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Being able to visualise equations in your mind is known as mental math. For example, the equation 25 – 9, a student who sees the equation in their mind might see it this way 25 – 10 (-1), while those who finger count might need to utilise their toes and their friend’s fingers for this equation.
The pressure of getting the answers right within a specified amount of time could also lead to finger counting incorrectly, leading to careless mistakes.
It can make them feel that they can always rely on their fingers to get the job done. This closes them off to learning new skills, and hinders memorisation techniques.
Teachers spend more time explaining complex concepts and formulas instead of spending any time on the addition and subtraction portion of the equation. This in turn could create a problem for the student, who relies on finger counting, leaving them behind in class and being unable to cope with the lesson(s).
The most important thing to remember is to make sure your child does not rely too much on finger counting, and is equally familiar and open to the other ways of working equations.
A creative writer, tutor and full time babysitter to my two year old niece. I picked up writing as an undergraduate at a local university and have not looked back since.
Do you know of effective counting methods to transition your kids from counting with fingers? Share them with us by leaving a comment below!