HEJNY Method

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HEJNY Method : A different approach to mathematics teaching and children's development

Czech RepublicPrague, Czech Republic
Year Founded:
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The different approach to math didactics is based on 12 key principles concept, which leads children to explore math by themselves with joy and satisfaction. The method results from over 40 years of experiments. The children learn how to think, argue, analyze and more, how to reach an agreement.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if schools help children to discover mathematics themselves and children really enjoy it? What if math at school educates children to be se
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Children in the Czech Republic and other countries in Central&Eastern Europe do not like math at schools in general, they are often afraid of math and they do not believe they can be good at it. The teaching methods used at schools are essentialistic and transmissive - children are taught the solutions and correct operations which they often only memorize. The universities and employers complain about decreasing knowledge level of young people.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Prof. Hejny developed a math teaching method for children which is based on constructivist education and 40 years of experiments. The method can be implemented at schools where the director/teachers are open for it. This method has been adopted by more than 350 of the 3 900 Czechs schools on the primary and lower-secondary level. The team writes a series of mathematics textbooks - for the primary school are completed, for the secondary are being created. The primer focus is on the role of teacher who represents a guide, submits the problems and organizes the discussion in class. The method leads to positive results - the pupils like math, their knowledge is not mechanical, they are motivated, etc. See http://www.h-mat.cz/en/hejny-method.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Children enjoy this process of exploring math independently and in cooperation with their friends/classmates. They often want more of these lessons. At one school, there was only one class teacher on the primary level who was willing to follow the method. Soon she experienced so high demand for her math lessons, that she also offered free time lessons in the afternoon. Children were leaving other hobby groups to have time to attend her voluntary HEJNY method math classes. At other school, children spontaneously, collectively created a compilation of math problems for their classmates. Here they showed their deep understanding of the problems, ability of generalization and abstraction, but also their enthusiasm which reaches far beyond math.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

HEJNY method not only improves children's relationship to math, their knowledge and understanding. It has much wider social effect. The children are educated to cooperate and trust, discuss with and respect others, argue for their ideas and work with errors, and eventually to reach an agreement. Children get self confidence to solve new problems, think independently. Currently HEJNY method including the supporting textbooks is adopted and used in 10 percent for the Czech primary schools. The training of new lectors and support for the practicing lectors is ongoing. The textbooks for the lower-secondary level are being created.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

There are plans for upper-secondary school textbooks and for extending the current support scheme for teachers. Awareness of the method has also spurred investigation into the possibilities of implementing the method in other school subjects. The big challenge is not only to change/improve the math teaching method, where the key change lies on the approach and role of the teacher, but also to develop an instrument/method for description, analyses and comparison of children teaching methods in general. Then with proven results HEJNY method can apply and help in any other country.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Now the H-mat organization gets mainly financed by two foundations. It should pay for the organization's establishment, the ongoing trainings of teachers, completing and piloting the creation and implementation of new text books for secondary schools. In the future H-mat plans to cover operations from the lecturing fees, development of electronic applications or selling of knowhow licenses.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Changing the teaching approach at the public education system is not a typical marketplace. The success is more related to the philosophy, social, cultural and political environment of the country. There are different positive initiatives in Central/Eastern Europe trying to improve children's knowledge and relationship to math and other subjects. One example for all: the Polish free time school "Szkola 2plus2". These initiatives help very much the situation, also support the argument for the need of this change, but none of them is as complex, systematic and ready as HEJNY method.

Founding Story

There were more "Aha" moments accompanying the HEJNY method evolution. First, Mr. Vit Hejny, father of Prof. Milan Hejny and teacher on a Trade Academy before the 2nd World War, started to experiment with his pupils on solving typified vs. nonstandard math problems, when he detected the difference in approach his pupils showed. Second, Prof. Hejny decided to become a math teacher and leave his theoretic mathematician career, after his son brought the worst school grade for a math test, where he gained a correct result, but he used a different process than he was taught at school. Third, all the "Aha" moments of discovery and satisfaction which children accomplish when they get guided by their teacher using the principles of HEJNY method.


