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Teachers 'largely confident of benefits of maths mastery'

19/07/2017 Joanna

The majority of UK teachers have been convinced of the benefits to be achieved by adopting a mastery-based approach to maths teaching.

TES has published the findings of a survey it conducted involving 1,100 teachers, finding that six in ten teachers believe that using the maths mastery teaching approach will raise pupils' engagement with the subject, while half have seen attainment levels rise since they adopted the method.

Moreover, the benefits of maths mastery appear to also be felt by staff themselves, with more than 80 per cent saying they feel more confident in their ability to teach since adopting the method.

Maths mastery is a teaching approach that is widely used in East Asian regions such as Singapore and Shanghai, which are generally known for their high standards of attainment in mathematics. It involves pupils working on the same lesson content at the same time, remaining focused on the same part of the curriculum until all members have grasped the concept in question.

Helen Drury, executive director of the Mathematics Mastery professional development programme, said that mastery provides an opportunity to foster "much deeper learning" than the high-stakes testing culture that currently prevails within many schools.

She explained: "Taking more time in the first place so students understand a concept, and then building on that - it just works."

The government is currently investing £41 million over four years to support mastery in mathematics through a network of mastery specialist teachers, with an Oxford University study last year demonstrating that this method can be effective among British students.

Maths textbooks originally developed for use in China are also being translated and brought to the UK in an effort to help British schools emulate the high standards of maths attainment seen in many Asian countries.

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