Mathematics concerns

Teachers at the workshop
Teachers at the workshop

Chief Education officer, Steve Hyacinth, has warned that the continued unacceptable performance in Mathematics in the nation’s schools raises the concern that perhaps that subject is not being taught properly.

Speaking to teachers of grades K-3 at the opening ceremony of a three-day Numeracy Workshop at the Public Training Centre on Monday morning, Hyacinth pointed out that the ministry is faced with the challenge of ensuring that all students move through the school system with the ability to be numerate.

“The Ministry of Education holds true to its vision ‘Each child can learn’… every child should leave our school being literate and numerate, however the reason why this is not happening is not because students are not academically inclined, but it is a reflection of the quality of training they receive at school,” he said.

He added that with the right tools, teachers who are confident, who are oriented towards improvement and are prepared to implement creative, innovative strategies in the classroom, can cause students to be very successful.

Hyacinth urged teachers to continue to be innovative, creative, seek to remain current and enhance their ability to teach students.

Speaking at the function, Senior Education Officer, Nicholas Goldberg revealed that the vast majority of students perform at one grade below their level in Mathematics. According to him, students in grades K to 3 usually love doing Mathematics, however, their attitudes change toward the subject as they move up the grades.

“We need to ensure that we diagnose our students before they come into the classes, find out what they know so that you can build on it. There is a failure of teachers to relate the Mathematics to real world. It is important that students know the purpose of learning Mathematics,” Goldberg pointed out.

He said further, that there is a much greater need for investigation and discovery in Mathematics since too often students are given the wrong impression on the subject and are not given the opportunity to discover.

The workshop is being facilitated by Laurie Sealy and is sponsored by MacMillan Publishers.

It is designed for teachers and principals of primary schools across the island.

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  1. The Deanvoy
    April 18, 2013

    Multiplying any number by 5 in a quick and efficient manner.

    steps to follow:

    1. Take the number been multiplied by 5 and divide it by 2(half it). Only taking the whole number part even if the number is not completely divisible by 2. This is the first part of the result.

    2. Now you have to determine whether the number being multiplied by 5 is even or odd. If that number is even then addon a zero(0) to the end of your result in step 1. However, if otherwise then addon a five(5) to the end of your result in step 1.

    3. Write down or say out your answer.


    Example 1
    find 6 x 5.

    step 1: 6 / 2 = 3

    step 2: We 6 is even. Because even numbers ends either with a 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8. Therefore we need to place a zero(0) at the back of our result from step 1.

    step 3: wrtie the answer

    6 x 5 = 30

    Example 2

    find 37 x 5.

    step 1: 37 / 2 = 18
    We are using just the whole number part for this method. It’s ok to throw way the 0.5, it wont affect the result.

    step 2: 37 is an odd number. Because all odd numbers ends either with a 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9. Therefore we need to place a five(5) at the back of the result from step 1.

    step 3: write down your answer.

    37 x 5 = 185

    Example 3

    find 145 x 5.

    145 / 2 = 77

    145 is an even number.Therefore place a 5 to the back of 77.

    Hence 145 x 5 = 775

    Just trying to get some child or parent excited about one of the best subject in the world.

    May the greatest Mathematician the creator of heaven and earth provide us with wisdom and understanding in an area such as Maths.

    Jah bless us all.

  2. The Deanvoy
    April 17, 2013

    I am glad to hear that such methods are pleasing some of the DNO users.
    I am quite happy Mrs. Celestine appreciates the effort. Happy to know that you found out for yourself it works for numbers twenty and beyond. The problem is I didn’t want to dish out too much food on one plate at any one time. But what you have said is definitely correct.

    I happy to hear of your wanting to take this in your classroom. It is my hope as a Dominican who was once in the classroom to hear our children wanting to do maths for the love of it.

    May the Lord bless your effort.

    Jah bless

  3. The Deanvoy
    April 17, 2013

    @wotton waven/Possie there exists many ways for doing this.
    1. here 12 x 12 = 144
    144 is a square number.
    How do we find the of square numbers from 10 to 19 quickly without a Calculator(brain killer)?
    Do not get me wrong, but at primary and high school level they should resort to using the brain the most powerful Calculator.
    Here we go:
    look at 12 it has a 2 at the end of 12. 11 has a 1 at the end, 16 has a 6 at the end and so on.

    So to find the square of 12 for instance: take the given number which is 12 and add it to the end digit 2 this gives you 14. then find square of the end digit 2 that is 4. Put it all together that gives 144.