The team supporting the HEJNY method consists of Prof. Milan Hejny and his team of academics from the Faculty of Education at Charles University in Prague, plus few staff members of the H-mat org. established recently for controlling the project. Also, very importantly, the lecturers, teachers and fans of the method, who help to implement the new approach into primary and secondary schools within Czech and Slovak republics - for the present:-)
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, Prague

Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Foundations, NGOs, National government.


Prof. Milan Hejny has received several honors for his method and contribution to maths didactics. He is an honorary member of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists, an honorary member of the Slovak Union of Mathematicians and Physicists, and holder of the golden plaque of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics of the Comenius University in Bratislava. In 2010 he was awarded the 1st degree Medal of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for extensive excellent educational activity. In 2012 he received the “MathProf ONE” award within the “Czech 100 Best” project. In 2013 he was given a special award within the “Making Math Fun” project.

Primary Target Age Group

3 - 5, 6 - 12, 13 - 17.

Your role in Education

Coach, Teacher.

Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free).

Intervention Focus

Curricular, Professional Development.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Equip Adults to Drive Change in Learning: Providing creative learning experiences for teachers, parents, working professions and others that empowers them to drive change in any part of the learning ecosystem.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Lack of structures to facilitate meaningful community ownership in learning process: It is challenging to ensure parents and the broader community are involved as full co-owners in the learning process.

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

constructive, critical and independent thinking,
cooperation and communication,
operation with errors and learning from them positively,
self confidence and understanding maths as an agreement.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

Train the trainer, we deliver best practice and co-teach via highly competent and motivated trainers,
at their premises (schools), at our premises and at specifically designed events. There are many activities organized running simultaneously. For example H-mat organized 10 summer schools for teachers and lecturers in summer 2014, managed as 1 week long off-site stays with everyday lessons and trainings in Hejny method approach. The new completed textbooks for 6th class have been distributed to 36 classes of 28 schools, where Hejny method for 6th class will be piloted. About 30 trainings and presentations for teaches and lecturers are being planned for the winter semester. The promotion activities run at new schools which express their interest in Hejny method.

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

The more we do and deliver our method the higher demand is (both in case of our method as well as supportive tools and devices)

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

…means highly intellectual and at the same time easygoing activity, by the joy of own experience of and recognition we lead the child from early age to youngsters´ period on their cognitive journey of life , the main purpose is gradually enhance deep motivation and social skills for the next generations

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

Hybrid model, with the goal to move closer to profit (black zero) model in case of regular closer activities and to go on with fund raising in case of business development

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

The hybrid model relates well. To give H-mat organization the stability and reliability to support continuously the schools running on Hejny method and to give a helping hand to new comers, it is valuable to have this operation part financially self-sustaining. For the development projects or investments in general, H-mat needs external funding.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

To enhance learning quality by even more skilful and competent trainers in line with upgrade of training/teaching tools (like for instance LEGO building bricks incorporated into our standard sets)

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

--Reading clubs
--school inspection turned into advisory
-- mentoring

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

Any partner with intellectual and creative potential is highly welcome. We got in closer communication with the interesting projects Talentify, Professor S. and ESAL.

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

To establish and further enhance solid based approach for creative learning where individual skills work for wide society. Enjoy it and deserve the success!

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

--diagnostic measures of real comprehension (not just math)
--“low fi of teachers” (small students have to dominate, teachers' voice is less evident)
--social skills
-- active listening

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

10,001 to 50,000

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?


Other (please specify)
Number of Employees:

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers:


APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Physical Play, Play with Objects, Symbolic Play, Pretence/ Socio-Dramatic Play, Games with Rules, Providing a Range of Opportunities (providing the equipment and materials needed for various types of play), Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts), Other (please specify).

Other (please specify)

building schemes through play, constructivism

AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.

NOT, but we would like to incorporate the LEGO brick as one of the supporting learning environment