Have you ever taken a math test you felt completely confident about, only to find out that you bombed it and you weren’t prepared at all?
Trust me, you’re not alone. But why does this happen so frequently?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And this is what I’ve realized.
True mastery takes more than one step. But I’ve never seen these steps discussed before like this.
And I definitely didn’t hear about this when I was in math classes growing up!
This is what I had to figure out all by myself, and now do in all of my one-on-one work with my own clients.
Let me break it down for you:
1. The first level of mastery: you can follow along passively when someone else is explaining a concept to you or demonstrating how to do a technique.
You aren’t actively participating, you’re just observing and listening, and what they’re saying makes sense.
2. The second level of mastery: you can do problems interactively with someone else.
You are actively participating as they walk you through the steps of the problem and you do it together.
3. The third level of mastery: you successfully complete a similar problem type completely independently and get the answer correct – and you understand why – without any guidance or corrections from someone else.
4. The fourth level of mastery: you consistently get the answer right on enough similar problems that the concepts get internalized and the process becomes automated.
You have the track record that shows you that you really are prepared to go in and do this successfully on a quiz, test, or exam.
5. BONUS: The fifth level of mastery: you understand the concept and technique so well that you can easily and confidently teach someone else how to do it. When you get to this level, you know that you’ve REALLY got it!
Until you get to the point where you have at least “level four mastery” and consistently get the answer correct on problems of a similar type (and understand why), you aren’t really prepared.
For example, a student will passively understand someone else’s demonstration and think, “Great! I got it! I am ready to rock this test!” However, that is only level 1 mastery. Just because you can follow along with someone’s demonstration of how to bake muffins from scratch doesn’t mean your own muffins will taste good. Watching someone else do it is ONLY the first step.
Another place where major problems can happen is when students think, “Great! I did two of these problem types correctly and I understand them. I am ready to get an A!” That is like getting the basketball in the net twice and thinking that you’re ready to win the next game. It takes consistent training and practice to get consistent results.
Do you wish you knew exactly to do to get consistently awesome results in math? Are you tired of doing everything you know to help your daughter or son prepare for math tests, only to experience soul-crushing defeat time after time? Are you ready to invest in high-level, one-on-one, super-customized support that is not typical tutoring? Then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call at 617-888-0160, and we can set up a special private appointment for a complimentary one-on-one conversation where we can explore whether or not the way I work would be a good fit for you! I can’t wait to connect!