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The flat-pack approach to maths

Maths teacher Graham Walton suggests taking some tips from furniture retailer Ikea and using diagrams to ensure that students really understand what it is they’re meant to be achieving

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It has increasingly been the case that when I think about how to teach – or, more specifically, about how to teach maths – I think about that Swedish palace of flatpack furniture: Ikea. Now, this is not a comment on production-line education, rather about how useful the purveyor of affordable meatballs can be in influencing our pedagogy.

You see, the process of building any item in its vast bank of products would be almost impossible if they simply gave you an Allen key, a bag of unfamiliar fixings and a list of written instructions. They’ve made the task almost manageable – be it still ...

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