Teaching mathematics is often corresponded by a number of problems which affect dramatically the process of learning and students interests and successes in the field of mathematics and related sciences. In such a situation one of the most significant problems concerns the development of students’ accuracy and automation in subtraction math facts to 100. Many specialists work on this problem and it is hardly possible to suggest some universal solution that would efficient for all students. Nonetheless, one of the most efficient ways to solve this problem is considered to be the wide use of mnemonics in fact fluency and accuracy. In this respect, it is worthy to mention that it is possible to help students to remember the order of operations in arithmetic with the word Brackets Of Division Multiplication Addition Subtraction (BODMAS) and this method may be efficiently used in other fields.
In fact, it should be pointed out that mnemonics as an efficient tool of the development of students accuracy and fluency in subtraction math facts should be viewed and applied in the context of the implementation of strategies instruction that could make mnemonics particularly efficient. In this respect, it is worthy to note that Swanson estimates that “strategies instructions, especially mnemonics, may provide a ‘semantic bridge’ to math facts that results in increased acquisition, storage, and retrieval of basic facts” (Swanson 1999:241).
Furthermore, it is particularly important to implement this strategy at early stages in order to provide a progressive development of students’ mathematic abilities in the future. In such a way mnemonics, as a part of instructional strategies, may be used in the development of students’ accuracy and automation in subtraction math facts to 100.
At the same time, it is extremely important to remember about the great role of math facts accuracy and fluency for the students’ development. It should be pointed out that math facts accuracy and fluency should be viewed as the basis of their further progress in their scientific development, especially concerning the fields which are closely related to mathematics and, consequently, are dependant on mathematics, and thus, on students’ abilities and skills in mathematics.
In fact, it is considered to be a traditional norm that all students in elementary grades as well as in higher grades should have ability to compute accurately and fluently. It is noteworthy that Swanson underlines that “fluency is a reliable and valid indicator of student performance and growth in mathematics” (Swanson 1999:284). For instance, the lack of accuracy and fluency will undoubtedly slow down student’s calculations and increase the time he/she spends on more complicated tasks.
Naturally, it is necessary to briefly explain such an importance of math facts accuracy and fluency. Along with its crucial role as the basis for the further development of student skills, math fact fluency and accuracy helps to solve much more complicated problems on the basis of these skills. At the same time, it develops a so-called ‘mathematic thinking’ of students and, consequently, makes them more focused on math problems they face and, what is more important, able to successfully solve these problems.
In such a way, it is possible to recommend to develop accuracy and fluency at possibly younger age. For this purpose it is necessary to start from simple perception of certain examples of material to be learned as well as mnemonics may be widely used at first stages as students experience grows than training and increasingly more complicated drills may be used. Finally, it is possible to recommend to add certain degree of creativity, for instance, it is possible to stimulate students’ role play where they could be in the shoes of a teacher and check each others works attempting to do it accurately in a possibly shorter time. In such a way, students’ accuracy and fluency could progress.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that math facts fluency and accuracy are simply essential for student development and academic progress and it also affects their cognitive processes and ways of thinking. As a result, it is extremely important that math fact accuracy and fluency are started to develop at possibly earlier stages of children’s development.
Bibliography: Swanson, L. (1999). Teaching Mathematics. New York: Routeledge.
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