How can I Implement the Mastery Learning Model in my Classroom?

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The mastery learning model allows students' to learn in their own pace.Mastery Learning is a model where students are expected to master a learning objective or goal, before they can move on to the next goal. This is a model that was first described in the 1960’s and has been proven effective by many researchers.

Process

In a mastery learning classroom, teachers break up their curriculum into a series of skills or instructional units. The teacher will usually teach a topic, and then conduct an evaluation to record each student’s understanding of that unit. Next, students who have mastered the unit go on to do enrichment activities while the students who didn’t achieve their goals are given additional opportunity to practice their skills.

Benefits

The mastery learning model has been found to be beneficial in many settings. It allows struggling students an opportunity to master critical concepts before new content is introduced. At the same time, it provides a challenge for high achieving students. This style of education allows gifted students to accelerate through the program and move on to either the next level (year) or to engage in extension studies which will broaden their understanding of the subject.

The model also allows for an individual learning pace. In addition, feedback that is given during this process is helpful for the student. This model stands for the fact that every learner can learn if given the time and the right learning environment.

Strategies

Even though, you may not be an expert in mastery learning, you can implement this concept in your classroom with these simple ideas and strategies.

Take time to plan your curriculum and break it down into units. Write down learning goals or objectives for each unit. Ensure that the units are planned in a sequential manner, and adequate time is given to develop critical skills.

The next step is to plan how you will evaluate these skills. Formative assessment strategies can be used to develop an effective assessment.

For those students who are able to show mastery of the learning goals, you can use enrichment activities to take their learning further. Some ideas are games that require the students to practice their skills, working in pairs on problems or research, group projects etc.

For those students who are unable to achieve their goals, plan activities that will help them further practice their skills. Keep in mind that this set of activities are different from the initial instruction method. This helps accommodate a greater range of learning styles. Provide additional learning materials and activities that allow for visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. After providing sufficient time and opportunity, retest for mastery of skills.

Flipped classrooms are a new strategy that can be used with mastery learning. Here students listen to lectures at home, and come to the classroom to interact with the teacher on those subjects. Online tests can be done to test mastery even before the student enters the classroom.

Computers, the internet and the use of technology in the classroom has made mastery learning easier and more practical today, compared to a couple of decades ago.

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Discuss Here: What are some aspects of the mastery learning model that you are already using in your classroom?

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