25 Aug Why Is The Times Tables Important?
“You must memorize your times tables.”
“Repeat after me, 2×2=4, 3X3=9…”
“Quick, what is 5X5? 25?”
Do these lines sound familiar? Growing up, attending math classes in either kindergarten and primary school, you would hear these all the time. The times tables has always had a fundamental role in mathematics, during your time and now in your child’s. We cannot stress enough the importance of your child mastering the times tables.
Why some advocate to skip the times tables
Despite being a tried and tested method in mathematics education, there are people who advocate for the removal of the times tables. Either that or, they believe it should be an optional piece of content in school. Which makes you wonder, where does this belief stem from?
Short-term versus long-term trade-offs
A common sentiment that has circulated is that we should not encourage memorization amongst children. This would help them to avoid stress and enjoy learning more. We need to first acknowledge that yes, children do experience stress in trying to memorize information. As such, there is validity in saying that without needing to memorize the times tables, children would be less stressed.
While this may be true in the short-run, there are naturally long-term trade-offs. In this case, children will require more effort when trying to solve more advance math problems. For example, more advance math questions have multiple steps. If multiplication is one of them, instead of being able to recall values, a full calculation would be needed.
Importance of the times tables
Let’s now turn our attention to the important benefits of the times tables.
Boosting mental arithmetic
Mental math and calculations are a huge part of mathematics. Imagine if your child goes to a supermarket and needs to determine the total cost of groceries. He or she will almost certainly need to perform some form of multiplication to do so. Rather than relying on a phone calculator app, your child would instantly determine the cost using the times tables.
Furthermore, as alluded to in the example earlier, this helps reduce the difficulty in advance questions. During tests, your child would be working under strict time limitations. This means that every minute and second is critical to his or her progress. Rather than wasting time calculating multiplication components, your child can use the time to work on the focused concept in the question.
Read our article on the importance of mental math for primary school students: https://mlgstuition.com/why-is-mental-maths-important-in-primary-schools/
Overall, having the times tables as part of your child’s mental arithmetic bank would go towards easing his or her life.
As much as we focus on practice and knowledge in studies, we need to also acknowledge the importance of confidence. When your child is struggling with a difficult chapter, having to also rack his or her brain for multiplication can be demoralizing. This in turn creates a downward spiral in terms of your child’s confidence in math.
Confidence to a large extent is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we believe in our capabilities in doing something, then we are able to do it. Conversely, having a lack of belief tends to lead to poor outcomes. As such, it helps that your child would continually build confidence through solving each step of a question easily. This is as opposed to struggling with the beginning steps of every question.
A direct stepping stone for many mathematics concepts
Immediately after covering basic multiplication, school syllabus often shift their attention to long multiplication and division. This challenges your child to take it one step further and apply their memorized times tables to longer workings. As such, not having a good foundation in this area can truly harm your child’s potential.
The times tables also promotes good number sense. What is number sense? If you have ever heard someone say that they are bad with numbers or that their brain does not process numbers, then they lack number sense. While hard to define, it refers to your brain’s capacity of making sense of relationships between values and perform quick estimations or calculations.
How to help your child master their times tables
Now that we have covered the importance of your child memorizing the times tables, we can explore ideas for helping him or her.
Hanging a times tables up
The good old fashion way that you likely underwent involved having a times tables hung on your home’s wall. Each day, you would need to fill it in as fast as possible. Once you had shown proficiency with a smaller sized table, a bigger and more complicated one would be introduced. In this way, daily practice would be done within a short and efficient time period.
We recommend that you implement this idea but not on its own. Instead, use it as a quick recap with a reward at the end for good proficiency demonstrated. In this way, your child would not use lose interest or become overly frustrated with seeing the times tables all day long.
Get online for enrichment and resources
Math games have gone digital, being widely available with a simple Google search. These games weave in an interesting story together with simple gameplay mathematics. In order for your child to advance through the game, he or she will be required to recall the times tables.
Utilizing games to teach your child the times tables helps to keep them engaged. We recommend this as an intermediate step where your child has some prior exposure to the times tables. Yet, he or she probably is struggling to consistently recall values from it. Rather than hammering it into them and creating unnecessary stress, games are a great idea to engage them for longer periods.
We find that through mere exposure and a more positive outlook, your child can master the times tables fairly fast through games. This is especially applicable during the current COVID-19 pandemic that has seen a surge in popularity of digital tools. In particular, many primary math tuition online classes continue to rely on the use of such mathematics games to teach or reinforce concepts.
Trust MLGS to Improve Your Child’s Math
Whatever the reason, signing your child up for math tuition is a great way to ensure that they are getting the help they need. If you are looking for a Maths enrichment for primary school program, Math Learning Groups may just be the right one for you.
Established by ex-primary school teacher Mr Lawrence Ong, we are a Clementi tuition centre that aims to uplift students who struggle with math, by identifying their individual weaknesses and developing teaching plans that are tailored to their individual learning styles. We are committed to helping students improve by strengthening their foundation in key math concepts, and setting them up for the future by instilling crucial skills like analytical reasoning and critical thinking.
Contact us today to find out more about our programme, and how we can help your child maximise their potential in math!