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Yet ANOTHER test for 11 y.o. 'Times tables 'to be tested by age 11'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by chelsea2, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. sirspamalotless

    sirspamalotless Occasional commenter

    I'd like to see mobile phones banned in all schools but especially primary schools - for adults - if seeing the teachers at my children's school is anything to go by. They cannot function without them!!!

    My children are being taught ludicrous methods for doing simple Maths. Chunking has already been mentioned by some posters. fractions is another problem area. I am absolutely convinced that the problem lies with the education of the primary school teacher; my children's teacher simply does not having a full grasp of the proper way to teach primary children how to multiply by lining numbers up and carrying numbers, they do not having a mental agility themselves. I am having to teach my children how to do long division, how to multiply numbers not using chunking. Maths isn't a fashion item. There is a way that works and and worked really well for my generation. What on earth are they doing being taught chunking???

    English and writing is another area where I have grave doubts about my children's teacher's ability. Being a teacher myself, I know not to expect all work to be marked for everything, but even common mistakes like the ones pointed out, capital letters, full stops, commas, proper names having capitals, writing in a straight line, paragraphs don't get corrected. How can this be right? How can my children learn if these aren't corrected?

    Where are the standards?
  2. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    Chunking was brought in under protest from many class teachers, who were over-ruled by 'Advisors' and their SMT cronies.

    Where are the standards? --- Getting out of the door as fast as the SMTs can get them out
  3. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    Which world do you live in? If 'the majority' of your year 7 students can't to the things you're listing then you're being taken for a ride.
    K_Bey94 likes this.
  4. Maths_Shed

    Maths_Shed Occasional commenter

    Where exactly did I blame Primary teachers? Pupils need to be given methods that work and are applied consistently throughout their school life, they don't need to be given methods and flawed thinking that then needs to be scrapped and their brains reprogrammed when they are in secondary schools. I am fully aware that teachers are told to teach certain methods, it doesn't change the fact that it is wrong.
  5. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Children in Year 7 typically produced a piece of written work. Apart from the quality of the content, as a rule of thumb, I'd say around 30 - 40% will be excellent and well-written. About a third will be mostly readable with some effort and follows most conventions most of the time - it's markable even if it is not a pleasant experience. About a third will be off the scale and difficult to assess because either it is unreadable, or doesn't follow the conventions of written English, but usually a mixture of both. This kind of percentage has not changed in the last decade although more students were certainly reading and writing better when I started teaching some 25 years ago.

    As for Maths, the idea that students can use calculators or phones for sums is ridiculous and stinks of someone making excuses for their own lack of "expertise". (We are only talking about multiplying two small numbers here!!!!) People do not want to be kept waiting while someone in a shop spends two minutes getting the calculator out to multiply 5 times 10, and then being unable to estimate if the answer they got was reasonable The kind of nonsense spewed out here by someone who should know far better is frankly a disgrace:


    There are too many excuses from our primary colleagues, I'm afraid. Get a grip.
  6. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    "Pupils need to be given methods that work"

    For hundreds of years, pupils were taught to memorise tables. They were also taught to line up numbers you want to multiply, carry numbers etc and to do long division. It worked. Britain managed to get through the Industrial Revolution and become an engineering powerhouse using these techniques. Computer Science and everything ICT, my subject, has not changed the fundamentals. Stupid research from stupid experts with research grants to win talking to gullible ministers most certainly has.

    Is chunking and other silly Maths techniques another example of where the Government has listened to "experts", been sold a load of boll ocks based on endless amounts of suspect "research" that was never trialled or critically evaluated before being rammed forcefully down the throats of primary schools?
    monicabilongame likes this.
  7. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    Education will always be a fashion item as long as it is in the hands of politicians. You now have an entire generation of teachers who have gone through university being taught that chunking and grid method are only ways to teach division and multiplication. This was the guidance passed down through 'advisors' and 'experts' which was then taught by universities and expected by OFSTED. Many teachers resisted it and argued against it but that level of autonomy and trust is not afforded to primary school teachers I'm afraid.

    These should be 'non-negotiables'. I would question the school's marking policy as well though, again there was a phase where they tried to tell us not to correct all the basic mistakes as it would turn the children off writing. Thankfully the resistance to that ridiculous notion was resisted in my school but I wouldn't be surprised if the trend of the late 2000s to be best friends with the children rubbed off in some schools and has never been eradicated. I would be horrified like you though if my children had basic errors ignored.

    I honestly don't know what secondary education is like, but primary education suffers greatly from changes in government. If you have 10+ years of experience behind you then you can start to ride the waves. If you're 21-25 and you've spent the last 3 years being told emphatically what the 'right' way to teach is then that's what you'll do. Bashing the teachers is easy, but believe me when I say many primary teachers are as fed up with what we are expected to teach as the secondary teachers who pick up where we leave off.
    guinnesspuss and sally90 like this.
  8. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    Yes, and I totally agree with you.

