ทำไมเราถึงควรให้เด็กใช้นิ้วนับตอนเรียนคณิตศาสตร์

02 May, 2016

ทำไมเราถึงควรให้เด็กใช้นิ้วนับตอนเรียนคณิตศาสตร์


มีความเชื่อที่ว่า 
"การนับนิ้วไม่ค่อยมีประโยชน์ ทำให้เด็กคิดช้าและดูไม่ค่อยเก่ง เด็กควรเลิกนับนิ้วให้เร็วที่สุดเท่าที่เป็นไปได้"
.
ซึ่งจากผลงานวิจัยพบว่าหากไม่ยอมให้เด็กได้ใช้นิ้วมือในการนับอาจตัดโอกาสการเรียนรู้ด้านตัวเลขและการคิดเป็นภาพ ซึ่งเป็นสิ่งสำคัญมากสำหรับการแก้ปัญหาทางคณิตศาสตร์ในระดับสูง 
.
จากการศึกษากับเด็กอายุ 8-13 ปี เมื่อได้ทำโจทย์การลบ ระบบการรับรู้จากส่วนนิ้วมือก็จะปรากฏขึ้นมาถึงแม้ว่าเด็กจะไม่ได้ยกนิ้วขึ้นมานับก็ตาม และพบว่าหากได้รับการฝึกฝนด้านการสัมฝัสรู้และใช้นิ้วมือได้ด้วยกันจะยิ่งช่วยให้ประสบความสำเร็จทางด้านคณิตศาสตร์ได้ดีขึ้น
.
ในวัยเด็กควรมีการเรียนรู้ที่เรียบง่ายไม่ซับซ้อนจะช่วยลดความสับสนทางความคิดในวัยเด็กซึ่งจะมีส่วนช่วยพัฒนาความคิดอย่างเป็นระบบมีตรรกะและเป็นลำดับขั้นตอนที่ดีในภายหน้า
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A few weeks ago I (Jo Boaler) was working in my Stanford office when the silence of the room was interrupted by a phone call. A mother called me to report that her 5-year-old daughter had come home from school crying because her teacher had not allowed her to count on her fingers. This is not an isolated event—schools across the country regularly ban finger use in classrooms or communicate to students that they are babyish. This is despite a compelling and rather surprising branch of neuroscience that shows the importance of an area of our brain that “sees” fingers, well beyond the time and age that people use their fingers to count.

In a study published last year, the researchers Ilaria Berteletti and James R. Booth analyzed a specific region of our brain that is dedicated to the perception and representation of fingers known as the somatosensory finger area. Remarkably, brain researchers know that we “see” a representation of our fingers in our brains, even when we do not use fingers in a calculation. The researchers found that when 8-to-13-year-olds were given complex subtraction problems, the somatosensory finger area lit up, even though the students did not use their fingers. This finger-representation area was, according to their study, also engaged to a greater extent with more complex problems that involved higher numbers and more manipulation. Other researchers have found that the better students’ knowledge of their fingers was in the first grade, the higher they scored on number comparison and estimation in the second grade. Even university students’ finger perception predicted their calculation scores. (Researchers assess whether children have a good awareness of their fingers by touching the finger of a student—without the student seeing which finger is touched—and asking them to identify which finger it is.)

Evidence from both behavioral and neuroscience studies shows that when people receive training on ways to perceive and represent their own fingers, they get better at doing so, which leads to higher mathematics achievement. The tasks we have developed for use in schools and homes (see below) are based on the training programs researchers use to improve finger-perception quality. Researchers found that when 6-year-olds improved the quality of their finger representation, they improved in arithmetic knowledge, particularly skills such as counting and number ordering. In fact, the quality of the 6-year-old’s finger representation was a better predictor of future performance on math tests than their scores on tests of cognitive processing.

Neuroscientists often debate why finger knowledge predicts math achievement, but they clearly agree on one thing: That knowledge is critical. As Brian Butterworth, a leading researcher in this area, has written, if students aren’t learning about numbers through thinking about their fingers, numbers “will never have a normal representation in the brain.”

One of the recommendations of the neuroscientists conducting these important studies is that schools focus on finger discrimination—not only on number counting via their fingers but also on helping students distinguish between those fingers. Still, schools typically pay little if any attention to finger discrimination, and to our knowledge, no published curriculum encourages this kind of mathematical work. Instead, thanks largely to school districts and the media, many teachers have been led to believe that finger use is useless and something to be abandoned as quickly as possible. Kumon, for example, an after-school tutoring program used by thousands of families in dozens of countries, tells parents that finger-counting is a “no no” and that those who see their children doing so should report them to the instructor.