Teaching For Mastery

Click here to listen to Sal Khan on TED Talks

Mastering Skills Must Be Our Priority

We have a one size fits all education system in New Zealand.  Sadly, we’re not alone. Schools in many developed countries push students through a curriculum and a timetable before they’ve mastered the fundamentals of English writing, grammar, and maths. In doing so, we fail to recognise the consequences of those we leave behind. And almost every student gets left behind at one time or another – in one subject or another.

As Sal from Khan Academy suggests in this TED Talks, it’s time to rethink the process of educating young people. We need a new system that does not artificially determine how long we think a student should take to master something, and instead embrace how long it actually takes him/her to do so. Moving on before full mastery only sends the wrong message and ensures that students mostly ‘fail’ in small ways, many times over.

So let’s stop settling for good enough. Stop teaching to timetables so we can better help students embrace their individual strengths and weaknesses as learners. Not only will we achieve better results, but – more importantly – we will model a growth mindset that encourages determination and hard work, instead of moving on and giving up.