How to manage new priorities without changing your approach
Yes things change in Year 6 but that doesn’t mean you should change your approach. At the start of Year 6, I always concentrate on mindset, coverage, and confidence.
Focus on these three things and your learners will be in good shape for secondary school. We stayed with the mastery approach last year and the benefits were plain to see.
Help learners shifting to a positive mindset
Shifting to a positive mindset means that you’re no longer reacting in lessons, you’re responding. Even as the content gets more demanding, you’ll notice your learners continue to verbalise their thinking, share ideas, and build up their knowledge. Being more involved in their learning means they are more engaged.
I’ve seen the benefits of this change firsthand. Four new pupils joined my Year 6 class and adapted quickly. In some ways I think they reaped the most benefit from the mastery approach. The maths lessons felt very different to what they had come across up to this point.
When asked how they felt about maths lessons, they told me:
- “They’re good because they’re not just put your head down and work. It’s like taking a different side of maths and having fun with it instead of being a bit bored.”
- “Previously, you were taught things and you wrote them in your book. I didn’t talk and never thought about sharing ideas.”
- “It helps you be more open about your ideas. You can really spread them around. Rather than stop and finish, you can then go one step further.”
Use quality content that covers the curriculum
A shift in mindset is not enough on its own — it needs to be backed up with quality content. A well-designed maths mastery programme linked to the national curriculum, gives learners enough time to understand concepts and encourages them to explain their understanding.
Endless practice papers or going back over topics pushes lessons back to a one-size-fits-all template. By keeping with the scheme, learners take the steps that have to be learned and practiced. Steps that each individual can weave together in their own way.
Build learners’ confidence and problem-solving skills
With a maths mastery approach, learners are never spoon-fed and they don’t always have to rely on their teachers. When maths lessons are passive, then in effect, the teacher is deciding for you.
By emphasising multiple methods and discussion, children learn to become assertive in lessons and decide how to tackle problems for themselves. I think this puts pupils in a good place, practically and mentally, for exams.