What is the single most effective way of teaching times tables?
Efficiency in relation to learning the times tables is not a topic that is often discussed. And yet as with all education, some ways of learning times tables are a lot more efficient than others.
Of course, with learning, efficiency means not only learning quickly but also means ensuring that the learning remains in the children’s brains for future reference. And for this to happen three factors need to be in place.
Most particularly, the lessons themselves have to be something that is exciting and stimulating for the children, so that they will want to go home and tell their parents about it – and thus engage their parent’s interest and involvement.
Second, the approach needs to be something that can be used all the way through the series of activities, so that the children see a pattern in what they are learning.
Third, the result has to be meaningful learning –
The three factors within the extraordinary 3M method of teaching times tables
There are indeed three factors that need to be present if all children are going to learn their times tables in good time.
First, the children need to be motivated. Second, they need to be taught using a method that keeps that motivation going from one lesson to the next. And third the children need to find the whole process enjoyable.
Now, as you may have realised, the only problem here is that “enjoyable” rather breaks the alliterative approach that I was building up with the ideas of “motivation” and “method”, so for my third factor I’m going to say, “mighty fun.” I hope that’s ok with you.
Motivation, method and mighty fun. That’s our aim.
So, to begin: motivation. We’ve achieved this in the “Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables set for Primary Schools” by using superheroes through the materials
According to a recent report on the BBC, the Education Endowment Foundation has found that calculators can help students become better at problem solving. Rather than hindering children, calculators can actually help to develop children's arithmetic skills, when taught properly.
This is very pleasing news to me as, since ministers banned the use of calculators in national maths tests for 11-year-olds in England from 2014, sales of our book How to be Brilliant at Using a Calculator have been sluggish, to say the least. Since then I have considered many times making the book go out of print. However, every time I've looked at the book I've been impressed again at the excellent activities in it – so the book has stayed in print. Maybe sales will now pick up!
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