Mastery = Solid Foundations

‘Mastery’ is a buzz word in education right now in the UK and USA, especially with maths education, but what exactly is it? This great TED talk by Sal Khan explains what ‘mastery learning’ is and argues that this should be the aim for all teachers and students.

Sal Khan (@salkhanacademy) is an educator and social entrepreneur. He set up the Khan Academy, which has more than 42 million registered users from 190 countries, with tutorials on subjects from basic math through economics, art history, computer science, health, medicine and more.

Khan asks the question ‘why do we rush students through education when they haven’t always grasped the basics?’. This is a question I ask regularly as I try to teach maths to classes with varied knowledge, full of gaps. He likened this ‘broken’ education process ‘to building a house on top of an unfinished foundation’. Khan also share his plan to turn struggling students into scholars by helping them master concepts at their own pace.

After watching this video, I think it would be difficult to argue with Khan’s aims of ‘mastery’ teaching but I think the key questions that arise are is it possible to implement Khan’s ideas of technology led personalised learning into school systems that are facing national cuts and are under huge exam pressures? This is something that the teaching profession and beyond needs to discuss.

Our world is changing so should our education!

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