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UK Mastery programme undermined by its 'Elephant in the room'?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mature_maths_trainee, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    The NCTEMs The Essence of Maths Teaching for Mastery (June '16) document emphasises whole-class interactive teaching and the fact that no pupils are left behind. Specifically it says:
    'If a pupil fails to grasp a concept or procedure, this is identified quickly and early intervention ensures the pupil is ready to move forward with the whole class in the next lesson'.

    In Shanghai, I assume this 'early intervention' is in the form of extra work the weaker students get given to do in their afternoons? If this is enforced from when they first begin school, it's fairly easy to see how everyone is kept together and can be taught 'the same' in each lesson.

    But what's being expected here in the UK? Holding students back for a few mins at break time, or getting them to do some extra ICT-based practice instead of attending a 10 min registration is no-where near enough to compensate for differences in their learning speeds. Clearly (surely?) it needs to be adopted from Year 1, because by later years the spread of abilities is already too large to compensate in merely minutes or hours.

    We seem to be completely ignoring the huge cultural difference that in Shanghaii, it seems expected that 'those who are behind need to catch up', whilst in the UK the predominant model of learning is that 'each student progresses at their own natural rate and that it's our job (as teachers) to differentiate our lessons to allow them to progress optimally (for them).
    If we were to routinely expect weaker students to do considerably more work, there would be outcries of them 'being punished for being weak'.

    Unless the Hubs, NCTEM, STEM etc. address and resolve this issue in a far stronger way, I fear the programme will falter and under-achieve.

  2. krisgreg30

    krisgreg30 Occasional commenter

    I think staff would love to operate 'early interventions' in a Shanghai way but from my experience there simply isn't the physical resources in a school to run this kind of intervention, particularly in an afternoon.

    Unless more money is pumped into schools, the Hubs etc. can do as much research as they like but schools will struggle to act on it.
    First Snowdrop and bevdex like this.
  3. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    Crikey, where to start with this entire debacle?

    As a long term advocate of a mastery model for schooling, it is heartbreaking to see the absolute drivel that is being passed off under the name of mastery.

    Attempting to cherry pick neat bits of an educational model that happen to sit nicely with one's ideology and then shoehorn them into a complex and established system is never, ever, ever going to be successful.

    It is such a shame. If carefully embedded from the start of school upwards, a mastery model has the proven potential to significantly improve standards in mathematics.

    Instead, we are faced with lame attempts at building 'mastery schemes of work' or 'mastery indicators'. Geez. When did teachers lose their ability to read and question bunkum?

    Over a century of R&D to refine the mastery model by some incredible people all around the world and it's reduced to complete and utter garbage by those who don't even bother to learn the entire model, just plug in bits they think they like. Now, what could have been a great opportunity is nothing more than a weak minded fad (you can spot the fads easily - it's when the publishers just take all their normal stuff and stamp the word 'mastery' in front of everything).

    It is imbecilic to think one can just take a name like Mastery and make up some tosh then say it is a mastery approach.

    Is it any wonder at all that NCETM has been abolished?
  4. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    This is news to me. Since when?
  5. krisgreg30

    krisgreg30 Occasional commenter

    It hasn't been when you consider they run the Maths hub programme. Not sure why the poster said that it has been.
  6. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    @googolplex It has been on the cards for a while now, but the DfE have been working out a strategy. The NCETM contract came to an end at the start of the year. DfE gave it a short extension in order to give some time and space to work out what to do next, but it was pretty much known that it would not continue with NCETM. Nick Gibb made the official announcement at the annual ACME conference in June.

    @krisgreg30 NCETM does not run the Maths Hubs, never has. The Hubs are funded by a direct grant from NCTL. NCETM, as part of a revised remit, is required to work in partnership with them, providing a sort of national cohesion.

    The NCETM extension contract ends at the end of this month. It is not being renewed. Instead, Gibb announced the launch of a new National Mathematics Education Centre, details of which will be announced on October 3rd. The new NMEC will begin operation from 1st November. It has a very different remit to NCETM.

    A key purpose of NMEC will be to promote a mastery approach. Let's hope it can have more success.
  7. krisgreg30

    krisgreg30 Occasional commenter

    I apologise then as my information only came from a quick Google search to see rather than the range of information you have collected about it from the various updates.
  8. georgelenton

    georgelenton New commenter

    To me it seems that the main problem is UK culture towards education from parents. If children aren't pushed and encouraged at home then I can't really see any system doing much for them at school.
  9. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    And when you factor in the SEND children being taught separately, and newcomers to school being taught in a separate class.....

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