Rote Learning and Mathematics

Most people who care about what they do, in any profession, can suggest a couple of ways in which they feel that their field of expertise is being ill-served by its conventional wisdom. Sometimes, these will be cries to tear up the rulebook, new and progressive ideas about how everything could be moved forwards.  Just as common, however, are rather more reactionary ideas – a conception that their peers and colleagues have gone ‘too far’ in some particular direction. In my own case, this contradiction comes to the fore in the matter of mathematical rote learning. Read More…

On “Lack of Confidence” and Times Tables

Here’s a line I often hear from the parents of younger children, and from far too many teachers:

{Child} knows their tables really, but he/she just lacks confidence and must believe in themselves. 

Lack of confidence is something I’ve heard about a lot since I became a full time tutor, and I always almost respond in the same way:

Ask him when his birthday is. Read More…