How Our Resources Work

Improving Mastery in Maths & Self-Esteem

So, what is ‘mastery in maths’?

That golden new word ringing off the tongues of primary and secondary school educators up and down the country; mastery. It sounds quite flashy, right? But what does ‘mastery in maths’ actually mean? The term ‘mastery’ (in a school setting) refers mostly to mathematics, but can be applied to a range of subjects. Inspired by teaching approaches developed in Singapore and Shanghai, mastery is an inclusive way of teaching that is grounded in the belief that all pupils can achieve in maths. A concept is deemed mastered when learners can represent it in multiple ways, can communicate solutions using mathematical language and can independently apply the concept to new problems.

What does mastery look like in the classroom?

Teachers now involve a lot of new ‘mastery building’ techniques into their everyday lessons. Some of these can include;

  • asking children to explain or teach a new concept to a friend or adult.
  • giving children key words to use when discussing maths, such as; I agree because…, I disagree because…, I think differently because…, I know this because
  • allowing children to peer mark and give verbal feedback to their classmates.
  • using a range of images or mathematical equipment to show their understanding and prove that they have mastered an objective.

It’s very clear that discussing, reasoning and using images to support a child’s understanding is key for a child to develop their mastery skills.

Life By Shape resources can help improve children’s mastery skills in two ways:

  • showing how images can be used to represent problems or ideas
  • giving an opportunity for children to discuss and reason

Each Life By Shape resource shows words of inspiration and motivation represented by an image of shape.

Mastery in Maths

You don’t have to be the best at what you do, the most intellectual, the most skilled, the best paid or the boss. Leadership is not defined by positions, titles of pay cheques. It’s defined by actions.  Influence people through the choices you make, be the best person you can be, and lead by example.

(‘Lead By Example’ poster image and text – taken from our Primary / Secondary School Resource Package.)

Using images to represent

Each image has been designed to represent (or show) a motivational message. The key here is for children to try and imagine that each shape within an image represents an individual person. Once children understand this concept, the discussions really start flowing.

Discussing & Reasoning

Here’s some possible questions that children could be asked to generate some discussions.

  • How does the image relate to the words?
  • Why do you think the bottom left square is different? And what could this represent?
  • Why is the bottom left square a different colour to the rest?
  • Why are all of the other shapes in a perfect pattern?
  • If you were one of these squares, which one would you be?

It’s important to remember that there doesn’t have to be a right answer. The point of this is to give children an opportunity to express their thoughts through discussions and reasoning by ‘agreeing’ or ‘disagreeing’ with other children.

How can Life By Shape resources help to build self-esteem and develop positive thinking?

Each Life By Shape resource has a message of inspiration or motivation for children. Combined with discussions, all types of learners can access and understand important messages to build self-esteem and develop positive thinking.

If you would like to know more about our resources please contact us and we’d be happy to help, or you can view our resources below.