Teaching Arithmetic Classically

Andrew Elizalde February 15, 2017

Presented at:
2017 Winter Regional Conference


In this session we will challenge popularized notions of the "grammar of mathematics" as well as critique the prominence of "rote memorization' in our grammar school instruction. Then we will explore an alternative approach to teaching arithmetic, moving from the concrete to the pictorial to the abstract in a way that honors the structure of the classical Trivium and restores the ancient art of memory. This approach will be modeled through the teaching of simple addition and the development of more sophisticated addition algorithms. Particular emphasis will be placed on the notions of composing and decomposing units of higher value - unfortunately two concepts that are better known as "carrying over" and "borrowing from." Finally, correspondence will be demonstrated between classical pedagogy and best practices proven by the recent success of Singapore mathematics.


best practices Mathematics Memory Pedagogy Singapore Math


Andrew Elizalde
Andrew Elizalde earned a B.A. degree at Depauw University where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, earned a mathematics major, physics minor, and religious studies minor, and received the H.E.H. Greenleaf Award as the most outstanding graduate of the school’s mathematics program. His teaching experience includes work in both public and private schools as well as private tutoring in subjects ranging from elementary mathematics to advanced calculus and physics. Andrew is currently Dean of Academics, at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, Texas. Andrew also regularly offers consulting services to Classical schools. Andrew and his wife, Brooke, have three daughters.

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