Should We Stop Making Kids Memorize Time Tables?
Stanford professor Jo Boaler says that teachers and parents should stop using flash cards and math drill to teach math facts. I want to know which one of my students will make into Stanford without knowing math facts. How about we stop making kids memorize letters. How about we let them understand letters and use them in different situations, when they feel comfortable.
This proposal is just as ignorant as denying climate change. Every nation in the world teaches math facts as we teach alphabetic principle. We drill letter recognition, sounds, word chunking, but when it comes to math, we let our kids “discover”. Their discovery is inadequate at best. In 5th grade, they still bring out their fingers to find the product for 12-7. In every way we fail our kids, when we experiment. Without math facts they cannot succeed in 5th grade, let alone middle and high school. Math facts are founding blocks of algebra, which is a passport to higher education.
We have best educational research, best equipped schools, curriculum coaches for every grade, most expensive textbooks, and best proven methods, RTis and 504s, yet results show that we fail at least half of the kids, have the highest high school drop out rates and lowest comprehension of any developed nation.
As a teacher who sees students struggle in school due to failed educational ideas and experiments, I have one advice, keep it simple; “Read with your kids and help them learn math facts. Everything else will work itself out.”
Mrs. Lena, M.Ed.