Deep learning in education: highlights from the 2019 MNP Annual Conference

|6 min read

Now in its fifth year, the MNP Annual Conference continues to be a standout event. We gathered the brightest minds in education to dig into this year’s topic: Deep Learning in Education. Here’s how it went.

What would happen if we brought together hundreds of forward-thinking educators and took a hard look at what it will take to improve deep learning in education?

We couldn’t wait to find out.

30 April wasn’t your average teacher CPD. It was a day full of inspiring conversations with some of education’s most influential thinkers and doers looking for answers to the toughest, most pressing pedagogical challenges facing us today.

We’ve rounded up the most memorable moments of the conference shared by our wonderful MNP community. Couldn’t make it down? Not to worry, fingers crossed we’ll see you at the next one!

Anything to add? Share your conference highlights and your thoughts on deep learning in education with the hashtag #MNPConf19

Maths in the morning

The day got off to a strong start as we welcomed attendees to the beautiful Gibson Hall in London. Once everyone was adequately caffeinated, we were ready for a big day of even bigger maths ideas.

Excited to be with like minds discussing deeper learning in maths today ⁦

— Helen Hackett (@HyperHelga) April 30, 2019

@MathsNoProblem ready to have an extremely clever day today!

— Mrs Grear SS PP (@mathmechatical) April 30, 2019

An inspiring keynote address

Marcus du Sautoy kicked things off with his talk Teaching the Big Stories of Mathematics.

Those of us with front-row seats got up close and personal with this pedagogical heavy hitter as he discussed why mathematics should be treated like literacy — something we can definitely get on board with!

Front row seats! How exciting! #MNPConf19 #mathsmastery #growthmindset @MathsNoProblem

— Stanton_CP (@Stanton_CP) April 30, 2019

Life is about learning. Marcus du Sautoy inspiring us all in Maths as he kicks off the Maths No Problem conference. #MNPConf19

— Chandlers Field Primary School (@chandlers_field) April 30, 2019

Are we teaching the Shakespeare of mathematics in our classrooms every day? ⁦@MathsNoProblem⁩ ⁦@ParkfieldSchool⁩ Feeling inspired by Marcus du Sautoy this morning.

— Helen Hackett (@HyperHelga) April 30, 2019

Du Sautoy set the tone for the day, inspiring the #MNPConf19 audience and opening the door to a deeper inquiry into the nature of learning itself. As one attendee rightly pointed out: our minds were blown.

After listening to @MarcusduSautoy speak at #MNPConf19

— Mrs Grear SS PP (@mathmechatical) April 30, 2019

Demystifying dyscalculia

Then it was time for Professor Brian Butterworth to take the stage.

Hearing from a leading voice in the study of dyscalculia was a real treat. His talk highlighted how dyscalculia has nothing to do with how smart someone is — just ask the accomplished people on this slide (hi Cher!).

Dyscalculia / mathematical disabilities must be such a burden, particularly as they are often not recognised. ? Brian Butterworth spreading the word to help support children and adults. #MNPConf19

— Mirkka_J (@Mirkka_J) April 30, 2019

Once you know the answer to a mathematical fact, no maths is required. Knowing facts does not equate to reasoning. Same words by two speakers and very different contexts: Brian Butterworth and Ban Har @MathsNoProblem #mnpconf19

— Lou H-S (@LouiseHStaples) April 30, 2019

Feeling inspired by @MarcusduSautoy and @b_butterworth and it’s only lunchtime! Looking forward to @ban_har speak next! #MNPConf19 @MathsNoProblem

— Stanton_CP (@Stanton_CP) April 30, 2019

The evidence of deep learning in education

We ate lunch, went back for seconds, got an important coffee refill, and made some new friends. Then it was time for the maths man himself, Dr Yeap Ban Har.

He dug into the challenges surrounding deep learning in education and reminded us of the importance of struggle in the classroom.

‘Struggling is learning’ so don’t jump in to ‘rescue’ children too quickly when struggling with a problem

— Helen Hackett (@HyperHelga) April 30, 2019

With too many takeaways to count, we loved the focus he put on the mechanisms of deep learning; from the role textbooks and resources play, to the importance of training in your practice.

Great day at the maths conference today. What an inspirational key speaker @ban_har @ deightonprimary # S2S #MNPConf19

— Lisa Hillman (@LisaHillman18) April 30, 2019

Mechanisms to bring about deep learning. The inspirational @ban_har #MNPConf19

— Mirkka_J (@Mirkka_J) April 30, 2019

Our community responded with examples of deep learning work of their own. For SS Peter and Paul Catholic School, this was an opportunity to showcase their stellar journaling work.

#mnpconf19 @ban_har talking about examples of journals. At @SSPPMitcham we use our journals every day to explore problems. @MathsNoProblem

— Mrs Grear SS PP (@mathmechatical) April 30, 2019

Don’t forget to grab that Ban Har selfie! #MNPConf19

Mr Hollywood with @ban_har International speaker for Singapore Maths at the Annual @MathsNoProblem Conference in London ??

— Northwood (@NorthwoodCPS) April 30, 2019

Maths is everywhere

Have you ever wondered what the MNP community does when they have downtime at a maths conference? They look for more maths activities of course! And our venue Gibson Hall had plenty to offer.

#mnpconf19 Great mathematics even in the ceiling.

— Lou H-S (@LouiseHStaples) April 30, 2019

Inspiring presentation from #MarcusduSautoy about the excitement of maths around us in the the most beautiful mathematically inspired building. #MNPConf19

— Becky Reuben (@misswhitwam) April 30, 2019

Your new network

#MNPConf19 is about inspiring talks and the latest pedagogical research, but it’s also a chance to connect with motivated practitioners who share the same goals, challenges and successes.

We rounded out the day with engaging panel discussions, a chance for our community to ask their burning questions, and a networking reception to connect over refreshments and nibbles.


Doing good maths is not knowing the answer. It is how you behave when you do not. #MNPconf19

— Whitchurch Primary (@Whitchurch1) April 30, 2019

Do we have school cultures which build autonomy? Are we sending children to secondary school with a sense of self & independent skills they need?

— Helen Hackett (@HyperHelga) April 30, 2019

But the real question of the day was if the MNP Annual Conference was eight hours long, why did it feel so short?

Thank you

A tremendous thank you to everyone who came. We loved every minute of the day and we hope you did too.

Special thanks goes out to:

Marcus du Sautoy, Brian Butterworth, Dr Yeap Ban Har, Jane Hopwood, Simon Norton, Mark Cotton, Wendy Liu, Adam Gifford, Philip McNaboe, and Louise Freir for making it an unforgettable event!

Another great day of inspirational PD from ⁦@MathsNoProblem⁩ – If informative PD use IT, if inspiration is the aim, use a person – some great people today, I’m inspired! Thank you. #MNPconf19

— Helen Hackett (@HyperHelga) April 30, 2019

Last words of the day, courtesy of Mr. Coley.

Only one thing to do on the way home from a maths conference! #MNPConf19 @MathsNoProblem

— Mr. Coley (@Coley44) April 30, 2019

And that’s a wrap! The talks were inspiring. The panels covered new pedagogical ground. But our favourite part? Spending time with our amazing community all under one roof.

Hope to see you next year.

Couldn’t make it?

Keep your eyes peeled for more conference content! Plus, MNP courses are coming up across the country for a little extra maths momentum.