Improving mathematics outcomes in schools: Teaching by Mastery
August 24, 2020
Teaching by mastery is a general term used to describe the pedagogical approach to teaching maths that is commonly used in Singapore and Shanghai. In this approach, the teaching of mathematical concepts is broken down into steps. The teacher focuses on each step in turn and ensures, often through explicit teaching, that all students gain a thorough understanding, or mastery of it, before moving to the next step in the sequence. Relationships between concepts and their application in problem-solving are introduced to the students as part of the acquisition of mastery skills. The intention is for each student to acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the mathematics concepts that they learn (https://www.ncetm.org.uk/teaching-for-mastery/mastery-explained/).
In recent years, mastery techniques have been adopted by maths educators in the UK. The transition to mastery in the UK is of particular interest to Australian teachers. The two countries share a similar cultural and educational context and prior to its recent changes in teaching practice, the UK, like Australia, emphasised inquiry-based learning.
In the coming weeks AAMT will be organising a series of webinars about Teaching for Mastery. These will be given by maths education colleagues in the UK and Singapore.