Monday, September 1, 2014

Memorization of math facts helps the brains of student develop.

Article: Math wars: Rote memorization plays crucial role in teaching students how to solve complex calculations, study says

The post below this one discusses the tragic vision versus the anointed vision. The world, conceived in the tragic vision, is "a system of innumerable and reciprocal interactions..." and recognizes the limitations of humans.

The vision of the anointed says that tradition is wrong, a hindrance to human freedom (if not an actual tool of oppression). Therefore, anything that replaces traditional ways of doing things must be better than the old way.

Teaching math has evolved over a period of centuries, with hundreds of thousands of teachers and billions of students.

Certain practices, such as memorization of addition and multiplication tables became widespread and common.

Therefore, the anointed have been fighting these practices for many years and have been replacing "old math" with "new math" in a variety of ways.

However, neuroscientists have found that memorization of math facts actually allows the brain to develop and to increase the ability to reason mathematically.
Memorizing the answers to simple math problems, such as basic addition or the multiplication tables, marks a key shift in a child’s cognitive development, because it helps bridge the gap from counting on fingers to complex calculation, according to the new brain scanning research. 
The progression from counting on fingers to simply remembering that, for example, six plus three equals nine, parallels physical changes in a child’s brain, in which the hippocampus, a key brain structure for memory, gradually takes over from the pre-frontal parietal cortex, an area of higher order reasoning. 
In effect, as young math students memorize the basics, their brains reorganize to accommodate the greater demands of more complex math. It is a gradual process, like “overlapping waves,” the researchers write, but it clearly shows that, for the growing child’s brain, rote memorization is a key step along the way to efficient mathematical reasoning.
There are so many times I read something like this and think, "Another tradition, another Biblical idea, another insight from some ancient philosopher vindicated by science.

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