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Times tables & education today

It seems odd that very recently the government announced that eleven year olds are now going to be taught the times table that is from 2x times up to 12x times although I went to a secondary modern school which basically taught every thing including the times table, which we had learned long before the age of eleven, prayers were the first thing in the morning and then followed, reading, writing, history geography, science, singing, and then swimming, and sports, including religious education, a broad spectrum of diversified subjects. The outcome was we had a balanced view of life and the world in general, also we learned to look out for less unfortunate boys and girls who might need extra help over coming some of the schools teaching programmes. The teachers came into the room with the books or whatever they were going to teach us, except for the science room where we made our way to that room, where as now the children are walking around carrying bags of books wandering from class to class, so it seems the education system is going backwards not forwards. So is it any wonder that our children are getting further and further behind, other ethnic groups who stick to regular and well practised and well tried systems which isn't being changed every five minutes, much like our own methods, which need to go back to the old and tried methods which worked.

What are your thought and views on the way our children are being taught today ??

Created By on 07/01/2016

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8th Jan 2016 12:47:11
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My sons teacher was appalled 40 years ago when I pointed out the frieze of tables round the classroom walls was useless asking if I wanted them taught ' parrot fashion' I said yes I was taught that way and I know them to this day.If my son wants to buy six items at a certain price he has no idea of the total because he doesn't have the frieze of tables in the shop.I would be surprised today if my son could recite his tables as I can but I am very proud to say he is a professor of economics.
8th Aug 2018 02:12:49 (Last activity: 6th May 2020 23:22:17)
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I know this has been said many times but, it is a whole new world out there today and our children and grandchildren have to be taught to deal with today's world.

When I was a young mother my hobby was calligraphy. I bought the finest Mont Blanc fountain pens and worked away on my writing. It was such a change from the shorthand and typewriter during my working days. That would have been the mid 1980's. Fountain pen v IBM Golf Ball typewriter! I was harking back to the past with the fountain pen / Quill, what do you think?

I have a feeling that the following generations will drop the use of a writing implements completely.
Writing and calculating will be carried out on computer. How alien would that be to you and I?

Today, August 8th. 2018 we have automobiles that are self-drive! I wish I could live forever just to see where it all ends up.

Signed Collie a 60+ going on 30+ and loving it.
Response from Lionel made on 9th Aug 2018 22:39:53
Technology is fine while we have the power to make it work. Today, we all assume there will always be that power, be it electricity or oil. Yet that may not be the case.

Right now the UK has a 2% margin of electrical supply over peak demand. That's with all generators etc in full force. Take out a power station and we're all in trouble. What use are iPads and the like without electrical power?

I'm in a remote rural area. We had 15 power cuts last year, one lasting three days. Of course, our electrical appliances didn't work. But ... being the stalwart rural dwellers we are we have alternative provision - bottled gas and tilley lamps. Where am I going with this? Quite simply, technology can't be trusted. We need a belt and braces approach, as we have here.

If all we leave our children and grand children is a legacy of keyboards and phones, what will they do when the oft predicted global energy shortage occurs? What will they do when their devices break down and can't easily be replaced?

Seek the old ways, for therein is wisdom. I'll use tech while I can but when I can't life just goes on.
Response from Collie made on 10th Aug 2018 03:18:03
Hi Lionel,

Your comments are full of wisdom and I agree with each and every one but, I cannot help wondering what Silver Surfers thought in past generations. What did they say about these bottles of gas and what on earth is a tilley lamp, these new inventions will never work and when they fail what will we have? back to horse to drawn ploughs, sleep during dark, and work in the daylight. Nothing has changed Lionel each and every generation thought their experiences were the best, why? because they could only see as far as their limited experience in life, they knew no better. I leave it in our children's hands, I have no choice and can only hope they make a good job of it, whatever "it" is.

Our lifespan is tiny, I wish it was otherwise but face it, our children carry the future in THEIR hands we are in the passenger seat.

I would love to read your views on above.
Response from Lionel made on 10th Aug 2018 15:36:12
Hello Collie,

I take your point, Collie especially that each generation thought their life experiences were the best. But I do have some reservations.

We're now existing in a broken world; a world of terrorism, wars, economic wars and the threat of global military ventures. Uncertainties following political upheavals, or pending upheavals, generational strife and jealousies, the onset of a third industrial revolution with A.I. (that meant artificial insemination to me), and I think worst of all is a relative morality ... I could go on but this present reality becomes depressing after a while.

During more than 20 years in farming I stood witness to so many new ideas being implemented; most required a reduction in labour force, investment in ever larger machinery, moving livestock herds to hybrid varieties. In the long run, none of these has truly prospered. Today, farmers are more dependant on subsidies than ever before because of higher costs and diminishing returns.

