Maths mastery is a phrase which has become widely used in primary school maths. So what does it mean? If you’re a parent of a KS1 or KS2 pupil, there’s a good chance that your child is being taught using a mastery approach.
So what is maths mastery?
A mastery approach develops a deeper understanding of maths. Teaching maths for mastery generally uses a slower pace to ensure learners have a depth of understanding. A ‘traditional’ approach will move through maths units at a pace which suits some but is often too fast for others, encouraging recall of facts rather than understanding. It’s like knowing the make and model of a car but not having a clue how to drive it. Maths mastery addresses this through:
Giving learners time – Mastery means not simply rushing through curriculum objectives. Learners have time to explore, make mistakes and address misconceptions.
Rapid intervention – Teachers, support workers and parents intervene and support through modelling, re-framing questions and understanding the needs of the learner.
Building confidence – Children access the whole curriculum, not just a dumbed down version of it, even if they find it hard. They see multiple methods and use those that work for them.
Challenge through depth not pace – It’s not about getting 20 questions right and moving on to the next ‘harder’ sheet or topic. Developing thinking skills and understanding helps deepen learning.
Reasoning – Challenge and developing understanding at all levels comes through enabling the learner to think for themselves. Reasoning moves a learner from someone who can calculate to someone who understands the operations and numbers involved in calculations. The learner becomes able to explain what they have done. Reasoning also develops skills for making sense of the world around us.
Maths mastery is different
The mastery approach is probably different to the approach most adults encountered in their education. It’s therefore different than the approach many (including teachers) would naturally use with children. But if you start with the main ideas behind maths mastery you’ll be on the right track. Effectively teaching or supporting a child still requires good questioning and modelling, relevant use of physical resources, and understanding of the curriculum.
Supporting maths mastery
Arrow-Ed units provide explanations, diagrams, ideas for practice and methods of modelling to support parents, teachers and learners. Our units link to the popular White Rose maths, and follow the primary curriculum. Questions provide checks of understanding. They also allow for reasoning, requiring the learner to explain what they know – key to KS1 SATs and KS2 SATs.
If you’re looking to support a mastery approach to maths, visit our online store now.