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BACK-TO-BASICS MATHS IS NO SOLUTION, SAYS ATL

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The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has said that the proposals of the government's numeracy task force...
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has said that the proposals of the government's numeracy task force would not solve

the problem of lack of number skills among schoolchildren.

Peter Smith, the general secretary of ATL, said: 'Any proposal to ban

calculators would be stupid: you cannot uninvent the wheel. What really concerns industrialists and academic mathematicians is that young people are weak at estimating what an answer might be. Children need to learn how to use calculators intelligently: it is their incapacity to have an instinct for whether something churned out by a calculator is correct which is worrying.

'Everyone will support the government's aim of improving children's

numeracy, but attempts to impose rigid conditions in schools often lead to absurdity. How will a government which wants access to a PC for every child stop those same children from pressing the calculator button available on their computers?

'Teachers are the best judges of what will work in the classroom: central government should not be prescribing in such detail how they ought to teach.'

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