Mastery Approach to Teaching and Learning
The Mastery-learning model forms the basis of our approach to traditional teaching. This means spending greater time going into more detail about a subject as opposed to racing through the things that all children should know. Previously, racing through content lead to some children having large gaps in their subject knowledge because the concept they had just learnt was either too big or learnt too quickly. As a primary school, it is our duty to ensure that children have an absolutely solid, concrete understanding of subject knowledge and skills as well as being emotionally resilient for secondary school.
Now, we have the confidence to take learning at a steadier and deeper pace, ensuring that no child is left behind, as well as providing deeper and richer experiences for children who are above the national expectation for their age. For example children get the opportunity to apply their learning independently through a range of problem solving activities as well as creative ones.
We focus on all children achieving what is expected of their year group and not going beyond this. Evidence shows that children need to be able to understand a concept, apply it in a range of situations independently and then be creative to really understand it. Simply going beyond their year group does not guarantee they understand something, it just means they have heard it.
At Etz Chaim no child will be taught content from the year group above them, they will spend time becoming true masters of content, applying and being creative with new knowledge and skills in multiple ways in their current year group. The children will consolidate their learning in a variety of ways through continuous provision and the children will record their learning in a number of methods. For example using photos, videos, recording on a white board.
In short, this means working towards:
- Teach less, learn more: less teacher talk and more evidencing learning and progress
- No child left behind: all children are enabled to keep up every day.
- Space and time to experience and apply, with all children entitled to additional support to ensure they do not fall behind or to go deeper
- Understanding real life applications wherever possible to make learning relevant and not abstract; nothing should be taught without a purpose.
We will be doing more of this:
- All of this means that you may see a change in the way we teach and assess your child, most notably will be in how we organise your child’s learning and how we report their progress to you.
- Verbal feedback during lessons, shorted comments in books and more ticking of correct concepts
- Spending longer on one idea
- Giving children who need it, additional support over shorter, more intense periods, like a day or week.
- Consolidating learning through continuous provision
And less of this:
- Formal marking with lots of written feedback
- Covering lots of ideas in one week
- Formal, long term interventions to boost them out of class
This approach is seen as good practice. It is promoted by the government and seen as the best way to deliver the new national curriculum.