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Guidance on teaching key ideas in secondary mathematics

Researchers: Professor Anne Watson

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview

This project brings together international research on teaching mathematics and uses it to produce guidance for teachers and others interested in mathematics education. The guidance is published in a book and accompanying website, both called Key Ideas in Teaching Mathematics.

For each of the key ideas identified, the book synthesises the international research literature on how children develop their reasoning, understanding and skills, and on related teaching approaches. Informed by the authors’ own experience, it identifies areas where additional evidence is needed, and provides links to relevant examples and classroom activities, which are brought together on the accompanying website.

The research team is led by Professor Anne Watson from the University of Oxford, who identified the general lack of accessible research-based writing on teaching secondary mathematics while working on an earlier Nuffield project, Key Understandings in Mathematics Learning, which focused on how younger children learn mathematics. This project was conceived as a way to address that gap.

Book and website

Key Ideas in Teaching Mathematics was published by OUP in February 2013. The book uses QR codes to link to the relevant activities on the website, but the website also serves as a standalone resource, which divides each of the ‘key ideas’ into several themes, with links to relevant online activities and resources.


  • Professor Anne Watson
    University of Oxford

  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
By Nuffield Foundation

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