Back to School – Mastery and deeper learning

It’s great to have our children back at school and enjoying learning. The key word is ENJOYING. It worries me when my 12 year old granddaughter tells me that her lessons are boring and she wishes the holidays could last for ever. Why? We all have to spend a minimum of eleven years at school learning according to the National Curriculum – a huge chunk out of our lives. My granddaughter is a bright girl, doing well at school – so learning should be stimulating, challenging – and most of the time interesting and engaging. Yes, children switch off on occasions to daydream and rest their brains but in general they should come home buzzing with what new learning has been added to what they already know.

What is mastery and deeper learning? The revised National Curriculum recognises that children need to delve deeply into the language and concepts of topics studied so that they understand it thoroughly. Time must be allowed in lessons for talk – in the form of challenge, questioning, interrogation of whatever is being learned (in some subjects) – in the form of digging deeper and asking the question WHY. The curriculum calls this deeper learning MASTERY. Mastery is hugely important so it merits further exploration (in my future blogs).

Mastery is what every teacher and parent seeks for each child, depending on innate ability. Therefore, this kind of learning must be interesting and engaging if children are to learn from it and master the concepts they meet in school. School cannot always be fun – but overall learners must encounter some kind of interest and enjoyment for learning to happen.

So – as adults, let’s help our children to find the fun in learning. Their future life chances depend on it.

PS. My latest book in the ‘Parents: Help your child succeed’ series, at Key Stage 2 is almost ready. Should be out on Amazon by October. Meanwhile – happy learning!

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