Today profit comes before humanity - even Bill Gates much vaunted largesse to developing countries is hollow. He is investing in poverty and sickness, to reap his rewards and add to his embarrassment of wealth. With profit accruing to the few, the many are left to stand still. To stand still in this western world is to go backwards.

I'm impressed at this end of life I may speak with my friend in New Zealand through my computer; enjoy Silver Surfers and more. But those benefits are peripheral to the huge profits accruing to Microsoft, Vodaphone, Apple et al.

Generally speaking our grand children are less well educated and prepared for life than we were. Job opportunities are diminishing for them, even those with a so called degree and a very substantial debt. Our housing crisis has been compared to that of the major cities just post War.

My 19 year old step grandson hung himself 4 weeks ago. Beset my depression and anxiety, failing to achieve school or family expectations resulting in his increasing isolation from his peers. In that 4 weeks 3 more of his peer group have done the same thing.

No, I don't see much hope for the foreseeable future. No the future is not in the hands of our young people, but vast faceless corporations who will happily sacrifice our family for profit. What have we bequeathed them? Less, I think, than our parents gave us when we were late teenagers. How have we prepared them for this `Brave New World?' We haven't, because we don't understand it either!
Response from Collie made on 12th Aug 2018 00:34:13
First and foremost I offer my heartfelt condolence on the passing of your step-son. Nineteen years old, a baby in my eyes, and to think that he felt the need to live up to other people's expectations.
That sickens me to the core.

Lionel I can only agree with you one hundred percent, the world, i.e. manmade world is in tanners
and mankind is responsible for that, we (you and I) are a tiny speck in the making of what we are now living, that is why I can only suggest that we guide our own one by one.

I love animals each and every one, I understand them. Humans on the other hand, I have very few
if any that I would call friend.

You communicate beautifully and I thank you for your contribution to my education (we learn until the day we stop breathing),
Response from Lionel made on 12th Aug 2018 15:57:22
Collie, we thank you for your thoughts about our grand son. They are appreciated.

I mentioned his demise only to emphasise the point of hopelessness of this young generation. Who ever heard of teen suicide in our young days? Yet it is increasingly common these days. I understand there are commonalities in their motives too. The world they're inheriting from us is a horrible place, quite unlike in the 50's and 60's when we were younger. We had hope by the bucket load and opportunity abounded. In fact we didn't know we had hope, so common was it. Hope and opportunity were the atmosphere we breathed.

I think these days, three things were instilled in me for life: convention, custom and conscience. Perhaps I could add a deep respect for my elders. Today, for the most part, conscience in our young has not been activated; custom and convention were never instilled in these teenagers. Instead we have a relative morality - make your own rules and if that wounds others, or offends, too bad. P.C. has but placed a legal gloss on this not new but rather recycled way of life. It always leads to destruction. Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire exemplifies this so well.

Finally, I've had Collies all my adult life. Currently we have an ageing family of three. Years of life on farms with livestock suited me perfectly. Friends? We have a very few but they all over the place, some we contact through the internet.

Your pen name, Collie, is that significant?
Response from Lionel made on 12th Aug 2018 16:53:11
Continuing an earlier string of thought ... the West has neglected a major principle of life.

The present, and future must be informed by the past.

Since the end of WW2 the West, led by America, has been so ferociously keen for scientific, financial, social and economic change. It's quite embarrassing really, our state leaders and captains of industry have prostituted themselves, but to what? Money! Ever increasing generation of money, no matter the human cost. Take the first Industrial Revolution, around 1760 to about 1840 England rapidly industrialised using new manufacturing methods, cobbled together and dangerous machinery and so many inhuman practices, including slavery. All in the name of profit. Men and women once used to a rural way of life having been evicted from farms a few years earlier in the Agricultural Revolution, were sucked into inhuman factories; their children as young as 6 made to work at machines too.

Over a very few years the disease rate soared, people died very young amidst much suffering. Our present culture of progress at all costs is utterly wrong. People come first. That should have been the lesson from the Industrial Revolution but it is convenient to turn a blind eye to the present being informed by the past when vast profits loom on the horizon. We are, today, looking at the Third Industrial Revolution employing AI. No one will look back and say, we must do this better than in the past, no. But on the pattern of the past, so very many people will get hurt; unemployment, depression and suicide rates will soar. Our education system will crash because few will be convicted of it's worth when there's not a job at the end. (We're nearly there today!)

