Multiplication Tables - Better Ways
Why do so many teachers and parents forbid kids from learning on their fingers? If you use them often enough to learn the simple arithmetical skills, you will automatically memorize those "facts." You will do it by muscle/mind memory. You will make the skills part of you, rather than getting them inculcated from some external "tables."
The best tools for manipulating digits are your hands. (You might want to read that sentence again.)
Do you get the meaning? The word "manipulate" comes from the Latin world for "hand". The word "digit" comes from the Latin world for "finger". Get it? So why do so many teachers and parents forbid kids from learning on their fingers? See, if you use them often enough to learn the simple arithmetical skills, you will automatically memorize those "facts." You will do it by muscle/mind memory. You will make the skills part of you, rather than getting them inculcated from some external "multiplication tables."
The multiplication tables, flash-cards, and rote memory are about "show and tell." The teacher shows you and tells you, and you must watch and listen. They are active, you are passive. Well, who thinks passive learning is the best way to achieve a skill? Let's see your hands? (Yes, Principal Weatherbee, there in the corner, with your hand up, please go sit in the corner and put on that pointy cap. Stay there all period so you will have some time to think about it. )
Schools give lip-service to "learning by doing." Lots of "guided play", etc. But when a child naturally goes to use his or her fingers, it's time to make them feel foolish. Man, is that twisted! Kids love to use their fingers. Maybe they should even give one to the teacher who tells them that it bad to use them.
Imagine if there was a very cool way to use your fingers, that kids would love to do, that would help them master basic multiplication in a matter of minutes. Imagine that this way would even amaze their teachers.
There is such a way. It doesn't use fingers to simply count. It uses fingers to actually multiply in a very interesting way. When a child (or an adult) first tries it, the first reaction is, "This is so easy! Why didn't they teach us that in school!?"
The next reaction is to ask, "Hmm. I wonder why that works." And that is the greatest benefit of the method. It raises natural curiosity. Consider how that differs from the reaction most kids have when they are told to sit and memorize the multiplication tables.
One of great things about this finger method is that the same basic method can be used without the fingers. Using the fingers is just a way to start learning it. As soon as a child can do it, you can immediately wean them off the finger method. Remember, manipulatives are for learning, not for using forever. They are like training wheels on a bicycle - the sooner you take them off, the sooner you are really riding.
If you or someone you know (your child or student, maybe?) hasn't totally mastered the "multiplication tables," you'll be happy to know that there is a fool-proof, easy way to teach or learn the basic times-tables in minutes. If you are serious about teaching multiplication, you owe it to your child or your students to Learn to Multiply with the finger-method, among other methods, now.
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