Why Mr. Bertoch Teaches With Mastery Badges Instead of Grades

Mr. Bertoch does not believe in failure when it comes to education. Failure in learning just doesn’t make sense. 
(Read more about why this is the case here)

Children need a system that rewards learning, while giving them positive and encouraging feedback regarding their progress.  Mr. Bertoch has high expectations for his students.  I expect them to learn.  I expect them to work hard.  I expect them to succeed.  I know that my students can do hard things.  I know that they are capable of mastering the content that I am teaching.

To help my students in their journey toward mastery we work together on Mastery Badges.  I don’t give my students grades.  Instead we work to progress through a more natural path of learning until we achieve success.

Mastery Badges Are Like Merit Badges of Knowledge

Think of a mastery badge as a sort of merit badge for knowledge.  Much like you might earn a merit badge in a scouting program.  With Mr. Bertoch you will be earning Mastery Badges each time you prove that you have mastered a topic.

Mastery Badges are passed off by demonstrating mastery of the topic.  Usually in the form of a hands on activity.  Where a child must show that they have gained all of the knowledge and skills that go with the badge.

To help a child gain confidence and ownership over the knowledge, we practice by using Mastery Badge Packets.  Each packet has enough content to keep your learner busy for about two weeks.  These packets include hands on labs, literacy assignments, and other activities.

I also provide prerecorded videos where I teach the topic to your student directly.  If your students has enrolled in a live class, then we will also meet together once a week in a live conference for additional instruction and to answer questions.

After your learner has had sufficient time to practice the knowledge and skills covered by a badge, they will have the opportunity to attempt to pass it off by completing a hands on project.

If they are successful, then they will be awarded the badge.  If they aren’t quite there yet, that is okay.  This doesn’t mean that they failed.  It just means that they need more time.  I will give them encouraging feedback, and allow them to try again and again until they succeed.

By following this pattern, students gain knowledge while increasing their love for learning and avoiding the discouragement of being labeled as a ‘failure.’

Click Here To See A Sample Mastery Badge Packet

This sample packet is from Sixth Grade, Mastery Badge 1, and illustrates the kind of work that your student will be doing with Mr. Bertoch.  See below for the videos that go with the packet.