Multiplication vs. addition once more

Keith Devlin has published another column along the lines of multiplication not being repeated addition. I feel quite honored that he mentions THIS blog in his column (scroll down to the end), referring to what I wrote about the issue.

This time he expounds on research results. The research clearly shows that thinking of multiplication as repeated addition hinders students' further understanding of mathematics. It can lead to the misconception that multiplication always makes things bigger. Children need to acquire multiplicative reasoning, which is different from additive reasoning. And so on. Go read it yourself.


Mathew said…
Thank you for the link. That was a great article. I wasn't aware of this debate or even that Piaget had something to say about it so long ago.

One thing I would like to add is that while it may not be best to teach multiplication as repeated addition, that there certainly seems to be a place to add a multiplication-as-repeated-addition perspective at the point at which a student is ready to use that perspective in developing combinatorial analogies and problem solving skills. At least, I seem to have great success doing so with middle and high school students.

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