    12 x 12 = ?

    12 + 2 = 14 first part of the answer

    square 2 = 2 x 2 = 4 second part

    put it all together
    write 14 followed by 4. that’s 144.

    Hence 12 x 12 = 144

    To do 15 x 15:

    15 + 5 = 20
    5 x 5 = 25
    Now here do not just put 20 followed by 25, because if you did that you would end up with 2025 which is wrong. So you need to make a small adjustment. Add the 2 from the 25 to the 0 from the 20 that gives you 2. Now you can write down your answer 225. Because squaring numbers from 10 to 19 your answer is always less than 400. By the way 20 x 20 = 400.

    one more e.g
    19 x 19 = ?

    19 + 9 = 28
    9 x 9 = 81
    Do not write down 2881. That would be wrong. But do 8 + 8 is 16 then add the 2 and 1 from the 16. Because you cannot write 16 in the tens place value. Therefore each time we add and our result is greater than 9 we need to carry over to the next digit on the left. Hence 2 + 1 is. Now we can write 361 as our final answer.

    Hence 19 x 19 = 361.

    The Steps again:

    1. Take the given number and add it to the end digit of that same number.
    E.g 17 squared.
    17 + 7 = 24
    2. find the square of the end digit of the given number.

    In this case it is 7:

    Remember squaring is the same as multiplying a number by itself.

    7 x 7 = 49

    Remember 7 is in units place value, so after squaring has taken place you can only place the 9 from that partial result in the units place value, hence the 4 from 49 will be added to the 4 from 24 our first partial result. Now 4 + 4 is 8 which is less than 10, hence we write 8 in without any carrying over to the hundreds place value.

    3. After doing all adjustments we can write down our result or answer.

    17 x 17 = 289

    I hope this method do the trick for anyone one wanting to do easy mental calculations. The method is rather easy it just need some getting use to it.

    Well to all you people out there in maths land all the best and my wish is you would go out there and try new way of doing mathematics.

    God bless you all.

    • Mrs. Celestine
      April 17, 2013

      I love this! It’s the first time seeing this method but it’s quite interesting. I suspect it is a loose application of the perfect square method.

      The steps that you gave only works for 2-digit numbers with 1 as the first digit. After reading your post, I did a few and realized that it can work for any number with additional step.

      After adding the last digit to the original number and before ‘adding’ the square of that digit, the sum should be multiplied by the first digit.

      For example: 23^2 or 23 squared

      Step 1 : Add 3 to 23 =====> 23 + 3 = 26

      Step 2 : Multiply 26 by 2 =====> 26 * 2 = 52

      Step 3 : Multiply 52 by 10 and add 9 ======> 529 + 9 = 529

      It works for any number. Even three or more digits. I am quite impressed with this method and I look forward to sharing it with my students.

  4. BRA
    April 16, 2013

    Most of the problem begins and ends with the parents. Parents are their childrens first and most important teacher.

    From birth parents must create a home environment to stimulate and motivate their children. When the children enters the school system they should be receptive to learning.

  5. Me
    April 16, 2013

    Put qualified teachers in classroom……lol…big joke…time dey get dere teacher’s certificate…dey taking dem and put dem behind desk in ministry

    • anonymous
      April 17, 2013

      are you serious?

  6. ()
    April 16, 2013

    Students learn your tables before high school please. This is my input. Can you imagine up to 5th form at Secondary level some students still do not know their tables? PAPA BAT!

    • Mrs. Celestine
      April 17, 2013

      I second that motion!

  7. wotton waven /Possie
    April 16, 2013

    eh,butthe deanvoy i am trying to do 12×12 in the ssame manner it is not working , please assist.

  8. wotton waven /Possie
    April 16, 2013

    Very very interesting mr.Deanvoy, never new that. what a revelation, cannot wait to teach my little grand-daughter , maths that way,please post some tips on addition and subtraction

  9. correct mindset
    April 16, 2013

    For those who have internet access at home, pre schoolers to 5th grade, can sign up to, a website designed to help students improve the understanding and performance in mathematics. Please parents, we have to spend some time with solving problems with our children. The earlier we get into practicing with them the faster they catch on and develop interest in the subject.

  10. really?
    April 16, 2013

    i believe the education officer made a valid point when he mentioned “we diagnose our students before they come into the classes”. in addition, majority of dominican teachers lack training in the area of the investigative role of an educator and ministry of educacion should look in to it for this will help develope the teacching -learning proces on the island.

