Why it just doesn’t add up – Expert’s advice to improve maths’ skills

Industry expert gives the inside scoop on how to get kids back in the Maths charts. I am a former teacher and creator of education app Maths Rockx and would like to share my advice on how to get kids to love learning again and improve their maths’ skills.

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Remember your school years? Let me guess your favourite subject – drama, music, art? Children are naturally drawn towards visual and aural stimulation. They want to get up and dance, make some noise – they’re only kids after all! However this has led to UK pupils now ranking worse at Maths than children from Kazakhstan and Far East countries. This is according to research from TIMMS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study).

The rise of the arts and creative subjects has been brilliant in engaging children. However, it can also mean a lack of interest in the core subjects such as English, Science and Maths.

I believe that bringing the creative and core subjects together may be the answer. We need to get back to basics to create building blocks for the children who could be running the country one day. Simple things such as number facts, patterns and basic times tables.

Rote learning

There are many arguments against rote learning – a memorisation technique based on repetition. The idea is that you will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the more you repeat it. Some alternatives to rote learning include meaningful, associative, and active learning. Rote is seen as old fashioned and unable to give children an understanding of the concept of multiplication – but that’s just not the case. Children still need to be taught grouping and basic multiplication as well as the ability to enhance their recall skills without hesitation, a vital skill in all aspects of life. By learning their times tables by rote the facts are kept in their stored memory and frees up the working memory for all the complex concepts later on. Practise makes perfect – whether it’s kicking a ball, learning to swim or learning your times tables. You have to perform any skill repeatedly to master it – and that’s what rote does.

But how do we get kids engaged with that? It’s simple. Bring something they know and love to the table and combine them. This is where apps come into play. Kids are starting to engage with technology at a very young age.  Gone are the days of simple IT lessons, because by the time children get round to using computers in school they already know it all. It’s about delivering these learning techniques through digital platforms that kids are already engaged with.

 

Rock to the top
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My app, available on phones, tablets and computers, encourages rote learning through singing times tables to the beat of well-known and popular songs from artists such as Pharrell, One Direction and Lady Gaga. They learn vital skills through something they already know, making it easier, more accessible and most of all fun!

How often have you heard a song come on the radio that you haven’t heard in years and you sing the next line without consciously thinking about it?  Songs get stuck into your head and the melody creates triggers for the memory. My app uses this exact principle. Kids, parents and their teachers alike are all able to engage either as a homework activity or every day learning in the classroom. Children are learning their tables and have become excited about doing Maths because they are able to solve problems using their new skills. These techniques are giving kids their confidence back – key in success both in the classroom and everyday life.

Visit www.mathsrockx.com for more information.

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About

As a teacher for over 15 years, Jo (44) was increasingly aware that more often than not, children were slipping through the system without knowing their timetables. The frustration of seeing children wanting to learn, but not grasping the basics,led Jo to develop the fantastic teaching/learning App, Maths Rockx. A mother to two children (aged 7&5), Jo always taught her students their times tables to rock songs because it not only worked, but the kids loved it! The evolution of mobile technology provided the perfect platform for Jo to get her teaching technique to the masses, so that children everywhere could learn their times tables to songs from some of the world’s best artists, such as P!NK, One Direction, Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams! Jo’s passion and enthusiasm for teaching is evident in the creation of Maths Rockx. Where many would have been deterred by the red tape of obtaining copyright to use such huge songs, she carried on through and has created a unique and very clever Educational App that children love. Jo couldn’t be happier to see so many children gaining confidence in their recall skills while they sing, dance, clap and woo hoo to her Maths Rockx tunes. Children are actually motivated and enthusiastic to learn. The response from parents, teachers and children has been humbling - her App is literally changing children’s lives. Since its launch in June 2015 Maths Rockx has had in excess of 430,000 individual song downloads and has frequently been the Number one Educational App in Australia, top three in New Zealand and top 10 in the UK. Jo is available for interview on the following topics: • Education, teaching and learning techniques • Why Maths Rockx works. • Homework pros and cons • Enjoyable learning, • Being an Entrepreneur https://youtu.be/XDSRGJaa7uo Visit www.mathsrockx.com for more information

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