No the future is not bright for the many. But please, allow me to say, I'm not a Communist, nor Socialist, no any other political complexion. I have no axe to grind. I am simply a man who has been privileged to observe history and humanity from a distance.
Response from Collie made on 13th Aug 2018 12:30:34
After reading your two contributions I have come to the conclusion that,

a) . Greed and one-upmanship!

b) . Lack of God / a belief system in young lives. No code of ethics.

c) . The internet has had a mainly negative effect on their lives which far outweighs the positive.

d) . Children are encouraged to aim for the highest possible achievement in education, not all are
suitable for accademia. Do one's best and be proud.

Finally Lionel, no matter what we say or do, our children will go forward as we did and, do their
very best and that is all they can do. We have a daughter, a beautiful young lady full of spirit and an inclination to help change the world for the better, we are very proud of her hope that she will leave footprints worth following.

Collie (pet name for Colette)
Response from Lionel made on 13th Aug 2018 23:00:39
Collie, you say you have come to the conclusion ... please don't see my words as an authority. They are my opinions after almost a lifetime of observing humanity. Nothing more. Others will take a different, and sometimes more optimistic view. Sadly, I can't share that more optimistic view as a generality. Clearly your daughter is going to be one of the bright stars in the firmament. We need many more like her, but even one will change the world.

When you wrote your listed summary I think you knew which one I would land upon. Yes, (b).

Having a religion/faith circumscribes our lives with a code of conduct, both toward each other and the people not of our conviction. It lays down limits to our behaviour. In practice, as my second wife and I know, such convictions of personal behaviour do make for a more harmonious and trusting life together.But I don't advocate law as in the Jewish sense. I grew up under that and know only too well what a burden that is. But it does make for a social stability, a framework within which people may exist in harmony.

Does that harmony exist now?

No, I don't see it.
Response from Collie made on 6th May 2020 03:39:39 > @Lionel
Lionel I have been away from Silversurfers for sometime. Having reread these postings I would dearly love to know what your is your opinion now year 2020 May 6th. You make such good sense, please let us know.

Thanks in advance of your reply Lionel.

Response from Lionel made on 6th May 2020 23:22:17 > @Collie
Hello Collie, it's very good to hear from you. I lived in Eire in the late eighties during the so called Troubles. Are you in Eire? I also stayed in Belfast for a month. Dreadful!

You ask me about this year so far. It's difficult to discern the fine detail of political and financial machinations going on way above our heads. But most certainly it is happening. I believe we are still in Act 1 of, perhaps, a 5 act drama. This part is akin to a factory being shut down while new machinery is installed, fresh bosses appointed, new ways of working implemented and fresh wage/salary arrangements set in place. When that factory re-opens even the most die-hard corporate man will not like these new arrangements. The shop floor man will have no choice but work on though both men will outwardly praise the new system.

The phrase, 'A New Way of Living,' has already come out of the mouth of a leading UK politicianspeaking on TV. I prefer not to think about that.

As to future acts in this drama ... we will see when the time comes, but I cannot but help reflect, when the end of each World War came the old ways did not return. Instead, a new reality quickly emerged. It was in that emergence the Silver Surfers generation was born so we know no different. At the end of the Great War great social changes took place. Votes for women, the rise of Trade Union power, a small national pension for older folk giving them the opportunity to retire or work less, the advent of Council Housing and many lesser changes which amounted to a social upheaval. The end of the Second War finished the power of landed gentry with inheritance tax, opened up National Health and Social Security provisions, brought in egalitarianism thus opening up every manner of advancement for working class young people. In just twenty years this country became unrecognisable to our Victorian grand parents! Even the monarchy has morphed into something different.

It has been said by someone, to be a successful politician requires one to be a convincing liar and a calculating opportunist. The West has those in abundance. The days of, 'my word is my bond,' and honour are consigned to history. We're no longer guided by religious institutions but instead by our insatiable desires for everything. 'If it feels good, do it!' The Chinese have been happy to satisfy those desires, and cheaply. But that could well come to an end soon. I'm afraid the days of plenty almost certainly are as much history as the wars I spoke of. Having spent twenty five years in farming I believe the days of cheap food in an abundance are already ended. We just haven't noticed yet.

So where do the artful politicians come in? They're the grease monkeys applying axel grease liberally to every gear wheel to ensure a smooth transition from one act of this drama to another. No one dares tell the truth. Or to put it another way, who does know the truth?