  11. Anonymous
    April 16, 2013

    Back to basics. The section of maths with the poorest results is problem solving. Why? The students cannot read and so they cannot interpret the problems.

    Ministry of Education, English and mathematics are the basis for every subject.

  12. teacher
    April 16, 2013

    Maths for life.

  13. sandw
    April 16, 2013

    It is not all down to the teachers. Firstly, mathematics can be taught in a fun way at home. For example, when you go shopping, ask your child to add up (in his head) items you are buying, how much change you will get, etc. If you have cake, get them to divide it equally, let them play with the change in your purse, count buttons, the list is endless – it gets their brain working. Foreign languages, get someone to speak patois/creole to your child – it opens the brain for language and music in later life. Going somewhere, get your child to plan the route on the (free) Dominica road map, read books with your children, have discussions….
    Yes, education is sadly lacking in some schools here, but that is not an excuse to leave your child uneducated/unprepared for life.

  14. Anonymous
    April 16, 2013

    I hope Mr Hyacinth will take heed of all the great comments here, first time I see such sensible comments on DNO keep it up.

  15. The Deanvoy
    April 16, 2013

    No child should go through a school door on his/her first day in the system not knowing how to read and count. Parents we need to stop and think of our God given responsibilities. Plan ahead, don’t go with the idea is school that must teach your offspring everything. Education should begin at home in all areas(moral as well as academics). Let’s invest in our children in the right way. Get some of the Ladybird Sunstart series and read with your child or children. Don’t wait for Mr or Mrs so and so to start your child off, when it can be done right from the home. If this is done your child will go to school already knowing how to read things like: I see a boy or girl, I see a big boy and I see a little girl. What will this do? This will create a confident individual in the classroom, because he or she has a head start. Stop spending unprofitable time on those social networks but instead do some research with some kind of search engine to find information to help us as parents where we are weak, so that in turn we can help our little one. We as parents should see the teachers as facilitators in helping our children in his/her educational endeavors. The child success is going to depend on a collaborative effort or partnership between the home and school. We can only get out what we have put in.
    Imagine my 6 years-old look at video on youtube where some woman was speaking about maths and she said something like: mathematics gives you wings. So when ever his cousin who is his elder does not want to do his maths, he usually says to him do your maths it will give you wings. So parents lets teach our little ones what we know. It does not matter how small it is, what is important is the effort. A child who goes of to Grade k knowing how to count and do simple addition and subtraction will do better than he/she who comes in empty.

    Look new ways and fun ways to teach your child maths. For example let’s says you are going to teach your child to multiple by 11.

    For e.g 12 x 11 the child does not need to know his/her 11 times table or to do any multiplication as a matter of fact. All the child needs to know to accomplish such a task is how to add to numbers.
    When multiplying any two digit number by 11 all you need to do is take the digits of that number and add them togehter and the result of the addition is placed between the digits you just added and this new number is your result.


    12 x 11 = ?

    digits of 12: 1 and 2

    add the digits: 1 + 2 = 3

    place the result in middle of the number 12

    therefore: 12 x 11 = 132

    This will work for any number from 10 to 99. For numbers with three digits or more there is a little tweaking that must be done but it is the same method. Please do some research people.

    No need of cramming our times table or putting it into music. Let’s help give them a solid foundation.

    God bless us as parent

  16. hope
    April 15, 2013

    The myth that everything that goes wrong in the class is the teacher’s is mere ignorance. I have seen my colleagues who teach math work ten times as hard as the rest of us and still the results continue to be alarming!

    Primary school was the best learning experience of many; we did math, English, Social Studies and Science … and in the afternoons we sang, recited poems and our famous timetables…those were the days! Today, we are what hold this country together.

    Today, these little people do so much; they have it so hard! What are we really doing?

    Sir, get back to the basics! Give teachers the time they need to work with their students.

  17. Anonymous
    April 15, 2013

    I was amazed at the level of mental math that grade three children in Cuba did. That was quite an experience. Hope the situation here improves.

  18. vex
    April 15, 2013

    they want teachers to do more in helping students in all aspects. maths, english etc. but where are the resources. teachers must buy everything they need for their classrooms from the little pennies that they receive. where are the materials for the students. manilar paper, slips, ink for schools to print extra materials. have you taken a look at the mathematics books for primary schools lately. lark of information lark of practice. you have to go on the internet and look for a lot of extra help for your sutdents but guess what you cant even print it becasue the schools has to limit its priniting amount to save ink. come on stop blaming teachers for all the things that are happen and take some responsiblity cheif education officer. a few chalk a few free pens and one or two toliet paper now and then cant acheive nothing.

