Ask any educator & they will tell you that teaching primary maths effectively is not an easy thing lớn do; for many primary school teachers maths is one of their trickier subjects to teach at KS2.

This then leads khổng lồ the question of whether truly effective primary maths teachers vì anything different when compared lớn the way they teach any other curriculum subject?

What does any effective teacher vì apart from spin multiple plates, juggle ten things with one hand & perform daily miracles?

Perhaps being effective means being amazing, perfect and brilliant all rolled into one?

The potential number of ways to lớn be effective in the classroom are endless, & this means that there is no lack of advice out there for teachers!

How khổng lồ Be Effective When Teaching Primary Maths: What bởi vì The ‘Experts’ Say?

InHow to lớn be an Amazing Teacher, Caroline Bentley-Davies,says that really special teachers have the ability to lớn make time fly.

Effective maths teachers can vày just that.

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Ofsted Maths Factfile

Step-by-step primary Maths framework lớn help plan and prepare for your next inspection. Written by teacher, Maths Subject Leader and Former Ofsted Inspector, John Dabell in conjunction with Third Space Learning


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These amazing pedagogues can captivate, absorb & enthral by effortlessly mixing together dynamic skills that she summarises as the five Es:

EnthusiasmExpertiseEmpathyEmpowerment Enterprise

Caroline says these define the “essence of an amazing teacher” and theymirror the key qualities that an amazing teacher has in abundance.

Habits Play A Big Role In The Effectiveness Of Teaching Primary Maths

InThe Perfect Teacher,Jackie Beeretalks about embedding the 7 habits of highly effective teachers: self-management, reflective practice, flexibility, optimism, empathy, courage and resilience và collaboration.

She says that being effective is about being “the very best teacher you can be” & reminds us that our mindset is the number one driver of our teaching identity:

“the way you think makes you the teacher that you are.”

Maths teachers can do that too, with effective ones embodying the can-do growth mindset.

To be a ‘perfect’ teacher comes down to lớn being purposeful & internalising seven mindsets:


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Jackie explains that effective teachers create a rapport for learning, & also delves into different examples of what excellent & interesting practice looks like and how we, as teachers, can sustain our passion & purpose.

Nobody ever said that teaching primary maths effectively was going to be easy….

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Having A Positive Mindset Is Crucial For Effective Maths Teaching

The Art Of Being A Brilliant Teacher by Gary Toward, Chris Henley & Andy Cope also points khổng lồ the power of positive psychology & adopting a mindset that will breed success and effectiveness.

They promote the idea of being a positively powered pedagogue, a 2%er who is a life giver and radiates energy.

They say we need khổng lồ focus on 6 main points:


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Maths teachers need to bởi vì all of that & more.

They need to lớn be everything that the science of learning tells us: resourceful, resilient, reflective, robust, intuitive, immersed, intellectual và imaginative, and that is just for starters.

The danh mục goes on and you are probably now exhausted thinking about all the things you should be doing khổng lồ effectively teach primary maths.

But, hang in there as there’s more.

Personal Characteristics Of Effective Primary Maths Teachers

Denis Hayes (2006) in ‘Inspiring Primary Teaching’, summarises some of the personal characteristics you may have noticed in some of your pedagogically ‘pumped’ colleagues. I’ve added a few of my own to lớn the menu from my years of experience in primary education, so take a look below.

Intelligent planners: planning for achievement comes higher than planning for motivationPupil-centred: devoted to lớn the care & education of pupilsPassionate: work is a joy not a choreOptimistic: problems are viewed as opportunitiesProactive: initiating rather than remaining passiveCurious: discovering how things work Persistent: never saying neverKnowledge-hungry: constantly striving to lớn learn Energetic: maintaining an enthusiastic approachFlexible: responsive lớn changing circumstancesSelf-responsible: refusing to blame othersFrugal: squeezing the most out of every situationMeticulous: paying close attention to detailThinkers: they teach the How before the WhyVisionary: take a long-term viewCollaborative: promoting team effortDream-makers: going for gold và enthusing others to vị the samePushy: they provide plenty of opportunities for children lớn become independent problem-solversNets: effective teachers should be nets not spoons

Every single one of these ‘generic’ skills can be applied to any subject, và so all good and great maths teachers display a lot of these characteristics.

The Number One chất lượng You Need to Effectively Teach Primary Maths

All teachers strive to be more effective, & for primary practitioners that’s always a tall order when you are expected lớn be a domain authority Vinci polymath, able khổng lồ spread your talents like jam & change hats with the wind.

