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Maths Mastery Ideas to Include in your Class

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Maths Mastery is taking UK schools by storm. Below we give a few ideas about integrating a maths mastery approach into your lessons!

Repetition of key vocabulary

This is a frequently used method in Southeast Asia lessons so why not give it a go…a teacher stands in the middle of the classroom and when explaining will get all children to repeat after using the key vocabulary. This enables the repetition process to occur to improve their memory.

Ask a pupil a question such as what is a right angle? (Tip: in Shanghai teachers normally chooses a pupil who’s excelling to be the role model). The correct answer will have the key vocabulary such as ‘A right angle is 90 degrees, the same as a quarter turn.’ The appointed child will lead with the rest of the class repeating after.

Conceptual understanding through images

This refers to the understanding of maths concepts and operations thoroughly in a real-life context. Maths Mastery make reflection and explanation from visual images vital factors in comprehension. For example, show pictures of small and larger fractions so pupils can see the difference between them. This helps them understand why 1/12 is smaller than 1/4.

Following this, the next step is for the children to identify and compare what fractions are bigger and smaller without the help of the pictures. By doing so children firstly understand why 1/12 is smaller than ¼ and can elaborate rather than being told directly 1/12 is smaller.

Clear aim

Stay focused on the main objective. If a child identifies 3/12 is the same as ¼ don’t be tempted to acknowledge this, resist from touching the slightest points of another lesson. In the UK teachers are bound to be pleased and want to carry on the next step but this could cause more confusion to the other pupils who may not be ready for that step yet. In the Southeast Asia, teachers strictly ignore any further development and stick to that specific lesson plan. Remind yourself that children will get to the next stage on a different day.


Build your classrooms confidence by getting them to present in front of the class. It’s encouraged to be praised when a pupil gets the answer correct. Tip:  3 claps when someone gets the correct answer.


30 mins teaching then 15 mins group building task (mini break) and use this time to mark their answers with the last 15 mins covering the question that most pupils got incorrect. Fact: In Shanghai, teachers spend most of their day marking and go over it in small groups for extra practise for those who need help, only teaching 1-3 lessons a day! Lessons are usually on for 30 mins with a 15-min break.

Seating plan

Try out arranging the desks facing the front and see how many more pupils pay you more attention. Group discussions can still be accomplished, maybe not as a group of 4 but instead with the person beside them.


In countries like Singapore, Shanghai and China children are given homework every day to complete. Of course, we don’t want to scare any pupils! So, provide small homework tasks on that topic for two/three days of the week, do a quick test on the first Monday back and see how many children really do understand. This hopefully encourages the topic to be fully understood and not just remembered in class.

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