The mastery approach
What does a maths lesson at East Wichel look like?
The mastery learning model forms the basis of our approach in teaching maths. As a primary school, we have a duty to ensure that children have a solid understanding of the subject knowledge and skills involved. We are teaching for depth and secure understanding, which means spending greater time going in depth on concepts to ensure secure, sustainable knowledge and understanding.
Based on the mastery approach, the key elements of a maths lesson are:
- Quiz - a multi choice retrieval quiz linked to prerequisite skills or concepts that the children will need to refer to in order to be successful learners.
- Learning objective - a clear learning point is shared with the children which is small and manageable; ‘small steps are easier to take’.
- Hook - a ‘hook’ linked to the learning. Putting the learning into a context or real life situation gives the learning a clear purpose.
- Teach it! – the new learning is introduced, where appropriate within the context to give the children a reason for doing the learning. This involves stem sentences, ‘What do you notice?’ opportunities, questioning, partner discussion, modelling, ‘my turn, your turn’ (with ALL children actively involved) and use of appropriate concrete manipulatives and images.
- Let’s practise! – children are given the opportunity to practise the concept, with partner discussion actively encouraged. Children are given a minimum of 5 questions to have a go at, once again alongside the use of manipulatives and models/images. This is also an assessment opportunity for further targeted support to be given where needed.
- Convince Colin – this part of the lesson addresses common misconceptions or difficulty points. Questions are given in the form of ‘always, sometimes, never’, true or false and ‘do you agree?’.
- All children then work through three stages of independent activity. The ‘Do it!’ task involves simple examples based on procedural fluency, focused on what the learning is. ‘Challenge it!’ presents a challenge based on misconceptions, requiring the children to reason and consider probing questions. Finally, ‘Solve it!’ is problem solving focused, linked to children showing a deeper understanding by making connections, applying their learning to different situations and generating further questions.
- Children are given the opportunity at the end of a lesson to mark and self-correct their work.
Through careful lesson planning and the identification of a key learning point, which is small, clear and manageable, all children are on a learning journey together from a shared starting point and work through small, achievable steps.