By Natalie Wathen
Deliberate practice is a key component in helping students develop mastery in any subject, and mathematics is no exception. When students engage in deliberate practice, they are actively working to improve their skills and knowledge by focusing on specific areas of weakness and practising until they have achieved proficiency.
Deliberate practice is different from mindless repetition or simply going through the motions of practising. It requires students to actively engage in the learning process by setting specific goals, breaking down complex skills into smaller, manageable parts, and seeking feedback on their performance. By doing so, students are able to develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, which in turn helps them to apply their knowledge in real-world situations.
Furthermore, deliberate practice has been shown to improve long-term retention and transfer of knowledge, meaning that students are more likely to remember what they have learned and be able to apply it in new and different contexts. This is because deliberate practice helps to build strong neural connections in the brain, which are essential for effective learning.
In the context of mathematics, deliberate practice is particularly important because it helps students develop a strong foundation of skills and knowledge that they will build upon in later years. It can also help to reduce anxiety around maths by providing students with a sense of control and mastery over the subject.
As primary school teachers, we know that deliberate practice is crucial for our students to become proficient in mathematics. But let’s face it, providing targeted practice that is specific to each student’s needs can be a daunting task. This is where online platforms can be a lifesaver (or at least a timesaver) in supporting deliberate practice in primary mathematics. Not only do they offer personalised practice, immediate feedback, and progress tracking, but they can also provide a much-needed break from photocopying and marking!
Online platforms offer a range of benefits that make them an excellent tool for supporting deliberate practice in primary mathematics, including:
- Personalisation: Online platforms can be tailored to meet the needs of individual learners, providing them with targeted practice that is specific to their skill level and learning style.
- Accessibility: Online platforms can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, meaning that students can practise at home or on-the-go.
- Immediate Feedback: Online platforms can provide students with instant feedback on their progress, allowing them to identify areas for improvement and adjust their practice accordingly.
- Motivation: Online platforms can offer a variety of motivational tools, such as gamification, progress tracking, and rewards, which can help to keep students engaged and motivated to practice.
- Assessment: Online platforms often have assessment tools built in, providing both the teacher, and the student, feedback on their progress and next steps. In some cases, they will automatically tailor the questions based on these assessments to ensure students are able to practise the required skills needed to make progress.
So, how can we use online platforms to support deliberate practice in primary mathematics? Online platforms such as Mathletics, MyMaths, and Frog Play offer a range of resources and activities that can be tailored to suit the needs of individual students. By providing students with regular opportunities for deliberate practice, we can help them to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and apply their knowledge in real-world situations.
Here are some ideas for online platforms to support deliberate practice:
- Frog Play
- Khan Academy
In conclusion, online platforms offer a powerful tool for supporting deliberate practice in primary mathematics. By providing students with personalised practice, immediate feedback, and motivation, these platforms can help students to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts, reduce anxiety around maths, and build a strong foundation of skills and knowledge. As primary school teachers, incorporating online platforms into our maths lessons can help us to save time and support our students in achieving maths mastery. By keeping up with the latest online tools and techniques, we can ensure that our students have the best possible chance of success both now and in the future.