At its core, mastery learning requires a deeper understanding and demonstrated acquisition of academic knowledge and skills. Mastery learning allows for increased student agency in the learning process as student’s work WITH teachers to demonstrate understanding and acquisition of knowledge and skills. In mastery, the focus shifts from the short-term extrinsic reward of a “good” grade to an increased sense of self-efficacy through mastering knowledge and skills - an enduring intrinsic reward.
In the “real” world, do you put your “math hat” on to solve a financial problem at work? Do you stop being a great writer when you make a birthday cake for your friend? Only in academia do we try to teach and learn essential knowledge and skills in the silos of English, history, mathematics and science. South Kent School is committed to bringing academics to life which is why we combined our core academic curriculum into two departments: Humanities and STEM. We contemplate American exceptionalism while debating social problems. We learn how math skills can move rockets. By breaking down the silos traditionally present in high school curricula, our boys learn to apply what they are learning to their worlds.
South Kent School has adopted an intense block schedule where our boys take one core class for eight weeks at a time. The classes meet twice a day, once in the morning for 80 minutes and once again in the afternoon for 80 minutes. Block scheduling allows the boys to dive deeper into their curriculum. Block scheduling allows for better mastery of essential knowledge and skills. Block scheduling allows teachers to work closely with and better understand each student to meet them wherever they may be on their journey through the curriculum. Finally, block scheduling allows for the creation of real world projects required of the students at the end of each eight week block where they must demonstrate how to apply what they have learned in real world situations.