One of the best ways to analyze the creative curriculum that you or your colleagues are developing is through determining whether or not it’s leading to mastery of a given skill. While many classes focus on teaching a broad range of skills, it can often be more beneficial to help students master subject matter by delving more deeply into just a few concepts. If you’re trying to incorporate this method into your own teaching, take a look at these helpful tips:
Determine Pre-Learning Through Assessment
In order to teach while promoting mastery of a skill set, it’s important for teachers to have a firm understanding of exactly where their students stand in relation to the curriculum they are about to deliver. According to the Academy for Supervision and Curriculum Development, one of the best ways to go about this is using pre-assessment methods.
Using pre-assessment methods can help to support mastery
For example, before beginning a new unit, give your students a brief quiz. This assessment should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and should contain problems based on the subject matter that these students will need to understand in order to move forward. Administering this at the end of a class period before starting a new unit the next week will allow you to spend time with students who require a bit of extra attention. This way, you’re setting them up well for mastery of the topic.
Depth Beyond Breadth
Teaching a wide breadth of topics within a given subject is not without its merits, but it caters far less to mastery than teaching one or two topics in depth. In a recent tweet, EDWorks Partners identified this practice as one of the traits of successful schools.
— EDWorks Partners (@edworkspartners) March 16, 2015
While teaching any subject, take some time in the lesson-planning phase to develop an understanding of the key points of the lesson. In short, these should be the skills or concepts that will help students to feel comfortable with the overarching subject matter. Make sure, then, to teach these skills in depth as opposed to teaching more skills on a cursory basis.
Revisit Curriculum Over Time
One of the worst habits that teachers can fall into is not revisiting curriculum once a lesson has been taught. In order to develop mastery, particularly in quantitative subjects, it’s important for students to keep their base knowledge sharp as they approach new concepts. With this in mind, build regularly scheduled review points into your semester curriculum. This way, you can ensure that students are retaining information and are that much closer to mastery of a given topic.