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Mathematical Understanding and Teaching Methods – Underpinning Theory30 creditsMaster of EducationOnlineValidated by Middlesex University


The Mathematical Understanding and Teaching Methods – Underpinning Theory module is developed and delivered in partnership with Dyslexia Action. In this module, you will critically examine the research on the acquisition of mathematical understanding, considering both its applications and limitations. You will critically reflect upon the merits of a range of teaching approaches and resources.

This module can be completed as part of one of our Masters programmes: SEND & InclusionInclusive Educational LeadershipEducational Assessment, Autism or Pastoral Care.

Why take this module?

Choose this module and:

  1. Critically examine the influence of a range of factors on the typical and atypical acquisition of numeracy and other types of mathematical skills
  2. Appraise a range of teaching approaches associated with the development of mathematical understanding
  3. Evaluate a range of maths resources with reference to the cognitive and affective processes that contribute to mathematical understanding

How will you benefit?

This module will benefit you and your setting in a wide variety of ways. Over the duration of the course, you will:

  • Understand how your students acquire new mathematical skills and knowledge and the difficulties they may face
  • Develop strategies to support the development of mathematical understanding in your primary, secondary or adult learners, including those who have struggled with grasping basic maths skills previously. Please contact us if you are considering this module and work with adult learners so that we can help you identify if this module will meet your needs
  • Reflect upon how your own perceptions as a teacher can affect learning outcomes in maths
  • Build knowledge of a variety of different teaching practices which can be used to improve mathematical abilities amongst your students
  • Accrue 30 credits for use on one of our postgraduate programmes: SEND and Inclusion or Inclusive Educational Leadership
  • Become eligible to study the Maths Teaching and Dynamic Assessment module, which when combined with this module, will confer the PGCert Specialist Teaching for Maths-related Difficulties awarded by Dyslexia Action

The module content

  • The characteristics of a good mathematician – the core skills, habits of mind and how these contribute to mathematical competence
  • Typical and atypical development of maths skills – factors affecting development
  • Approaches to teaching maths and conceptualising mathematical understanding (e.g., relational versus instrumental understanding)
  • Evaluating maths teaching methods
  • Cognitive processes involved in mathematical reasoning/understanding
  • Numeracy versus mathematical understanding
  • Appraising resources – what makes a resource effective?
  • Affective issues in maths learning

How will you be assessed?

Your assessments will consist of the following:

  • Quizzes covering key content for practice
  • Case Study Analysis
  • Summative assignments will include:
    • Write an essay (3,000 words) on the theory and research surrounding mathematical cognition 
    • Design and deliver a presentation (2,000 words) on ‘Ideas for Teaching’ 

How is the module delivered?

  • Our courses are delivered through Campus Online, our unique provision for online learning.
  • Campus Online allows you to study at your own pace, without the need to travel, or commit to particular dates or times. Log in to access your study materials, contact your personal tutor for support, connect and network with other delegates and make use of the extensive resource library.
  • You can easily track your progress throughout the course and submit your work and evidence of assignments for feedback.

Who is this course designed for?

This course is suitable for teachers or other professionals with experience in teaching maths who would like to know more about how to support learners with maths-related difficulties. It is suitable for those working in a range of educational settings, including Primary and Secondary schools. 

Are you eligible?

  • You will need to hold an undergraduate degree
  • You will need GCSE Maths at Grade C/4, or if you haven’t been in the UK education system, a qualification which demonstrates proficiency in maths, for example, end of school certification level or a degree that features a substantial applied mathematical component
  • You must also have recent and relevant experience (a minimum of two years in a maths teaching/teaching support role) to be eligible for this module
  • You will need to be working in an educational setting for this module. If you aren’t currently working in an educational setting you will need written permission from a senior member of staff to regularly access a setting.

Are you based in an international setting?

This module is available online and can therefore be completed anywhere in the world. The programme content is designed and written with both UK and international settings in mind.

Please click here for advice on payment options and other information relevant to those studying outside of the UK.

How much does it cost?

We offer a flexible range of fees to suit you:

  • A one-off payment of £1,495 + VAT 
  • Three instalments of £523 + VAT

For further information please visit our payment FAQ page.

Speak to us on +44(0)1273 358080 or make a booking.

What could it lead to?

Upon successful completion of this module, you could go on to study the Maths Teaching and Dynamic Assessment module and achieve a PGCert Specialist Teaching for Maths-Related Difficulties awarded by Dyslexia Action.

You could also combine this module with other modules on our SEND and Inclusion Programme or Inclusive Educational Leadership Programme to achieve a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or the MEd in SEND and Inclusion.

Please note: If you are interested in any of the becoming a member or accredited by The Dyslexia Guild, you may need further training in addition to the Postgraduate Certificate in Specialist Teaching for Maths-related Difficulties. Please contact The Dyslexia Guild at guild@dyslexiaaction.org.uk for further information.

  • For Associate (ADG) or Member (MDG) membership with The Dyslexia Guild, you will need literacy/SpLD qualifications at Level 5 or 7
  • Literacy qualifications are required to apply for an APC 

When does the course start?

Cohorts begin in January, May, or September.

The next cohort begins on 15 September 2024. Book and enrol before 15 September 2024 to join our next cohort.

If you are planning to combine this module with the Maths Teaching and Dynamic Assessment module, to achieve the Postgraduate Certificate in Specialist Teaching for Maths-related Difficulties, we recommend one of the following study schedules:

  Mathematical Understanding and Teaching Methods Maths Teaching and Dynamic Assessment
PGCert study option 1 Start 15 January Start 15 September
PGCert study option 2 Start 15 May Start 15 Jan
PGCert study option 3 Start 15 September Start 15 September (the following year)

We recommend these study schedules because the Maths Teaching and Dynamic Assessment module includes practical activities during which you will require access to your setting. 

Please note: as it takes time to process your application and payment, we strongly recommend that you register as soon as possible, so that you don’t miss the next intake.

Please note that this course is currently subject to approval.

How long does it take to complete the course?

You will have up to six months to complete this course. 

We do understand, however, that circumstances can arise that could prevent the course from being completed during this time. If this is the case, an extension can be arranged in conjunction with the admin team and your tutor.

Module Leader

Gill Cochrane

Gill has worked in the field of education for over twenty years. She writes and researches on the teaching of literacy and mathematics. Within Real Group, her work includes the design and management of courses to enhance teachers’ professional development. Gill is the lead for the Masters of Education (MEd) in Professional Practice in Dyslexia and Literacy, the Postgraduate Certificate in Specialist Teaching for Maths-related Difficulties & the Level 5 Specialist Teacher Programme. She is also one of the lead developers on the Dyslexia Action Literacy Programme.

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