Understanding is the key

2nd February 1996 at 00:00
So our children at age 10 are two years worse at maths than their continental counterparts and at 14 they are one year worse? Well done our key stage 3 teachers to have gained a year in such a short time despite starting from a lower base!

How was this success achieved? Might I suggest that it was possible because our teachers gave pupils an understanding of what numbers really are, rather than teaching them arbitrary mental algorithms for shuffling numbers around?

Why then, given this good grounding, do we appear to perform less well at all? That depends on a number of factors, but in the end it all depends on what you choose to measure. Hoop-jumping is easily quantifiable but true understanding is not.

ALAN HARPER Chenderit Secondary School Banbury, Oxfordshire

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