Turning the tables — 18 Comments

  1. I also had to learn my multiplication tables at school,it maybe one of the few things I remember from my time spent there. After more than 50 years since i left school, I still wake every morning thinking thank fuck todays not a school day. I hated every second of it.

    • Indeed, I love Mondays now.  Not only do I have no homework that I have forgotten to do but the place is quieter too.  From Junior Infants up to Sixth Year I can't recall one pleasant memory.

  2. I'm in favour of the little ones memorizing the multiplication tables. In my ancient time we had to do Mental Artihmetic – using our fingers to calculated drew a rap on the knuckles with a 12-inch wooden ruler. We memorized up to the 12-times table (i.e. 12 X 12 = 144, which then was called a gross i.e. grocers bought fresh eggs by the gross and sold them by the dozen and half-dozen.) If we had to multiply 435 by 895 we could do it with pencils on jotters.

    iPads for chizzlers aged 5 and 6 upwards? After the revolution I'll make sure all Ministry of Education upper echelon civil servants are sacked. Same goes for child psychologists. 

    • Just for the laugh I told Puppychild all about the old currency.  She stopped moaning then about decimals!  I didn't even bother mentioning distances, volume or weights!

      • An Irish mile was longer than a standard British mile. "A wee bit up the road" given as a friendly piece of advice to puzzled English tourists could mean an Irish mile or two or ten. The old Irish currency required a different sort of arithmetical calculation, but the designs on the coins had more artistic class than the current euro and cent. Our grandchildren are culturally deprived. Bring back the mental arithmetic and the manual cash registers with their loud metallic rings.

  3. I too had to learn multiplication by the chanting method. It didn't work. 50 years later I still take an eternity to work it out when needed, despite the fact that I became an engineer. Imperial and metric systems are second nature and I can mentally convert between the two, be it length, volume or anything else. I know how to find the centre of a circle or work out its circumference, or use any measuring tool known to man. But I can't multiply, and don't get me started on long division. All I have learned came after leaving school. It was a shit heap full of little bullies and I don't miss it.

    • Your problem is that obviously you didn't have the nuns scaring the shite out of you.  We had to learn to survive.

  4. Spot on, Grandad.  I never learned my times-tables properly and have always struggled with figures as a result.  I think the trouble is, they were "introduced" to me by explaining how they "worked" (i.e. "four fours are sixteen" refers to four times the number four), which might well have helped the more natural mathematicians amongst my classmates, but it resulted in me (a highly non-mathematical type), trying to "work out" the answer in my head, rather than just learning the words.  Perhaps if I'd just been told to learn the words like I learned the words of the Lord's Payer or the National Anthem (both of which I found easy, as I'm a "words," not a "numbers" person), I'd now be able to quote them automatically and, with the benefit of years of needing to use them in various situations, would also understand how they "worked," too!

    • I don't normally agree with learning things by rote but tables are the exception.  Once you have 'em, you have 'em for life.  These days it's all about kids discovering things for themselves which is grand and dandy but you still need the foundations.  I would go so fa as to say tat learning off the tables is as important as learning how to count.

  5. Wow, that takes me back, I'd forgotten about the metal pipes.

    Convent educated all the way from 5 until I went to college those nuns probably marked me for life BUT at least I too can multiply……well I can do 6 times 7, but for some reason 7 times 6 is a bit dodgy?

  6. A young Jewish boy was failing math class. In desperation his mother ask the Rabbi what they could do. He quietly told her that the best school was the Catholic school just down the street. She reluctantly enrolled her son and he soon started getting straight A's on oll of his math assignments. Curious, his mother ask him why he was doing so much better. Her son told her as soon as I walk in to school and saw the guy nailed to the plus sign, I know they took math seriously.


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