school is the application of technology. With the ever increasing use of technology all around us, the education sector has embraced this to aide learning. Use of PowerPoints, Smartboards, and other technologies were becoming more common in lessons whilst I was still in education but now a variety of tasks and activities are sought online and used in lessons or set as homework. Use of websites such as ‘Go4Schools’, ‘ShowMyHomework’, ‘MathsWatch’ are used widely in schools to monitor progress, set and collect homework, and provide revision materials. Whereas, when I was at school, homework and revision materials at least were mainly paper based. Communication between staff, parents and students is also now commonly achieved via technology with email, online newsletters, online parents evening bookings. rather than paper communications sent out (and sometimes not reaching the parents!).


I am sure teaching has changed in many other aspects in addition to above, but this gives an idea of the ever-changing world of teaching and learning. As well as how adapting teaching styles to the developing needs of our students is crucial and therefore is vital work for the future of their lives and society in general.