We are all working in challenging circumstances at the moment. Teaching works best in the classroom and can feel awkward and unnatural online. We don’t have all the answers, but hope that the guidance below can help you find remote learning pedagogical approaches that best suit your teaching style and school context.
Mathematics Mastery’s curriculum experts were approached by Oak National Academy in the first lockdown to contribute as part of a sector-wide effort to create resources for remote teaching. 1500 online lessons later, we have learnt a lot!
With the shift to remote learning announced on Monday 4th January, we’re committed to supporting Mathematics Mastery teachers with their delivery of online learning. Because Oak’s maths offer is 100% aligned with our programme of study, Oak is a great option for Mathematics Mastery teachers to point their pupils to.
However, many Mathematics Mastery teachers tell us that they are recording their own lessons for online learning or are teaching online lessons live.
Here Hannah Parsons, Ark Network Lead for Primary Maths, shares her five top tips for creating your own remote learning content for primary pupils.
Pupils are more likely to engage in learning when the structure of lessons are familiar – we know that from our teaching in the classroom. Lessons for most subjects can largely follow the same structure:
A pause point is a brief, interactive moment embedded in a lesson used to increase engagement and manage cognitive load. They are the remote learning equivalent to ‘Checking for understanding’ in the classroom. When the pause point task has been explained, we then allow time for learners to think and respond – the response will look different according to the type of pause point. There is plenty of guidance on using pause points in asynchronous teaching on the Teach Like a Champion website.
Doug Lemov recommends using the first pause point early in the lesson:
What is a good rule of thumb for a classroom lesson - get students active and interactive early - is more like an Iron Law of Online Learning: continuously engage learners actively throughout the session and include a task that requires everyone to respond within the first 3 minutes. Doug Lemov, 2020
Types of pause point:
Much like normal lessons, it’s important not to overburden learners with information on slides. The use of animations on PowerPoint are a great way of gradually introducing text, alongside images, without that initial overload.
Where possible, breaking down a skill or answer, through live modelling will support learners in understanding the concept. This can be achieved either using a visualiser or writing on your screen.
For example, when teaching a Year 2 maths lesson on column addition with regrouping, the skill could be modelled by lining numbers up in the correct place value column and talking out loud each step of the process using the correct mathematical vocabulary, alongside the concrete representation using dienes. This would support in deepening understanding of the concept and encourage pupils to replicate that process in their practise through pause points or independent learning.
Minimising the cognitive load is a crucial part of remote teaching – arguably more so than in a normal lesson. This is essential for increasing engagement in online materials and supporting learners in understanding new content.
In order to achieve clear and concise teacher exposition, it is essential to keep instructions simple. Much like in the classroom, it’s important not to overburden pupils by concisely explaining the task. Set out how long learners should spend on the task and how they should record their response (written or verbal).
You could also introduce visual icons to help pupils follow the instruction, for example, a pause icon so that they know to pause the video following and complete the task.
In preparation for delivering instructions, it is helpful to script these sections of your lesson. This will support in sequencing thinking and make your explanations succinct and easier for learners to successfully follow. You are also less likely to make mistakes in exposition which means that filming will take less time.
As teachers ourselves, we understand how extraordinarily difficult this period has been for all schools. We have made some important changes to our mastery programmes this year to help support you in the months ahead.