Universidade Aberta, Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 3708-3715
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
“Growth in teaching skill is the increasing mastery of a variety of models of teaching and the ability to use them effectively.” (Joyce & Weil, 1986)

Education shouldn`t be a rigid process but a flexible one, as it involves an extensive number of actors and variables. The expression “teaching and learning” intends to designate a flexible process with two valences which, hypothetically, interact with great complexity (to teach and to learn). Therefore, we cannot talk about pure models of teaching and learning. Teaching has to fit into models anchored in cognitive, behavioural, intra-personnel and inter-personnel paradigms.

The different perspectives regarding the relation between teaching and learning, materialized by models, are the result of distinctive combinations of the philosophical, psychological, sociological and pedagogical assumptions where the paradigms identifying the several models of teaching and learning are based on.

In the behavioural models of teaching and learning, learning is determined by a programmed teaching aimed at the acquisition, development and training of competencies, which will generate qualitative behavioural changes, resulting in new knowledge and new behaviour, which will allow students to manage their own process of learning, taking into consideration their own evolution and their capacity of mastering tasks with increasing level of complexity.

One of these models is the Mastery Learning model. Its roots can be found in the Greek Antiquity and it had a tremendous impact from the 1960s up to the 1980s, mainly with John Carroll, Benjamin Bloom and James Block, followed by some defenders in the 1990s (Guskey, 1994; Waddington, 1995; Anderson, 1996 and Solvay, 1999).

Until recently, the appearance of other models has relegated Mastery Leaning to a secondary place. However, the development of e-Learning, mostly due to innovations in the field of Information and Communication Technologies, seems to revalue it.

The Mastery Learning model demands the organization and the detailed planning of teaching programmes, by defining time schedules for the material to be learnt. The frequent evaluation of the students’ progress shows to both teachers and students, the needs (if required) of additional time to complete the corrective activities. Thus some e-Learning systems rely on this philosophy. They are based upon the sequential organization of the proposed tasks and activities, and take into consideration the acquisition and the development of the adequate skills and competencies, regarding the projected goals for the future.

This model motivates the teacher to an efficient management of the learner’s environment, contributing to the sequencing of the learning process, in accordance with the proposed objectives and levels of mastery to achieve. The students’ background and intrinsic skills to learn a given topic, are as important as the forecast about the timeframe required to obtain a certain level of mastery in a specific domain.

Are we heading to an emergent Mastery Learning model (a 2nd generation) where the “time-space”, “inter-personnel” and “intra-personnel” relationships will become themselves as innovative and pertinent in this Globalization era?

The modernized reappearance of the Mastery Learning model seems to reinforce the statement of one of its most important developers: “There are many alternative strategies for Mastery Learning.” (Bloom, 1968)
mastery, learning, model, teaching, e-learning, information and communication technologies.