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How to Remember ALL Your Times Tables

Learning your times tables needn't be anywhere near as hard and time-consuming as most people experience. Not because they're stupid, but because the traditional approach to learning them is!

This is certainly not intended to be an attack on those fine parents and teachers who know no better than to put their young ones through the age-old process. But bear with me and see why I believe it's time we shake this whole thing up!

As you read this article, bear in mind there is a very subtle difference between memorizing and remembering tables.

Notes

Note 1

When attempting larger mental multiplications, there is a tendency for many people to try and replicate the long-hand method used when multiplying on paper. This tends to work from right to left, dealing essentially with the detailed end of the solution before the bigger-picture end. Such paper-based methods do this in order to identify digits that need to be carried over to columns on their left.

This approach, however, presents certain problems in the context of mental multiplication, as there are great practical benefits to be derived from arriving quickly at a big-picture approximation and filling in detail towards the end. Also, our memories are typically not good at working on one problem while trying to remember digits that are due to be carried over.

Also, be aware of why many people consider the times tables to be limited to 12 x 12 when, in this decimal era the number 12 seems a rather strange limit. But this goes back to the days of counting in dozens (e.g. 12 inches in a foot) when an English shilling was worth 12 pennies.

Taking these ideas into account may lead to different conclusions when considering the times tables for children or specifically boys and girls.

Note 2

To be clear, you need to define what you mean by '':

You need to decide your overall objective is concerning the times tables. Do you want to make the learning process easy, fast or fun? Your very best option would be to satisfy all of these while achieving your desired learning outcomes.

See here for more information about how to take this into account kids, teens and adults.

Note 3

These notes are just as relevant to all kinds of learner, both male and female, from children and teens to adults of all ages as numeracy is an issue which many people struggle with well beyond their school years. The application may vary however depending on which group you fit into, just like it may vary according to each person's preferred learning style and specific strengths.

Getting to grips with the times tables is a fundamental part of one's numeracy, which is just as important in school, college or university as it is in latter days when you consider how it affects your employability and competence at managing ones personal finances and building wealth.

How to Remember ALL Your Times Tables

Study Multiplication

When rote-learning the times tables by rote, parrot-fashion repetition can be greatly supported by the use of rhyme or song. This helps the learner tap into their musical/rhythmic intelligence rather than depending entirely on the verbal/linguistic aspects of repetition. To experience this, try memorizing a news story word for word and then compare how difficult that is with learning the words to a nursery rhyme or song. The rhythm itself, and the rhyming words, and the tune of a song all play their part in carrying you through the recall process.

Study Ideas

Memory hooks are a great way to help us recall answers. But if we treat the times tables as a grid of many answers, we are going to need a vast number of memory hooks to help us out. A skill-based approach can still however use memory hooks to support you in applying multiplication skill to the problems covered by the times tables.

In recent years, many people have challenged how appropriate it is to attempt to learn the times tables up to 12x12. Some prefer to limit the learning objective to 10x10 often citing decimalization as the reason for this, without speaking out the truth which underlies their motivation, being a preference to dumb-down the learning objective as it is then easier to accomplish.

On the other hand, those who value the ability to multiply (typically those who are comfortable themselves and often fail to see the problem through other people's eyes) suggest raising the bar to empower students with skills based on enlarging the times tables to cover up to 20x20 or even 100x100. This kind of goal cries out for a skill-based approach, rather than memorization of number facts.

Even with the use of rhyme and song, however, the question remains as to whether rote learning of the times tables is really the best way forward, compared with developing the skill of effective mental multiplication.

Teaching Ideas