"Is your P3 child still counting with fingers?" Part 1
Some say it is good, some say it is bad? So which one is it?
Do you want to know what I think? Because I know some of you won't like what I'm about to say.
It's not good.
But hey! I didn't say it's bad also!
Here's what I feel:
For over 10 years now, every time I meet new students, I gauge their maths foundation by testing simple addition or multiplication.
99% of the time, when students (P3 and above) count with fingers, I know they have poor addition/subtraction.
(That being said, I know of very very strong mathematicians who continually use their fingers for high level mathematics. Coincidentally, those that I know play the piano or some musical instrument, but that’s a discussion for another day. For the rest of us, it might be better to wean off the fingers!)
Here's what I observe about finger counting,
children always count 1 by 1, finger by finger
if under pressure or stress (maybe during exams) they will count again to "double-check"
they show intense focus and concentration
And here's WHY I don't like finger counting
it takes up too much of the child's effort
Don't get me wrong, I cannot support finger counting enough. For children aged 4 to 8, there has never been a better teaching tool for learning maths.
What I feel strongly against is the reliance on fingers for children P3 and onwards. It limits your child's mathematical potential.
Here's an example:
See this bicycle below with 2 additional "training wheels" at the back?
What do you think of the training wheels? Are they good or are they bad for cyclists?
You'll probably say something along these lines
"Good for beginner lor.. but after a few months must take out and learn to do without it.."
If you replace <training wheels> with <finger counting> that is exactly what I have been talking about.
Now, if you are thinking "How can I get my child to stop using fingers to count?"
This article is written for you!
Let me help you to remove the "training" wheels for your child and let them count without fingers!
In the next part, I will talk about easy to follow steps that you can do at home with your children.