Not me! I'm just guessing from history.
8th Jan 2016 06:53:17 (Last activity: 21st Mar 2020 14:53:34)
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I agree wholeheartedly but the only difference with the tables is just that the children will now be tested on them before leaving junior school ,so it's just an extra test for the children. When I was at junior school ( 60 years ago) we were tested every week on tables and spelling so they very soon went in.
Response from PerfectNumber made on 21st Mar 2020 14:53:34
I am all in favour of children learning times tables. Before retirement I taught children labelled 'Gifted & Talented' - I don't like that as a label; as far as I'm concerned, they were 'Mrs P's groups. I used to lament out loud that I couldn't tie their hands behind their backs to stop them using their fingers for arithmetical operations. I also pointed out that, the slicker they were with number bonds & multiplication, the more of their brain they had left over for actually thinking about the problem/conundrum as a whole.

I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding Kim8, but i have encountered 2 ways of learning times tables - there was a fashion that still makes me shudder where the teacher would move their hands along a ruler and the children would chant 7, 14, 21 etc - that seemed a perfect way of ensuring they could never calculate 6x7 without using their fingers. If you learn '1 7 is 7, 2 7's are 14 etc', 6 7's are 42 should just pop out in an instant.

Learning tables to the 12's though, apart from the threat mentioned above of yet another test, is just weird. We learned them because there were 12 pennies in a shilling. 11 and 12 times tables actually aren't too hard (7's and 8's still hold that pole position), so it was never worth grumbling about. What I did really dislike abut that era was the emphasis on the L6 at KS2 - which was basically the brighter kids at the top of Junior Schools spending a year learning secondary school English & Maths - I won't point fingers, but most people with an interest will know whose watch this happened under.

It was part of my decision to retire - my off-syllabus lessons had to be replaced by L6 lessons, so our brightest kids left knowing how to use a semi-colon and multiply 27 by 13 without a calculator (and I will point a finger here, as it was parents who were so anti-calculator) but not who Socrates was, or how to create fractals or Mobius bands, or how Ancient Civilisations did their maths, or etc etc.

I will say now, the maths syllabus, under a different watch, is being turned round - with children still having to do their basic arithmetic but also to combine that knowledge with logic and lateral thinking to solve problems and puzzles.

Oh, I feel better for having said all that!!
13th Mar 2020 15:30:22
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A basic understanding of mathematics (starting with the times table) and language are the building blocks for constructing the rest of your life. I'm not talking advanced calculus or the ability to write a Shakespeare sonnet, I do mean a basic grasp of the structure of both subjects. Anyone without that knowledge will struggle with lack of confidence and self worth. It's also a fallacy to believe that you will, on every occasion you need them, have at hand the electronic substitute for your own mind. Technology is essential and has led to most of the great scientific advances we all benefit from - but it is a tool and not a replacement for our own intelligence.
I've had children and my biggest concern when they were at school was the quality of teachers at both primary and secondary level. Far too often my wife and I felt that some teachers showed no particular affection for, or mastery of, their subjects and, more disturbingly we think, no particular enthusiasm for or excitement about life itself. The best teachers are inspirational and enthusiastic and this translates to a desire to discover and learn in their pupils. It's not just about one subject it's about an approach to life.
The education system seems dominated by people who profess to be intelligent and expert but are too easily caught out as not being particularly either of these. The system for training them is in a rut because it's designed and operated by people of a similar ilk. It's difficult to see a way forward whilst we don't concede there is a problem.
Education starts with understanding the joy and opportunity of life.
9th Sep 2017 19:28:50
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Times tables were one of the most useful things I ever learned at primary school.
16th Mar 2016 09:06:04
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It starts at home. I was lucky. My Aunty brought me excercise books every week. She sat down with me to help. My dad read the newspaper to me, did not understand but he would point out small words that I began to recognise. Saying all this, my great nephew aged 5, plays on I,pad and he is picking up words and numbers as he plays. It's attitude. Respect. Children should be taught to respect their elders. Everything else follows.
4th Mar 2016 23:15:19
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As a teacher with 32 years experience, I get so cross when I hear this rubbish about "modern methods." Times tables have always been taught by rote in every school I have ever worked in but you also have to teach children to apply them in the real world otherwise all you test is their memory.
(The number of children who, when asked 6x7, have to go back to the start and recite from 1x7 because they ONLY know them by rote from the start and can't just pull the significant numbers out!)
Also, you forget, when we were children we knew how to sit still and concentrate for longer than a second without "This is boring, I can't do this!" Also, we had to learn our 11 and 12x tables because of old money. We've been decimal since the seventies!
3rd Mar 2016 20:14:30
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i think it great that tables are going to be taught the old way works,i can still see us now sitting cross legged on the floor repeating and repeating but it sinks in...i still struggle with 11 x 11 though lol
9th Jan 2016 14:55:06
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It seems to me that education is going back towards the way we were taught. I still remember my tables to this day. And have been very useful in day to day living.

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