Differentiation alongside teaching for mastery - new NCETM Director blog

The NCETM’s Director Charlie Stripp has written a new blog outlining his current thinking on how adopting a mastery approach to teaching mathematics changes the way teachers involve and engage all pupils in a classroom.

In particular he explains how students with different prior attainment might be catered for without teachers allocating different mathematical tasks to different groups of pupils - what’s known as differentiation through lesson content.

The solution, he argues, involves giving those pupils having trouble grasping new concepts in a lesson speedy help - ideally on the same day - so that the whole class can be kept together working on the same material and learning at broadly the same pace in the next lesson, and over time.

He also stresses the importance and value of teachers posing detailed and precise questions to all pupils, to monitor whether or not they have established deep and secure understanding of the mathematical concepts and structures.

The blog makes clear that the NCETM is continuing to learn how mastery approaches can best be introduced to maths lessons in English school classrooms. Some of what’s been learnt has come from seeing teachers from Shanghai working in English schools, but the ongoing experience of those schools, as they test new teaching methods, and broader areas, including CPD arrangements and organisation of the school day, is also contributing to the development of the NCETM’s thinking.