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Harris Academies
All Academies in our Federation aim to transform the lives of the students they serve by bringing about rapid improvement in examination results, personal development and aspiration.

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Posted on April 20th 2017

Mastery in Mathematics. HAB Teachers Adopt Innovative Approach

Maths 1

‘Mathematics for mastery’ is an engaging, accessible way to teach children Mathematics inspired by teaching in Singapore and Shanghai. This approach is already used in UK primary schools and is now being used at HAB too. Mathematics teacher Aseel Showman explains.

At HAB we will soon be training a small group of teachers across different schools to become ‘Mathematics for mastery’ specialists. After being trained, they will then work with other teachers in their departments to ensure that pupils are able to gain a deep understanding of maths.

‘Mathematics for mastery’ is a style of teaching inspired by teaching in Shanghai. Already used in primary schools across the UK, we are looking at how to continue the same teaching style at HAB.

Visual representations

Over the course of this year, on the Mastery Specialist Programme, there have thus far been two training sessions in which we have looked at various key ideas to support the teaching of Mathematics for mastery. These include the introduction of more visual representations and ensuring that questions which are used in the lessons have been well thought out and picked for a clear purpose.

Maths 2

I was also able to observe a lesson delivered to a Year 4 class by a teacher from Shanghai in which the differences in their teaching styles gave me ideas to bring to the Mathematics department at HAB.

There was an emphasis on discovering the key idea for the lesson, which was supported through use of visual representations, allowing much time for discussion and not rushing through many mathematical ideas at once, but only analysing one idea from various angles.

The teacher also gave pupils many opportunities to consolidate what they had learnt throughout the lesson, by re-iterating the key idea in the form of a short statement.

Model lesson

I have been able to share some of these mastery ideas with other Mathematics teachers at HAB, in which we looked at a model lesson using the teaching for mastery ideas.

Here we were able to notice the key differences with a mastery lesson and we were able to discuss the benefits for teaching Mathematics in this way. Teachers were given access to this exact lesson and were able to use this to influence their lesson planning.  

In the second year of the programme we will largely be working with other interested schools in the area to help them introduce a mastery approach to Mathematics teaching in their school. However, we will continue to work with teachers at HAB to ensure that they feel confident to adopt a mastery approach in their lessons.

The ‘Mastery for Mathematics’ programme is run by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).

Aseel Showman, Teacher of Mathematics, HAB