Don’t Tell Jo Boaler, Dept.


A group of students in Lake Charles, Louisiana is promoting knowing the multiplication facts.

Those who think that the traditional ways of teaching mathematics have been shown to be harmful for all students, will find this quote from the article to be heresy:

“The ability of an individual of any age to be able to multiply consistently and effectively can build confidence in other areas of life,” Nonnette said. “We as an organization will succeed in our mission to enhance the awareness of math education through one multiplication chart at a time.”

Now, if only we can find some way to make the progressives think they came up with this!


4 thoughts on “Don’t Tell Jo Boaler, Dept.

  1. I coach an extracurricular math program for elementary school students, and I’ve decided to give multiplication tables to all my first and second graders, as a bit of a subversive prize. I never thought I’d see the day when giving students multiplication tables would be considered an act of rebellion, but here we are.

    Just this morning I was looking online for a manipulative that I had as a kid. It was a sealed plastic multiplication table box, with a 10 x 10 array of diffusing plastic windows, and little metal tiles inside them with the products printed on them. A magnetic wand that was attached by a string was strong enough to pull up one tile at a time into visibility, and gravity would pull them down and away. If I wanted to see all of the answers at once, I could hold the box upside down over my head.

    I have not been able to locate this specific manipulative on Amazon or eBay. I’m wondering if any other readers here might remember it? I’d like to find one or reproduce it.


  2. I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to Jo Boaler, but is she promoting NOT knowing the times table or that everyone doesn’t need immediate recall of 7*8?

    I thought it was their idea that your don’t memorize facts out of context, but that they magically happen as part of their process. Never mind that it doesn’t happen and they never check to see what parents do at home. But are they actually promoting not knowing the times table for instant recall?

    How many eggs are in 8 dozen? How many older people can do that in their heads (as 8*10 + 2*8 with understanding!) and not their grandkids in K-6 now? We had to work with our math brain son at home for lots of basic mastery. Their “process is the product” approach apparently doesn’t have any meaningful individual feedback loops other than vague rubrics report cards.

    Since CC eventually expects this – sort of, then schools must do something no matter what Jo Boaler says, but when and how does that happen? What is the feedback loop and enforcement in a world of full inclusion and social promotion. How many grades can you get through not knowing the simple testable and resolvable problem of not knowing the times table? Are K-6 teachers now only facilitators and the only feedback correction loop is a statistical one based on yearly CC results? Are individual kids just big data statistics? We need feedback correction loops for individuals and not just schools.

    When I was young, if you didn’t get good report cards based on specific quizzes and tests, kids and parents knew it quarterly and you ran the risk of summer school, or worst of all, staying back a year. Now, individual problems fester until it’s too late.


  3. People who work in warehouses and supermarkets have to have good multiplications skills. They are constantly being asked to pick out specific numbers of items, and the trays the items are arranged in have a specific number of items per tray. To grab the right number of items, you have to have memorized the times tables. This, of course, is obviated by ipads that do the calculating for you. But what if the ipads get frozen? what if you’re working in a place w/o ipads? what if the algorithm for loading the trays got messed up? I have met elderly, poorly educated people who hold these jobs because they do know their times tables.


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