Home > Maths, Resources, Teaching > A maths teacher’s library

A maths teacher’s library

Over the weekend a colleague, Mark Miller (@GoldfishbowlMM) mentioned that he was planning a post entitled “An English Teacher’s Library” which charted five books he feels are essential for any English teacher to own. He suggested I did one for maths and,we could synchronise. The brief “If you could recommend 5 books that would improve the teaching of maths, what would they be? Here it is:

It’s tricky, to decide on the five books I would advise maths teachers to buy. Should they be maths books? Books on education? Resource based books? Having thought long and hard, I have come up with this list:

Visible Learning for Teachers – John Hattie

This is a book that I have found extremely helpful both in improving my teaching and in my studies. I first heard about it through reading other people’s blogs, I saw many references to Hattie from lots if people so I investigated and the book is superb. It’s not maths specific, so I would advise any teacher to pick up a copy. In the book Hattie looks at the wealth of literature that exist on education and uses it to create a book that has plenty of great advice we can all learn from.

Fermat’s Last Theorem – Simon Singh

Regular readers of this blog will know already how I feel about this book, it’s my favourite if all time. It’s a book that charts the development of maths over the course of history and includes some excellent anecdotes about the mathematicians involved. Why do I think maths teachers should have it? There are tons of reasons! Firstly, pure enjoyment. If you are a fan of maths you will love the book. Secondly, it may widen your subject knowledge (certainly will first most maths teachers) and give you stories about the development if maths and the mathematicians you can share with your classes. Thirdly, you can lend it to students and see their love of maths grow.

Mathematical Team Games– Vivien Lucas

This one is a book of resources. I discovered them on my PGCE year and have loved them ever since. They are tasks that give written instructions and students need to follow them, work out what maths to use and solve the puzzles. I have enjoyed doing the puzzles and think they are excellent for pupils, especially for revision purposes in the build up to exams. The title suggests they are to be tackled in teams, but they work well as individual activities too. Certainly beneficial for maths teachers to have a copy!

Towards Dialogic Teaching, Rethinking Classroom Talk– Robin Alexander

This is another book which isn’t entirely maths based. I happened across it while researching a masters assignment on classroom talk and it revolutionised the way I approach talk in lessons. Alexander has spent a lot of time researching the area and makes a lot of fantastic points. A worthwhile purchase for any teacher.

Nix the Tricks – Tina Cardone

This is an awesome book, which is also freely available ebook, that all maths teachers should read. I have listed Tina Cardone as author as she put it all together, but in reality she is one of many many contributors. The book looks at the tricks employed by somepeople in the learning of mathematics, and the dangers that they can have in causing misconceptions to arise. I only recently discovered this document, when I wrote this piece on the problem with BIDMAS, but only have thoroughly enjoyed it and hope it goes some way to eradicating these problems that arise when people choose to teach the tricks over the underlying concepts involved. For my other post on this see here

These are five books I feel would improve maths teaching. I haven’t read every book there is on maths, or teaching, yet. I could have named a yon more that would fit! There are no doubt tons more I have yet to read, so if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them and add them to my “to read” list.

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  1. July 16, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Vision in Elementary Mathematics,by W. W. Sawyer. Don’t be fooled by the term “elementary”: divisibility, fractions, negative numbers, algebra, word problems, graphs, what teaching is all about, hints, tips, warnings… Super-highly-mega-recommended for all math(s) teachers!

  2. Kris
    July 18, 2014 at 3:56 am

    I have been looking for a resource such as Nix the Tricks for YEARS!!!! Thank you so much for posting the link. I will be sharing this with my Math teachers.

    • July 18, 2014 at 6:14 am

      It’s brilliant isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. August 3, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Ooh – so hard to pick 5! Totally agree with Hattie – I have Visible Learning and in fact listened to him only yesterday; so much food for thought – particularly where he is talking about testing being more useful to the teacher than the students!
    Thanks so much for the link to Nix the Tricks – I look forward to reading that.

  1. July 16, 2014 at 7:56 pm
  2. July 18, 2014 at 8:46 am

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