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Teaching for Mastery
Mastery is achieved through developing procedural fluency and conceptual understanding in tandem. Mathematics teaching for mastery rejects the idea that a large proportion of people ‘just can’t do maths’. All students are encouraged by the belief that by working hard at mathematics they can succeed and that making mistakes is to be seen not as a failure but as a valuable opportunity for new learning.
In a typical lesson, the teacher facilitates whole-class interactive discussion, including active debate and argument based around the tasks offered. Through teacher-student and student-student interaction the teacher encourages demonstration, explanation, exploration, analysis and generalisation (leading to proof where appropriate). All students in the class are thinking about, working on and discussing the same mathematical content. Every attempt is made to keep the whole class learning together. Differentiation is achieved, not through offering different content, but through paying attention to the levels of support and challenge needed to allow every student to fully grasp the concepts and ideas being studied. This ensures that all students gain sufficiently deep and secure understanding of the mathematics to form the foundation of future learning before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence.
For those students who grasp ideas quickly, acceleration into new content is avoided. Instead, these students are challenged by deeper analysis of the lesson content and by applying the content in new and unfamiliar problem-solving situations. If some students fail to grasp an important aspect of the lesson, this is identified quickly and early intervention ensures that they are ready to move forward with the whole class in the next lesson.
Significant time is spent developing a deep understanding of the key ideas and concepts that are needed to underpin future learning. The structures and connections within the mathematics are emphasised, which helps to ensure that students’ learning is sustainable over time.
The image below shows the Mastery Journey in full
If you think your school could benefit from the Teaching for Mastery programme, view our Mastery Opportunities page here!
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