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History Teacher from Tinton Falls, NJ

I think this is a great idea

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I think this is a great idea but I want point out that Ben did something that too few of us think to do: he separated the routine learning (vocabulary, grammar, etc.) that is specific and precise from the learning that is applied and frequently unique to the individual. I am completely convinced that, in terms of things we used to teach by rote, mastery learning is the way to go. It taps into our students interest in "besting" their last score, even competing with each other for top score, AND our desire that they learn to work cooperatively - all of which they already do when they're playing video games. That is, they already understand this learning paradigm. I imagine that if you had the resources, being able to provide these kinds of routine exercises via some electronic platform would only ramp up the success rate of your students.

I think this idea of mastery

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I think this idea of mastery teaching is such a great idea! Not only its it motivating for the students to master the concept but once they master all 5 concepts, they get a certificate. It also does not put a time constraint on it. They have time to go back and study if at first did not succeed. Also, putting the chart in the classroom is another motivating tool!

10 and 11th grade English Teacher from South Carolina

This mastery teaching idea I

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This mastery teaching idea I have heard about before, and I agree that too many of our students end up moving forward to the next lesson before they have mastered what they needed to master. The only issue I have with this method is the time it takes to continually retest for mastery. I would be concerned that I would be taking valuable time away from learning the additional concepts that are needed to fulfill the standards and curriculum required. I do like the idea of having "master assistants", and I have wanted to implement something similar for a while. I have also seen that students who are bored or challenged beyond their mastery ability easily become distracted and use their time unwisely in class. I think that may be part of what was happening. It's great that you found a positive way to combat that problem!
Thanks for the post!

NY

Mint

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Mint

High School Science Teacher

This seems like a video game

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This seems like a video game to me. A lot of people can complete the first 10 levels in "Angry Birds" but can you get "three stars" on each level? Can you find all of the the golden eggs (or feathers or whatever)?. Kids today are being conditioned to find additional value in mastery and completion. I thank the cultural penetration of "nerd culture" for this. I mean, your not a true fan unless you have consumed every single bit of media from the source material.
Mastery based learning is organic to the modern student.

Are the check for

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Are the check for understanding questions developed by you or the students? If possible, I think it would be great learning opportunity for your spanish speaking students to develop their own levels of question before they facilitate.

NY

I use mastery-based learning

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I use mastery-based learning in my classroom, but Ben Johnson's approach blends that with student ownership. Giving students a leadership role helps empower them and form deeper relationships with content and the learning process. Utilizing the student expert model is a great way to help kids who are more advanced feel engaged and challenged, while also helping struggling students learn at their own pace. In the end, they all get there. Growth happens, and though it may not be all at the same level, progress occurs. Mastery learning asks students to complete assignments that serve as demonstrations of their understanding of content and skills. 
Not just busy work. A student’s grade reflects both their 
efforts and learning progress over time. Ideally, students should have regular opportunities for revision to improve their work over time. Through revision, students will progressively demonstrate their understanding of class content and skills. 
By receiving separate grades for different skills, this allows students to clearly see their successes and also see what needs work. Grades are tied to specific skills, so they have more meaning to the student.

Founder-Developer of Kids' Own Wisdom.

Kids, even from the earliest

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Kids, even from the earliest ages, are really much more interested in their peers than their teachers.... and, boy oh boy, does your brilliant solution ever prove it. It also demonstrates that "difficult" students are just about always "bored" or "under valued" students. Combine, and constructively make best use of, those two realities (interest in peers + difficult = bored) and big turnarounds are possible in any discipline, as you've so creatively proven in your Spanish class. Thanks for sharing.

Educational Consultant/Author, Southern California

Great method of teaching that

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Great method of teaching that validates the student's abilities with trust and good expectations while providing thorough, organized instruction. Always worked for my in teaching reading for all grade levels.

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