At SMC maths is taught using a mastery approach. Teaching maths for mastery is a transformational approach to maths teaching which stems from high performing Asian nations such as Singapore. When taught to master maths, children develop their mathematical fluency without resorting to rote learning and are able to solve non-routine maths problems without having to memorise procedures.
When teaching maths for mastery, the whole class moves through topics at broadly the same pace. Each topic is studied in depth and the teacher does not move to the next stage until all children demonstrate that they have a secure understanding of mathematical concepts.
Students are given time to think deeply about the maths and really understand concepts at a relational level rather than as a set of rules or procedures. This slower pace leads to greater progress because it ensures that students are secure in their understanding and teachers don’t need to revisit topics once they’ve been covered in depth.
In a traditional primary school maths lesson, children are put in different groups and given different content based on their anticipated ability. This means that from an early age children are classed as those who can and can’t “do maths”. Teaching maths for mastery is different because it offers all pupils access to the full maths curriculum. This inclusive approach, and its emphasis on promoting multiple methods of solving a problem, builds self-confidence and resilience in pupils.
Though the whole class goes through the same content at the same pace, there is still plenty of opportunity for differentiation. Unlike the old model, where advanced learners are accelerated through new content, those pupils who grasp concepts quickly are challenged with rich and sophisticated problems within the topic. Those children who are not sufficiently fluent are provided additional support to consolidate their understanding before moving on.
Children who struggle with their timestables in primary school are much more likely to fall behind as they advance into their secondary education. When it comes to times tables, speed AND accuracy are important – the more facts your child remembers, the easier it is for them to do harder calculations.
Times Table Rock Stars is a fun and challenging programme designed to help students master the times tables! The programme is used both for class and homework to help children build their knowledge by taking on a rock star persona and playing in festivals and in battle of the bands (both different challenges which can be against players in other schools or class battles within the school).
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