‘Mastery’ and it’s role in Education

The concept of mastery has recently been a new focus in the primary curriculum. Evolving within the subject area of maths, the concept is relevant for all subjects. Within P.E. the concept of ‘mastery’ refers to a real depth of learning. Children who have mastery are able not only to demonstrate a skill effectively, but to be able to apply it within a range of situations, to be able to clearly articulate what is effective or not effective about their attempt at a skill, or to discuss their peers’ attempts.


An Example of Mastery in PE

For example, in real terms, with the very basic concept of sending and receiving a ball with the hands, the progression of this skill is:

At infant age, children learn to roll the ball across the ground to each other.

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They then progress to sending the ball with both hands and with a single hand, changing their hand position accordingly

Originally they do so in a stationary position, then they learn to move around before they receive the ball.

Next a defender or two can be added to encourage children to learn how to send the ball in different directions.

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It is at this stage that the cognitive element of understanding tactics to avoid the ball being intercepted is introduced.

Next children can apply this skill in small sided games where they can score, perhaps into a hoop on the floor.

The number of players on each team increases until they can play netball or basketball at junior age.

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Here they learn a range of skills such as dodging, feigning, changing speed or direction to overcome a defender and receive the ball effectively.

They can clearly articulate what makes them or others effective at each stage.

Throughout these progressions, this is how mastery is achieved. The movement patterns children learn are stored in the brain, along with the cognitive learning of how to be successful with each attempt at the skill in an isolated manner and within offensive and defensive situations.


Solid Physical Literacy 

It is really important that in order for children to have solid physical literacy and to become competent enough to play games which they can then take part in as teenagers and adults, that they develop the effective movement learning patterns and cognitive understanding of P.E. This is the real mastery of P.E.

For primary practitioners who are stretched to meet the demands of the many subject areas in the curriculum, The PE Suite makes this understanding and application easy to do with simple step by step videos covering each stage of learning in a progressive way.

Screen grabs taken from The PE Suite online resource library.  Get access to the full library of over 500 videos to help your pupils achieve mastery of movement across the PE curriculum.

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