January 20, 2019

Winnipeg
-23° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Basic arithmetic back in class

Manitoba kids to learn to do math the old way

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/6/2013 (2042 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

When Manitoba children return to school in September, they will encounter a revised math curriculum that expects them to memorize their times tables and learn to multiply and divide on paper and in their heads.

Also, children from kindergarten to Grade 8 will learn to do arithmetic before they use a calculator, parents will have a website helping them understand the math their kids are learning, and teacher candidates will be expected to take the heavier math courses in high school they'll later teach to children.

"That is basic foundational math they need to know -- that is knowing how to do conventional math... counting, memorizing math facts," Education Minister Nancy Allan said in an interview Monday. "Let's face it: Doing math in your head is important."

The minister said the revised curriculum makes Manitoba the first province in Western Canada to go back to placing an emphasis on basic skills previous generations had.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/6/2013 (2042 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

University of Winnipeg math professor Anna Stokke says she believes students are capable of achieving more than the current curriculum asks of them.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

University of Winnipeg math professor Anna Stokke says she believes students are capable of achieving more than the current curriculum asks of them.

When Manitoba children return to school in September, they will encounter a revised math curriculum that expects them to memorize their times tables and learn to multiply and divide on paper and in their heads.

Also, children from kindergarten to Grade 8 will learn to do arithmetic before they use a calculator, parents will have a website helping them understand the math their kids are learning, and teacher candidates will be expected to take the heavier math courses in high school they'll later teach to children.

'Let's face it, doing math in your head is important'
-- Education Minister Nancy Allan

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

'Let's face it, doing math in your head is important' -- Education Minister Nancy Allan

"That is basic foundational math they need to know — that is knowing how to do conventional math... counting, memorizing math facts," Education Minister Nancy Allan said in an interview Monday. "Let's face it: Doing math in your head is important."

The minister said the revised curriculum makes Manitoba the first province in Western Canada to go back to placing an emphasis on basic skills previous generations had.

'A lot of kids were simply not learning how to add, subtract, multiply or divide efficiently'— University of Winnipeg math professor Anna Stokke

"This is really, really exciting," Allan said. "This has come out of two years of serious work with our education partners. We have met with all the math professors, the superintendents have been part of this.

"We have made some curriculum changes, we have put in some benchmarks to help everyone get there," she said.

Every school division in Manitoba will have a numeracy adviser overseeing implementation of the new curriculum.

"I heard from parents" that their kids were lacking basic arithmetic skills, Allan said. "It was during the (2011) election campaign, and I picked this up on the doorstep."

It all starts in September, Allan said.

Math professors Anna Stokke of the University of Winnipeg and Robert Craigen of the University of Manitoba applauded the government's moves. Their Western Initiative for Strengthening Education in Math (WISE Math) group had been critical of the move away from basic skills of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing and away from memorizing multiplication tables.

Said Stokke: "All four standard algorithms have been put back in the curriculum (the vertical addition, subtraction, multiplication and long division previous generations learned in school). Parents were especially upset about these being excluded and a lot of kids were not learning how to add, subtract, multiply and divide efficiently.

"There is a specific requirement for times-table memorization now," Stokke said. "They have removed most of the language that disparaged practice or pencil-and-paper math. Language discussing the importance of practice, efficient computation and knowing math facts automatically was added."

Stokke said the province has decided technology can enhance but not replace learning.

But Stokke said much more could and should be expected of students in every grade than is required in the revised provincial curriculum: "We think that Manitoba students are capable of achieving much more than is being asked of them, and this is a curriculum that severely underestimates what kids are capable of learning."

Craigen noted the basic math skills "are the procedures everyone learned in grade school. Everyone, that is, until the recent WNCP (Western and Northern Curriculum Protocol) math curriculum as currently used across Western Canada (was introduced), at which point ministry officials, consultants and education faculties put on a concerted effort to convince teachers to avoid introducing them.

"This sent many teachers and most parents into confusion and left children without effective, efficient procedures for performing the most elementary tasks of arithmetic," Craigen said.

He said the prevailing attitude in recent years has been "that it is better for children to invent their own methods and to always have to think through the details of a mathematical problem, including elementary arithmetic, rather than using established methods."

Allan said the province will provide parents with a website to help them understand what their kids are learning. It will also allow parents to pose questions.

Stokke and her group had been especially critical of faculties of education accepting candidates who may have only studied consumer math in high school, but who would then graduate and teach applied math and pre-calculus to children.

Allan said talks are underway to fix that.

"We are in discussions with post-secondary institutions to ensure (university faculty of education) students are prepared to teach. We have to be sure our teacher candidates are prepared," the minister said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Is the switch in teaching math skills the answer to one of the major problems ailing our education system? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 6:43 AM CDT: replaces photo, adds question for discussion

8:26 AM: adds link, adds fact box

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us