Parents peeved as schools subtract times tables

Parents say the move away from multiplication drills doesn't add up.

Multiplication tables

11 years ago
Duration 2:00
Schools are no longer teaching multiplication tables much to the dismay of parents

While many Edmonton elementary students will be be taking time off from school work this summer, Jacquelyn Vandenborne’s daughter, Anneke Oosterhuis, will be spending her morning learning multiplication.

Vandenborne started the morning math drills when she discovered that the school that the Grade 4 student attends hadn’t been teaching multiplication drills.

"I think drills are essential. That's the best way to learn and I think it has to be by rote," Vanderborne said.

"I learned that way, we've learned that way for years and years and years."

Six years ago, elementary schools in western Canada started to do away with mandatory times tables drills.

In Edmonton public schools, teachers still teach kids how to memorize multiplication tables.

However, spokesman Cory Sinclair says they want students to learn how to work out mathematical problems, not just memorize the answers.

 "They want to build how do you get to that answer - and there's several ways to get to that answer - and different students learn in different ways," Sinclair said.

"So by giving students different options - and one of those options is the multiplication table - then students will have more capacity to gather an understanding of mathematics and to employ it in their daily lives."

Vandenborne, along with other parents, are worried the new math lessons aren’t getting through to some students.

She’s worried that if she doesn’t teach the drills herself, her daughter will fall behind.

"Kids aren't going to be able to do university if they don't know how to multiply 5 times 3. And they're gonna get short-changed at the grocery store."