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Topic: Abolish P & P Arithmetic?
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Abolish P & P Arithmetic?
Posted: Mar 5, 1999 12:16 PM
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att1.dat (1.5 K)

Let's Abolish Pencil-and-Paper Arithmetic

Anthony Ralston

SUNY at Buffalo and Imperial College, London

This is a pre-publication version of a paper to be published in a
forthcoming edition of the Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science


This article proposes that paper-and-pencil arithmetic no longer be taught
in elementary school and that it be replaced by a curriculum which
emphasizes mental arithmetic much more than at present and in which
calculators are used for instructional purposes in all grades including
kindergarten. The article analyzes and refutes the arguments made by
"back-to-basics" proponents against the use of calculators and for
traditional instruction in the algorithms of pencil-and-paper arithmetic.
The value of mental arithmetic in achieving all the aims - and more - of
the traditional curriculum is argued. Also considered is the outline of an
elementary school mathematics curriculum without pencil-and-paper
arithmetic. As well, the impact of such a curriculum on secondary school
and college mathematics is discussed. Finally, the barriers to achieving
what the article advocates are assessed.

The full paper can be found at:

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)

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