Kiwi kids fail at maths. You’re on the right track Hekia

Get the kids rote learning. It’s the only way to stick the facts in the head.

Govt eyes back to basics in maths

“Education Minister Hekia Parata is considering a return to basic arithmetic for primary school children in an attempt to lift New Zealand’s faltering performance in maths.
New Zealand 9-year-olds finished last-equal in maths among peers in developed countries, in a survey published in December. Almost half could not add 218 and 191 in a test.”

I’m not surprised. New Zealand hardly test kids. God forbid they should sacrifice time in the sandpit playing “diggers”.
I got a fright being introduced to the other end of the spectrum in Californian Schools. Kids are tested daily. Schools are out for four and 1/2 months a year. This is when kids of all ages get to play “diggers”. 

Homework annoys me. It:

Urban Dictionary.

Californian parents cop a lot of pressure due to the shorter school year. And I’ve got better things to do with five kids than get pissy about filling in screeds of worksheets. Inevitably the kids co-ordinate a turn of events that leave them eyeballing Spongebob Squarepants while I bleat mindlessly into the void about the virtues of completing the homework and preparedness for life, blah blah blah.
As I’ve said before, you’ve got to find a balance.  

And there is a lot to be said for rote learning of facts that scaffold higher level knowledge.
Cuissenaire rods can only help so much.

I support this approach where the kids practice a maths worksheet that they get tested on once a week at school. They move on to the next worksheet once they have got at least 38 out of 40 on their weekly test. They work at their own pace and are pegged against their own performance:

“Auckland educator Des Rainey, who did the research with teachers to test his home-made Kiwi Maths memorisation system, said the results came as a shock to the teachers”

Rainey’s system sounds similar to that used in Californian Schools. It warrants further investigation.

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