About cookies

The NCETM site uses cookies. Read more about our privacy policy

Please agree to accept our cookies. If you continue to use the site, we'll assume you're happy to accept them.


Personal Learning Login

Sign Up | Forgotten password?
Register with the NCETM

Selecting teaching strategies : Adult learning : Mathematics-specific Pedagogy

Key Stage
Key Stage

Next Question

Enter the Self-evaluation Tools
Self-evaluation Tools
Currently viewing
Adult learning
Selecting teaching strategies
Question 1 of 16

1. How confident are you that you are familiar with:

a. the teaching strategies that lead to successful mathematical learning?


Adult learners return to learn mathematics for a wide variety of reasons such as to improve their employment prospects, to boost their confidence or simply to gain a qualification. They tend to be a diverse group in terms of, for example, age, ability, backgrounds and experience.

Some may need a small amount of help to brush up on their skills and restore them to a particular level whie others may have much greater need for more specific help or intensive teaching by specialist teachers. In any one class there may be a wide variety of needs and therefore the teaching strategies used should cater for these.
Also, many adult learners lack confidence for a variety of reasons such as a poor experience of learning mathematics at school; the strategies used should therefore aim to increase their confidence and highlight their skills and abilities rather than their deficiencies.

The main strategies used in effective mathematics teaching include:

  • making clear to learners what any activities they undertake are designed to teach;
  • using the context learners bring with them;
  • demonstrating and modelling;
  • instructing;
  • explaining and illustrating;
  • developing and consolidating;
  • building on the knowledge learners bring with them;
  • exposing and discussing misconceptions;
  • effective questioning techniques;
  • evaluating responses;
  • emphasising methods rather than answers;
  • creating connections between mathematical topics;
  • giving feedback and summarising;
  • monitoring and assessing;
  • using ICT when appropriate and effective;
  • encouraging learners to reflect on their learning.

Interwoven throughout these strategies should be opportunities for learners to discuss, practise, investigate and solve problems. Learners should be invited and encouraged to contribute their own ideas, working collaboratively in pairs or small groups and using rich collaborative tasks which allow a variety of approaches to be used. An effective teacher will also know when to act as a facilitator and when to intervene or participate in group discussion.

Related information and resources from other sites

Add to your NCETM favourites
Remove from your NCETM favourites
Add a note on this item
Recommend to a friend
Comment on this item
Send to printer
Request a reminder of this item
Cancel a reminder of this item