Goals - Part 6

My goals in helping children with arithmetic are simple. I want them

  • to be good at solving all different types of word problems,
  • to like solving word problems,
  • to understand the problem solving methods (shortcuts) that they use and
  • to be able to communicate their reasoning to others.

6. One Additional, Very Important, Goal

Your child’s early education should begin to prepare him or her to solve all kinds of problems in many different disciplines – not just the 12 types of word problems discussed here, not just arithmetic problems, not just algebra problems, not just other problems in mathematics.

But becoming a good problem solver is not just a question of accumulating techniques for solving pre-determined, known categories of problems. Good problem solvers are able to analyze all kinds of situations, novel situations, using what is known about the situation together with their ability to think logically about that which is known.

I believe that there are ways of helping children learn shortcuts for solving the 12 types of word problems that will do more for them than make them good at solving those particular types of problems. Done right, children will improve in their ability to reason, and like to reason, in all kinds of other situations. That too should be a primary goal of instruction in arithmetic. Go to the Methods tab to learn more.