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Commentary: Should kids keep memorizing times tables?

LA School Report | February 10, 2015



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Via The Hechinger Report | By Jill Barshay

Stanford University’s Jo Boaler says teachers and parents should stop using math flash cards, stop drilling kids in addition and multiplication and especially stop forcing students to do calculations quickly under time pressure. Good-bye Mad Minute Mondays, where teachers hand out quiz sheets with 50 problems to be completed in less than a minute.  But wait — doesn’t everyone have to learn times tables?  No, says Boaler.

Although her position is unorthodox, Boaler, an education professor and researcher, has spent a career trying to prove why it is the best way for kids to learn.

“Drilling without understanding is harmful,” Boaler said in an interview. “I’m not saying that math facts aren’t important. I’m saying that math facts are best learned when we understand them and use them in different situations.”

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