Friday, 25 November 2011


I am often asked to support children with the "chunking" method of division. There are times when my personal preferences are subordinated to the needs of the learner especially with long multiplication. I personally favour the Lattice of Napier's Bones method but will teach other methods when it meets the personal learning style of the learner.

When it comes to chunking however I really have to grit my teeth. There are times when we have to go along with the student as it is the only method taught in their school and we will always do our best to make sure each child is supported to ensure success at their school. Whilst I understand where chunking is coming from (we need to teach why as well as how) I think it is not only confusing but also open to inaccuracies  committed by the learner in the multiple calculations required.

Division itself is in my mind the most difficult of the four operators and we should not over complicate things for students who are finding it tricky anyway. Give students different methods, by all means but don't dismiss traditional methods for the reason that they are out of date. Some mathematical methods are over a thousand years old, does it make them wrong?