Now, it may sound obvious, but to lớn actually be an effective teacher of maths, you’ve got to like maths.

However, the diverse nature of primary teaching means that most practitioners aren’t maths subject specialists which means that there is a sizeable chunk of teachers who don’t put maths in their đứng đầu three subjects.

It’s not uncommon khổng lồ hear primary teachers (off the record) admit lớn not liking maths even though they spend a good portion of their working lives teaching it.

So What Can You bởi vì To Be An Effective Maths Teacher When Maths Isn’t Your Favourite Subject?

The first thing therefore that an effective primary maths teacher has to vì chưng is be a passionate proponent of the subject.

They have khổng lồ communicate that passion khổng lồ children in bucket loads và bring maths lớn life.

If you aren’t enthusiastic or excited by a subject it is more obvious than a yellow elephant blowing purple bubbles on the M1.

Admittedly, you have to lớn bring fire & fury to every subject but maths is one of the heavyweights and needs some extra umph.

You can tell in less than two seconds who has a genuine passion for maths, và the unfortunate truth is that if you don’t then you’ve got to lớn work so much harder because you’ve got to fake it for the sake of the children.

Possessing Passion Is Key khổng lồ Effective Teaching

Passion in teaching is not a luxury or a frill but essential to lớn all good practice.

It is daunting khổng lồ be passionate about everything you teach all of the time, but effective primary maths teachers aren’t just content with delivering the curriculum but communicating content and ideas with sparks and gusto.

Little or no passion = little or no learning.

Maths needs to be taught with energy, & so passion is a prerequisite if we are lớn inspire, motivate & engage children. Passionate maths teachers see pupils as curious và creative individuals who can be encouraged lớn explore maths with energy and excitement too.

Effective teachers (aka passionate teachers) openly display a thirst for knowledge và revel in the opportunity to learn as much as teach.

Effective maths teaching is seen in the eyes, the non-verbal gestures, the voice and the maths language they use in class.

Passionate teachers also tune into their pupils & remember that maths is not always easy khổng lồ grasp so they display empathy, compassion, commitment và patience & set up an atmosphere of trust where mistakes are welcomed not ridiculed.

What Does An Effective Primary Maths Teacher bởi vì When It Comes khổng lồ Assessment?

An effective maths teacher understands that assessment for learning is a broader concept than formative assessment.

This is someone who ‘gets’ what responsive teaching is all about và helps children grow as mathematicians through formative kích hoạt and reaction.

Effective teachers have an inclusive understanding of formative assessment and know that:

evidence about student achievement is elicited, interpreted, and used by teachers, learners, or their peers, to make decisions about future instruction that are likely to be better, or better founded, than the decisions that would have been taken in the absence of that evidence.

Dylan Wiliam 2018, Assessment in Education 25th Anniversary conference in Oxford

A formative classroom is what children learn most effectively in & effective teachers know this because they see understanding as relative to time and context, not absolute & permanent.

This type of classroom fosters a climate of enquiry và within this atmosphere children tend to lớn develop knowledge that is far more adaptive và flexible.

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Read more: Formative vs summative assessment in primary school

Formative classrooms don’t label children as a particular type of learner, & effective teachers recognize that children shift & move about in their understanding: up, down, sideways và diagonally.

Labelling children can lead lớn erroneous thinking about what children can and can’t do và potentially a misdiagnosis of special education needs.

Effective maths teachers therefore know which children require the most help and what support exactly it is they need at the time they need it.

Effective Teaching và Assessment: The Summary

The characteristics of effective teaching therefore are a clever mixture of:

formative assessment with a whole class, group & individual discussion;questioning in the classroom that probes and helps to engineer discussions and scaffold understanding; a talk rich environment where children are taught how lớn articulate explanations and justify their thinking with a focus on ‘how did you get there’; relevant, meaningful, challenging and worthwhile tasks that are memorable (Bartram, 2017);a focus on exposing weaknesses and misconceptions khổng lồ upgrade understanding.

These skills tie in with what research says elsewhere. The Effective Primary Teaching Practice Report 2016,led by ex-primary headteacher Dame Reena Keeble, found four thing effective schools and teachers have a solid understanding of:

How children learnThe subjects and how children learn those subjectsEffective và ineffective teaching practicesWhat learning is and how lớn

The things that effective schools & teachers have a solid understanding of