"You have to find a way to glue it in your brain": children's views on learning multiplication facts
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
While there has been research on development of multiplicative reasoning, and how to teach multiplication facts, there is little research on how children consider they learn these. This study explores the children's learning as they consider how they commit their multiplication facts to memory, discover calculation strategies and develop multiplicative thinking. A group of eleven Year 4 children (8 years old) participated in a series of 13 lessons where they became coresearchers in the exploration of their learning. A contextually based thematic approach was provided through 'Crocodilian Studies'. The mixed-method approach to this study included formal assessment, participant observation, individual interviews, the children's written ideas, and individual case studies. The most significant finding of this study was the powerful influence of peer learning. The children enriched and directed each other's learning as they shared ideas and reflected on their own mathematical learning as they observed and critiqued the thinking of peers. As the children were involved in thinking about how they learn they were able to identify gaps and construct their own learning pathways. A significant finding was that children can develop their multiplicative strategies while they commit their multiplication facts to memory, in a relatively short time provided that the learning process facilitates strategy development and understanding. By exposing the children to multiplication facts in sequenced clusters provided them with a manageable number of facts to be learnt at one time. Another finding related to how children develop calculation strategies through lesson activities rather than being explicitly taught them. The children considered practice important for memorisation. Parental support was significant in enriching the children's learning.