Study: Kids need to count, not memorize

May. 18, 2013 @ 04:06 PM

Common Core Standards used in Guilford County Schools are right in line with a study out of the University of Missouri revealing that children need more practice than just reciting information to be successful in elementary school.
Learning the days of the week, numbers and letters requires more than recitation and remote memorization, the study says.
“You can use recitation for your multiplication tables, but if you don’t know the why behind them, you’ll never be a 21st century learner,” said Shirley Disseler, assistant professor of elementary and middle grades education and the STEM coordinator at High Point University.
Louis Manfra, an assistant professor in Mizzou’s department of human development and family studies, said when children are reciting, they are basically saying their numbers from memory in a chronological order, but when they are counting they are performing a more cognitive activity in which they’re associating a one-to-one correspondence.
Manfra analyzed data from more than 3,000 children from low-income households in order to determine if the children’s reciting and counting abilities in preschool affected their first-grade math scores. He found that students who could recite and count to 20 in preschool had the highest math scores in first grade; however, less than 10 percent of the children in the study could count and recite to 20.
Disseler said it is a distinct difference from when she was in school in the 1960s and 1970s.
“I can remember spending hours with flashcards of numbers, vocabulary words and math problems, that’s how you did it then,” she said. “It was more structured, left-brained and auditory.”
Disseler said students only take in 10 percent of what they hear and 50 percent of what they hear and see. Adding the hands-on and the “why” puts it at or above 80 percent.
“Children learn completely differently today,” she said.
Disseler said in the 1980s, subjects started to be less integrated, and even more so in the 1990s and early 2000s.
“You had 45 minutes of math and then 45 minutes of language arts, and they didn’t connect,” she said. “With Common Core, they’ll be more connected and bring them back around.”
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