[Numeracy 80] Re: "Girls may learn math anxiety from female teachers"

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Michael Gyori tesolmichael at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 26 22:04:35 EST 2010

Greetings all,

I wish to clarify that I have in no way taken a position by posting the link to the article funded by the NSF.  It merely caught my attention and thought it might be of interest to others.

Michael A. Gyori
Maui International Language School 

From: "tjdclaire at cox.net" <tjdclaire at cox.net>
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Cc: Michael Gyori <tesolmichael at yahoo.com>
Sent: Tue, January 26, 2010 10:09:21 AM
Subject: Re: [Numeracy 67] "Girls may learn math anxiety from female teachers"

I would not be so quick to blame only female teachers for only female math anxiety.  (From the day I chanced to read college course requirements for elementary school teachers) I have always  asserted  that poor attitudes in math probably stem (independent of student gender...not so certain about teacher gender since most elementary school teachers are female) from elementary teacher attitudes about math.  I was supported by this observation in research done by Christoper M. Klinger: Passing It On:  Linking Adult Innumeracy to Mathematics Attitudes, Low Self-Efficacy Beliefs, and Math-Anxiety in Student Primary Teachers.  Klinger of the University of South Australia did research there in Australia and here in the United States interviewing and testing teachers on their math attitudes and abilities.  Very interesting presentation at the Adults Learning Mathematics conference held in Philadelphia in 2008.  You can see the abstract and the
powerpoint for the presentation at http://www.alm-online.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=106&Itemid=96
I apologize to any and all present, future, and past elementary school teachers who believe they have not been part of the problem.

As for the finger tricks:
For those of you who know the 9's trick, you know that one usually starts with the hands open and flat.
For this trick, I find it important to start with the hands balled in fists.
Each hand initially represents one of the two numbers to be multiplied.
Thumbs are sixes, addition of the forefinger makes seven, addition of the middle finger eight, addition of the ring finger nine, and little finger makes ten.
(This is the easy part):
For example, if you want to find 6 times 8
On one hand you put up your thumb (for six) and on the other you count off 6,7,8 (thumb, forefinger, middle finger) for eight.
You should now have a total of four fingers raised, one on one hand, three on the other.  Each raised finger is worth 10.
Therefore, so far you are showing  a total of 40.
(Here comes the slightly more complex part):
On the hand with one finger raised, there are still four fingers down.
One the hand with three fingers raised, there are still two fingers down.
You must multiply four (fingers down) times two (fingers down) to get, of course, eight.
Last step, add the eight to the 40.  So 6 x 8 = 48.

This sounds much worse than it is in practice simply because you have your fingers as visual aids in practice.
The only place(s) this is not truly elegant is for 6 x 6 and 6 x 7.  It still works though.  For 6 x 6: (one thumb plus one thumb makes 20, four (fingers down) times four (fingers down) equals 16; twenty plus sixteen gives you 36.

I hope this explanation is understandable...I'm a very visual person and usually accompany this with a diagram and multiple practice examples.


---- Michael Gyori <tesolmichael at yahoo.com> wrote:


 Greetings all,

This link is to research funded by the National Science Foundation:


Michael A. Gyori
Maui International Language School 

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