    As for your link to the NUT leader saying we should let them use phones to do their times tables on, that is embarrassing. However, a few years ago a nearby primary (outstanding by OFSTED standards and regularly receiving thousands of pounds in grants for its excellence in ICT) introduced mobile phones on each table for children to use in their earning. God knows how much they spend but they were hailed as ground breaking visionaries. This is the sort of **** we have to contend with, every one thinks they're on to the next big thing and the eejits with the money and control keep believing them.
    guinnesspuss likes this.
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I would say about 20% of pupils arrive unable to write in paragraphs, use capital letters consistently (not just when they have been told it is a test and have just revised the use of capital letters) or read at an appropriate level. What worries me more is the far larger percentage who have no idea what a sentence is or where full stops go because they have been encouraged to use complex punctuation and rewarded for using it inaccurately because the use of it appears on some government or council checklist for progress.
    I'm not bashing primary teachers. The problem is that the government reduce the curriculum to facts and chunks of skills without looking at what a child can actually do on a day to day basis. We don't need progress every ten bloody seconds. We need time for consolidation and experimentation and (in some cases) tedious repetition until it becomes second nature.
    But that's hard to test. So we end up with a system where teachers - against their wishes - end up dragging kids through hoops they're not ready for which means that progress on paper is achieved at the expense of any real understanding.
    It happens in Secondary too. we can all moan about kids arriving not able to use a full stop properly. When they leave Secondary after 4 or 5 years will that have improved or will they still not know that but have a passing acquaintance with a handful of poems and extracts from longer literature?
    guinnesspuss likes this.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    When you didn't have such an insistence on inclusion and so you weren't dealing with a large chunk of kids who now sit in Primary classrooms and are expected to learn at the same pace as their classmates.
    guinnesspuss, chelsea2 and InkyP like this.
  11. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I could never learn my tables at school. I can work out the answers very quickly now that I don't have the stress of having to recite them so for all practical purposes I am competent (and I got a decent maths O level in 1971). I'm just no good at rote learning.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Primary teachers spend more time on English and maths than everything else put together. They invest huge amounts of energy in this. perhaps the problem is with the assessment.
    When I was in mainstream , I found that most year 7 students were perfectly capable of writing legibly, doing calculations and using those paragraph things. Some of them had forgotten by Christmas.
    When the more modern methods were introduced, they were mostly the way that I did them in my head anyway! However, I have a few spectral characteristics round numbers, and maybe the Phogiston's head method isn't the best way for Jimmy Average
  13. ConvivialCatMan

    ConvivialCatMan New commenter

  14. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Yes, I did Maths A level hundreds of years ago. I didn't "learn" my times tables! I could multiply by 10, I could multiply by 2 and I could add, that's all I needed for calculating 12 x anything! Sometimes I think that the people setting the policies have no understanding of learning at all. I despair.
    PS with my log book I just needed to add, brilliant! Of course I understood why I could just add because I was an inquisitive independent learner.
  15. lardylady

    lardylady Star commenter

    I remember clearly when I was in Y6 myself (back in 1978), every Friday afternoon would begin with the teacher stalking around the classroom and firing times tables at us. If we answered incorrectly, or didn't answer at all, we would be rapped on the palm with a wooden ruler. I didn't like getting whacked, so that's why my times tables were perfect and I have rapid recall to this day. Just saying. Maybe if every teacher were equipped with a good solid wooden ruler, and the license to whack at will...
  16. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    In my last school, where I was in Y6 and then Y5, after a mauling by Ofsted who criticised the children's weak mental maths skills, the powers that be introduced Big Maths, part of which involves daily learning of the times tables and then a weekly timed test. We duly introduced every manner conceivable to get the kids to learn their tables and we practised daily, in addition to a daily Maths lesson. When I left, I had children that had been doing this every day for over a year through Y4 and were still unable to remember their three and four times tables, let alone anything higher, without counting slowly on their fingers. No amount of different methods had helped. And then we also had very able mathematicians who also could not recall times table facts at speed despite daily practice.

    Some children will never be able to learn their tables, for all sorts of reasons. As others on here have said, this does not necessarily mean they are poor at mathematics. Some ARE poor due to an SEN. Introducing another test is not going to change this, and neither is blaming their teacher.
    yodaami2, Lalad and chelsea2 like this.
  17. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I remember a times tables test we did at school in around Year 5. Every week we were given a sheet of times tables questions (always the same sheet) and had to write the answers for as many of them as we could within a given time limit (can't remember how long). The challenge was to get more answers right than you had the previous week. If you got them all right two weeks in a row, you moved up to a more difficult sheet (which had more questions on it, but the time limit was the same). I distinctly remember my nemesis, 8x7, stopping me from getting them all right on more than one occasion. Of all my times tables, I am now most confident about 8x7! It was a good test, as you were only competing against yourself, and it was good motivation to learn your tables because otherwise you'd just keep getting them wrong every week.
  18. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Very good idea, otherwise students tend to forget.
  19. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Kartoshka, were you in my class? That is the kind of times tables test I gave to my year 4s and 5s. Almost all children could get nearly 100 correct in 10 minutes by the end of the year. Those who didn't were mostly those who didn't bother. Some SEN children did amazingly well once they realised they could work at it and improve. A very, very few found it extremely difficult (I would give them an easier test). So, I have always felt that nearly all year 4s can learn their times tables with a bit of effort (including practice at home). And we enjoyed chanting them and played games with them.
    Kartoshka likes this.
  20. GrammarBear

    GrammarBear New commenter

    All Primary Heads have been emailed today by the STA with regards to 2016 test updates and the inevitable rubbish regarding the new x table tests. 80 schools and some 3000 unlucky pupils will be used to trial this rubbish. I thought that new policy etc has to be consulted upon before being imposed?The email leaves Y6 teachers under no illusions that this will happen in 2017.

    In reply to our esteemed colleague ( Twinklefootfungustoe) there is a great deal I could criticise you and all our Secondary colleagues on. However I can't be bothered. If you teach half as well as the ***** you write then brilliant.

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