  19. Mon
    April 15, 2013

    There is not even chalk in the classrooms

    • Anonymous
      April 15, 2013

      I agree not enough resources available. Raise teachers salary. Little salary to buy down to pencils and snacks for students

      • Anonymous
        April 16, 2013

        Instead of the parents buying the kids blackberry, weave and all the latest clothes and shoes, why don’t they buy food and pencil instead?

  20. Anonymous
    April 15, 2013

    Unfortunately There isn’t even chalk in the classrooms

  21. Student
    April 15, 2013

    I have said to a few persons and I will say it here. We are cramming too many subjetcs into the primary school cirriculum. I do not know who we are trying to copy by doing this and what form of improvemnt we hope to realize but teaching French spanish, computer Science in primary school at those early grades before the children can write properly, sound letters, and grasp the basic concepts of Math!!! something is wrong. And by the time they get to high school they are tired. It is a fact. I have taught for years I have noted the differences. When I went to primary school alot of time was spent with us getting those basic concepts in Maths, Penmanship, Phonics, Grammar etc and I am no worse of than these our twenty-first century children and I have gone on to do very well in all my academic pursuits and this I constantly attribute to the solid academic foundation I got way back in primary school. For example you cannot teach teach children a foreign language without them first mastering their mother language. My point is teachers need to spend more time at the primary level giving the children a solid foundation. The Primary school cirriculum needs to be reviewed and we need to get back to the basics. My suggestion is the children have about two months in School after they have sat the Grade Six National Assessment -use that time for the French, Spanish Computer Science ect. to prepare them for high school.

    • hope
      April 15, 2013

      I concur …

    • YAP
      April 16, 2013

      You also have to consider that many children learn things differently at different ages and stages of their life. One child may not have the ability in the first three grades to understand the three basic subjects – math english phonics grammar; however they may be able to understand music, computers or spanish and then this would later on lead to the understanding of math grammar phonics etc. The whole idea is that children or everyone as a matter of fact was born with a purpose and all of your purpose your abilities were infused within you during conception thru birth. You may disagree; this was well planned by our creator. What happens is that we the adults, when we give birth to these children, we tend to set or create a path that we would have them follow, when in truth, we should let them be free. Simply expose them the when, whys, hows – direct, show and not force it down their throats. Take a good look at a new born baby. Do you tell that baby to open its eyes, suck its mother’s breast, smile and so forth unless there is something radically and medically wrong with that baby, he/she does so naturally. We should not try to let them do what we want them to do or become. Let nature take its course and gently guide. Children are smart, they are innovative, intuitive and full of wisdom. Sometimes we simply need to give them a break and we will be surprised.

    • Anonymous
      April 16, 2013

      I agree. The kids cannot understand the basics of English yet they are taught French.

      My daughter is exceptionally bright, but still has issues with past tense. However, she has to learn French in Grade 2.

    • slim
      April 16, 2013

      i want to support you.

  22. princess Osanna
    April 15, 2013

    I quess some one has another mathbook for sale.
    The Min. of Ed. is tired of jumping from book to book.

  23. St.john Mingo
    April 15, 2013

    Back to basics,we should learn and understand maths before using calculators.A good subject to keep the brain active

  24. TheGUY
    April 15, 2013

    When you push children through primary school and high school they have no motivation to get good grades. Before if you failed you knew you were going to be in a certain class. That alone was more than enough motivation.

    Now these incompetent “graduates” are coming into the workforce what do you think the outcome will be.

  25. Nudibranch
    April 15, 2013

    Some teachers go above and beyond, some teachers merely show up and collect a salary. If the teacher is not comfortable with the subject that discomfort is passed on unwittingly to the students. Who was it said “anyone with a 3 at cxc can teach maths”?

  26. All the best
    April 15, 2013

    Put resources in schools and you will see improvement. Deal with the incompetent teachers and you will see results, Mr. Minister and Mr. CEO.

  27. Okay
    April 15, 2013

    The curriculums are seriously lacking. Go back to the old ones. Will do us a world of good.

  28. Anonymous
    April 15, 2013

    Employ qualified teachers and leave out the ones who are just looking for a job. I am sure if I apply you all will not accept me and I am qualified at imparted knowledge.

  29. view
    April 15, 2013

    The power of number show i see being advertise will help

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