Hugh Burkhardt obituary

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My father, Hugh Burkhardt, who has died aged 88, was an educator and visionary within the discipline of arithmetic training. Via his work as director of the Shell Centre for Mathematical Training at Nottingham College, and books equivalent to The Actual World and Arithmetic (1981), Hugh helped thousands and thousands of maths academics assist their college students to understand arithmetic and use it of their every day lives.

A theoretical physicist for 16 years, Hugh got interested throughout the Nineteen Sixties within the educating of arithmetic. Over 4 many years he drove the evolution of the sector from a set of formal tutorial methods utilized to contrived issues, to a spread of sensible strategies that could possibly be utilized creatively to real-world problem-solving.

Born right into a scientific household in Manchester, Hugh was the son of Carol (nee Bell), a arithmetic trainer earlier than marriage, and George Burkhardt, a chemistry professor. After Manchester grammar college, he studied physics at Balliol Faculty, Oxford, graduating in 1956.

He started his tutorial profession as a theoretical physicist at Birmingham College, with a yr at UCLA within the US (1968), and two years at Cern in Geneva (1964-72).

In 1976 he was appointed professor of mathematical training at Nottingham College, and director of its Shell Centre for Mathematical Training. There, Hugh championed the function of “academic designer” in altering the educating of arithmetic.

Nonetheless, he knew that creating new strategies and proving them empirically was solely half the battle. The problem was to drive adoption by the nice variety of academics topic to native incentives and constraints.

In 1993, in response to the affect of “excessive stakes” public examinations, he launched the acronym WYTIWYG, “What You Check Is What You Get”, and this slowly turned accepted by policymakers and examination boards. Exams modified to evaluate higher-level abilities, equivalent to fixing non-routine issues and decoding graphs of real-world knowledge.

To assist academics reinforce these abilities, the centre produced “formative evaluation” classes via the US-based Arithmetic Evaluation Venture. It’s estimated there have been greater than 7 million trainer downloads of those classes, such because the cube sport to help studying of chance ideas.

As emeritus professor at Nottingham, Hugh remained lively into his late 80s, directing and contributing to many analysis initiatives. His co-authored e-book with Daniel Pead and Kaye Stacey, Studying and Instructing for Mathematical Literacy, was revealed in February.

Outdoors work, he cherished French meals, wine and classical music. He performed the oboe with the Bavicchi wind quintet, performing for greater than 40 years.

Hugh married Diana Farmer, a pc science lecturer, in 1955; they’d three youngsters, Roger, Ian and me. The wedding led to divorce within the mid-80s. From 1990 he was in a relationship with Jeanne Downton, a bereavement counsellor.

She and his youngsters survive him.

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