> In Australia more students than ever leave school > without basic numeracy skills. > > So if YOU were starting from scratch, how would you > simplify arithmetic?
If Australia is not that much different from the U.S., then I would venture to guess that "more students than ever leave school without" knowing the addition and multiplication tables. Believe it or not, this phenomenon did not exist when I attended a one-room elementary school in a small village in Italy. The tables were taught by recitation. We were expected to know the addition table by the end of second grade and the multiplication table by the end of third grade. So, when we started second grade, we had already heard other students recite the addition table for one year; and when we started third grade, we had already heard other students recite the multiplication table for two years.