Mastery“The National Curriculum should focus on ‘fewer things in greater depth’, in secure learning which persists, rather than relentless, over-rapid progression…” Tim Oates, TES, Oct 14
Courthouse Green is committed to embedding a 'mastery approach' to teaching and learning into our curriculum and enhance the quality of teaching by:
*increasing the opportunities for problem solving, reasoning and conceptual understanding
*through questioning identifying and overcoming misconceptions
What is a Mastery Curriculum?
A mastery curriculum is based on the belief that virtually all learners can learn all important academic content to a level of excellence. In a mastery curriculum model, pupils move through concepts together, at one pace, until the vast majority reach an agreed level of ability.
At Courthouse Green, we design all learning opportunities alongside pupils, having a shared commitment to:
Ask them, don’t tell them
Make them think and ask questions
Guide them to conceptual understanding
Actively promote the application of skills to the abstract
Mastery is built on the premise that information is only fully retained if learnt in depth. A distinction has to be made therefore between Surface learning and deep learning:
Surface learning – surface, temporary, often lost
Deep learning – it sticks, can be recalled and used
Mastery learning – can be transferred and applied in different contexts
Why a Mastery Curriculum?
Research shows that a mastery curriculum, if implemented properly and committedly, can have significant impact on pupil outcomes. Most importantly it can:
- Narrow the attainment gap; pupils with lower starting points making the most rapid progress through the opportunities to apply their learning in different contexts;
- Accelerate learning by ensuring that skills and knowledge are more effectively embedded, leading to less time spent returning to work already covered;
- Motivate pupils through the social dimension of group-paced learning, with classes working together to achieve in mixed ability groupings;
- Improve the retention of learnt material and its later application, by focusing on regular assessment practice which aids in the formation of long-term memories
Elements of a Mastery Curriculum
- Expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards.
- Large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum content at the same pace.
- Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention.
- Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and subject knowledge. Intelligent practice and consolidation play a key role.
- Use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and subject knowledge and assess pupils regularly to identify those requiring intervention so that all pupils keep up.
The ‘Courthouse Green Mastery Curriculum’
Our approach to a ‘mastery curriculum’ demands careful planning where the learning journey is designed with pupils becoming ‘experts’ as crucial to mastering a concept or skill and a secure assessment of embedded learning. This stems from:
Links through the design of the curriculum
Developing pupils’ subject knowledge
Development of specific vocabulary
Assessment for learning to move learners on
Providing insightful feedback
Developing questioning which probes and deepens learning
Effectively using IT
Through our outstanding curriculum, we will focus specifically on:
Vocabulary development - specifically, pupils achieving better results when they are taught:
• Core and subject-specific vocabulary
• Phonics and phonemic awareness
• Comprehension skills
Probing questions - Designed to promote pupils’ thinking and elicit information about true understanding.
The Mastery Approach to Theme Learning
Start with a memorable, first-hand experience
Begin observations, research and asking questions
Fully engage with the new topic
Improve knowledge and understanding
Develop and practise new skills
Explore, make and do
Apply skills and knowledge in real life contexts
Solve real or imagined problems through learning
Gain inspiration from creative activities
Become performers, experts and informers
Link learning back to starting points
Share and celebrate achievements