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  • Writer's pictureAlina Colton

Even Prince George will take the MTC. How do we prepare our kids in a manner worthy of royalty?

All year 4 pupils in the UK are about to take their Multiplication Table Check. This is happening nationally for the first time. Even His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge as a Year 4 pupil is no different to his peers. There’s some controversy over this test as on one hand mastership of the multiplication table really does contribute to a stronger chance of ownership of the next topics in maths, yet a test that allows only 6 seconds per question, 25 questions in a row might be a harsh tool of measurement.

As parents we obviously want to make sure our children do as well as they possibly can. This goal may easily put pressure on both parent and child.

How do we support our children and make sure they succeed without slipping into frustrating arguments and getting them to resent both maths and us!

The first and most important tool is the parent’s frame of mind!

I’ll explain:

Have faith in your child’s incredible capabilities; envision success. I know, this sounds vague. Kids are fantastic creatures. They can accomplish so much more than the limitations of our imagination and our fears allow us to see, but at the same time, they sense every shred of doubt in their capabilities. This becomes a dangerously self-fulfilling prophecy. Believe in the success you wish for your child! Your mere faith will be a huge step towards reaching it.

Make sure the time you invest in preparation is enjoyable both for you and for your child!

Learning is a process greatly influenced by psychology. If your child resents the process, deep inside the goal would be to prove all this effort was pointless.

In fact, once you’ve captivated a child’s motivation to find interest and succeed you are halfway there!

“On The Go” games are a great tool for enjoyable and bonding practice.

The table of 7 is often the trickiest one for kids. While you travel, ride the bike or enjoy a walk in the park you can offer the “7-Bang” game. It’s a clever counting game. Each player advances the count but multiplications of seven and numbers that include the digit seven need to be replaced with the word “Bang!” Example: 1-2-3-4-5-6-Bang-8-9-10-11-12-13-Bang-15-16-Bang-18-19-20-Bang- 22… Whenever the count goes wrong the group or couple of players start from the beginning. The point is to reach “100” and then repeat the success at a shorter period of time.

Don’t rush to correct mistakes! Empower your child’s capability to examine their own answers. A known problem of High School students, is the case of kids who study relentlessly towards a test, do well at home but perform poorly on the actual test. Often it is believed to be the result of stress, but a more careful examination reveals it is the result of a dependency students develop on external feedback. At home, they check the answers and receive the assurance they were right. That gives them the confidence to go on. During the test, they are deprived of that confidence, and this is where things go terribly wrong. Students that develop their own tools to examine the validity of their answers do considerably better! The sooner we nurture that independency – the better.

Practice pairs that help notice a system: Such pairs are multiplications of 10 and 9, 2 and 4, 10 and 5, 3 and 6. Example: (10 x 7=? 9x7=?) (2x7=? 4x7-?) (10x7=? 5x7=?) (3x7=? 6x7=?) and so on…

Avoid the trap of the need to TEACH. Let them discover. Everything children discover on their own, nurtures their ownership and confidence.

Laugh! Yes! Funnily enough, I am not kidding! Not only does laughter relieve anxieties it literally releases a hormone that improves creative functions of the brain! Be silly, combine funny noises and expressions as a part of the practice, and please bear in mind. If you’re loving the process, it means you are getting it right!

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