I Can’t Do Maths - Part 1

Challenging the way we think about maths teaching and learning with Professors Alf Coles and Nathalie Sinclair


I Can’t Do Maths - Part 1

In this episode, we talk to Professor Alf Coles and Professor Nathalie Sinclair about their book, I Can’t Do Maths! Why children say it and how to make a difference. In the book, Alf and Nathalie identify, unpick and challenge some of the most commonly-held beliefs about maths teaching and learning. In Part 1 of our conversation, we explore the background to the book and the first two dogmas, or myths, about maths education that Alf and Nathalie explore in the book.

Parts 2 and 3 are also available.

A transcript (PDF) of this episode is available to download.

Show notes

Taking part in the discussion:

  • Professor Alf Coles, University of Bristol
  • Professor Nathalie Sinclair, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia
  • Julia Thomson, Communications Manager, NCETM.

Episode chapters

  • 00:05 - Introduction to part 1
  • 01:02 - Meet Professors Alf Coles and Nathalie Sinclair
  • 02:06 - Unpacking the concept of ‘dogmas’ in maths education
  • 05:52 - Exploring the first dogma: maths is a building-block subject
  • 11:51 - Challenging the second dogma: maths is always right or wrong
  • 16:58 - Conclusion and preview of Part 2.

Useful links