Rote Learning ?

My thoughts …

What is the mechanism of learning ? How do we know we have actually learnt something? It is some form of remembering – patterns, images, symbols, processes, steps, physical movement or experiences. Blooms has placed “remembering” as the first and foundational skill of thinking.

Moving on to pedagogy, what is the best way to enable students to remember, to learn?

My belief is that for any given learning task students should be provided with different approaches and perspectives, presentations based on different learning styles and multi-sensory contextual experiences. The other important factor for individual learning needs is the appropriate amount of time.

The opposite of this is rote learning, where remembering is not accompanied by context or understanding. Although mastery learning folders could be used for rote learning, it is not recommended. The best “remembering” is done when concepts are learnt through a variety of contexts – classroom learning, educational games, technology etc and the mastery learning folder is one tool available to the teacher as she directs and facilitates learning.

My perspective and experience with the use of mastery learning folders is that they are a tool that enables the teacher to differentiate the learning content and time required for selected students to remediate or extend the material being presented in the context of classroom learning.

This quote is on my home page reflects my beliefs about mastery learning:

“Bloom observed that teaching all students in the same way and giving all the same time to learn – that is providing little variation in the instruction – typically results in great variation in learning. Students for whom the instructional methods and amount of time are appropriate learn well, and those for whom the methods and time are less appropriate learn less well.

 Bloom believed that all students could be helped to reach a higher criterion of learning if both the instructional methods and time were varied to match students’ individual learning needs. In other words, to reduce variation in the achievement of diverse groups of students and have all students learn well, Bloom argued that educators and teachers must increase variation in instructional approaches and learning time. Bloom labeled the strategy to accomplish this instructional variation and differentiation mastery learning.

 Research evidence shows that the positive effects of mastery learning are not limited to cognitive or achievement outcomes. The process also yields improvements in students’ confidence in learning situations, school attendance rates, involvement in class sessions, attitudes towards learning and a variety of other affective measures.”

Guskey, Thomas R. (2007) Closing Achievement Gaps: Revisiting Benjamin S. Bloom’s “Learning for Mastery” Journal of Advanced Academics Vol 19 Number

Posted by Nicola in Learning Strategies

Article: Push for Phonics

The West Australian 7th July 2014 by Daniel Mercer

“Children would be taught to read and write using an intensive phonics-based system under a future Labor government, Mark McGowan declared yesterday.
Seizing on growing support for more traditional teaching methods, the State Opposition Leader said he wanted to introduce so-called explicit instruction across more WA schools.
Under the back-to-basics method teachers explain and demonstrate the sounds represented by letters and work with individual students to help their understanding.
Stressing that explicit, or ‘direct’, instruction was not the same as rote learning, Mr McGowan claimed the practice had achieved ‘remarkable success’ in trials at WA schools, including Ballajura Primary School, where he said literacy rates had improved markedly.”

Posted by Nicola in News

Printer Margins

Although the flashcards are checked on different printers, the settings on your printer or computer may result in text being cut off. In printer dialogue boxes select borderless A4  when available.

For further suggestions see …
Word 2011 Margins



Posted by Nicola in Teachers

Student Recording Chart

A fantastic way for students to see their progress is for them to chart the number of flashcards that they have learnt each week. After testing, they record (or colour-in) their chart to show how many cards have reached the Mastered! pocket. The only cards that reach the final pocket are the ones they have got correct so the amount is always increasing and the sees a visual representation of their achievement. Very motivating!

If you have a great chart template please share!

Student Recording Chart (Thanks Jen B)

Sight Word Chart

Posted by Nicola in Templates

Homework Log

Would you like to know who is doing their mastery learning folder homework and how often?? The Homework Log is an easy way for parents to record their Mastery Learning Folder sessions at home by simply filling in the date or adding a sticker. As the teacher you can then review how many sessions the child is completing and arrange peer tutors or other volunteers to assist the child if more sessions are needed (see the post In The Classroom for different ways to incorporate mastery learning folder testing).

The homework log fits neatly into the clear pocket of the Mastery Learning Folder. The Word version contains a black and white log in addition to colour and there are further instructions on the sheet.

Homework Log (Word)

Homework Log (Pages)

Colour Log BLM

B & W Log BLM

Posted by Nicola in Templates

Name Labels

These happy and bright folder name labels are designed for Avery DL30 (64 x 25.4mm) label sheets. Why not use them as name tags on your mastery learning folders?

Name Labels

Posted by Nicola in Templates