Fun's fun, but you can't laugh your life away.
A great deal of basic knowledge can taught most efficiently by repetitious drill. I agree completely that learning the concepts involved can be made entertaining--particularly for kids who enjoy learning concepts.
Unfortunately many middle school kids (and parents of middle school kids) have decided that tedious learning--such as the times tables--is optional. After all, we all have calculators.
This distortion of Learning Should Be Fun shortchanges kids--and they don't have the math to appreciate the facts they lack.
With all due respect Noddy (and boy do I have a lot of respect for you
) I beg to differ on some of your points.
Now, I'm no edumacated teacher or nuthin'
but I was a student, so if I may be allow to put in my two cents....
Some kids who are VERY intelligent just don't learn well by rote, I was one of them.
As best as I can explain, my thought process for as long as I can remember has been like an interstate highway system. Everything is somehow connected, there are exit ramps, clover leafs, bridges and so forth. Even explaining this isn't straight forward.
The thing is, it doesn't take someone like me (or lots of other people) any longer to figure something out, it only sounds confusing when we have to explain to someone else how we got the answer, but it is really kind of intuitive how some people do it.
Like I was saying in my last post, for instance with multiplication tables, I only got good at multiplying when I decided I needed to keep my method for how I was getting the answer a secret, or else I was going to get told I was doing it WRONG.
Isn't that a shame, we want our children to grow up to be creative, happy, independant people, but want them to learn something by doing a goosestep.
Obviously I'm quite a communicator
, and learned to read very easily and seemed to have a sense of logic more advanced than most kids.....BUT I always struggled for instance with math.
When I got to high school I thought freshman year algebra was the end of the world.....I embarrassed myself by crying in the middle of class, which for anyone who has ever been brought to that point in a classroom, knows that is not going to help you learn, now you just want your life to end because you cried in front of all these people because you didn't know what x or y was.
The method the teacher tried to use to help me after class?
Repeating to me over and over (by rote) the same words and examples that had made to sense to me in the first place.
I'm not good at memorizing either......but if I was I suppose I could have memorized enough of whatever it was they were talking to me about to get past a test or two, but in the end, that would only bite me in the ass.
Long story short (too late) I barely made it out of freshman algebra alive, while getting A's in every other subject.
Because I did so poorly (and I didn't understand why, and felt so ashamed) they stuck me in sophomore year in "applied" geometry. I guess that's the equivilant today of a special ed class. By the way, this is a college prep school, all but maybe 2 or 3 kids in my graduating class did not go on to college.
Well, the hardest thing we had to do in that class was draw a box, so I did okay.
That was it for math in high school
Upon getting to college, again I was confronted with the demon algebra. It was just as horrible as I expected.
Sometime during that class, i re-discovered my old secret of realizing "hey, even though he says do this and this, when I do this, this and this, I come up with the same answer every single time!
I was able to go to class for a little while without getting nauseous, until the instructor saw how I was doing something and told me I was WRONG.
OK then, a few weeks later this instructor had to leave due to health issues and we got a replacement - Oh God, what instruments of torture would she apply?
I remember showing her my work, and telling her how I couldn't do it the "right" way, and suddenly, there was a little tiny ray of light shining through the dark clouds.
"I don't care, just as long as you get the answer and can explain why"
Got a C in the class, I was so proud.
Then came Statistics (don't worry, this is all important, keep reading) I had heard how everyone hated Statistics, so I wasn't optimistic.
Shortly into the class, the instructor wrote on the board my old enemy, "X =" and a bunch of other stuff. Then he started telling a story about buying insulation and the heat in the basement as opposed to the heat in the attic, and what different thickness of insulsation had to do with it.........
....... OH.....MY......GOD.......X was the temperature in the attic..........WHY THE F*CK DIDN'T ANYONE EVER TELL ME THEY WERE JUST TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT THE TEMPERATURE IN THE ATTIC WAS!!!!!!
It was a Helen Keller moment.
Got a B+ in Statistics.
This instructor NEVER moved on until EVERYONE in the class understood where is was going, and had the gift of being able to describe an elephant as a rope, a wall or a tree trunk, depending on what you needed.
So, like I said, I'm no teacher, but I do know what frustration is when you're sitting somewhere, knowing you've read and understood Voltaire by the time you were 9, but feel like an idiot because you're told you're doing it WRONG.
So, if a kid is one of those who isn't getting it, why not, as a teacher find out how his brain works, and explain it in a way that seems totally cockamammy to you, but just might be the answer for him.
BTW How much is 7 + 8? Well, that would be either 7+7+1 to make it eight so the answer in 15, or 8+8-1 to make it seven so the answer if 15, or it's 7+8 um I don't know I hate 7's and 8's let me get out my fingers, ok the answer is still 15.
Some people are simply not rote learners, let us be, let us be.
Maybe those kids can teach you a thing or two.
Oh - and you CAN laugh your way through life....in fact, I know of no other way.