# THE TOONS’ VIEWS

The Editor

Here’s a Question for Council: I’m a resident in the three-bin Dubbo collection district, where Dubbo Regional Council has stated on its website that I will only get a 140-litre Red Bin. I want a 240 litre Red Bin. I want to know under what Australian law Dubbo Regional Council has decreed residents in the three-bin Dubbo and Wellington collection districts must have a 140-litre Red Bin.

I accept there are certain rules and laws in free democratic society that have to be obeyed in order to maintain civility, but I don’t think having a small bin foisted on us when residents on the urban fringes are getting a large bin is fair, democratic or civil.

This is not a “what about me” whinge; this is about necessity. Residents should have the extra capacity in case they need it, and a lot probably will.

Orange City and Bathurst Regional councils provide all their residents with a 240 litre threebin service; why not Dubbo? Steve Hodder

Dubbo

The NAPLAN and the Times Table

A report obtained by ABC News has revealed that there has been no improvement in maths and reading among students in a decade in the NAPLAN assessment. The report also mentions that children from poor families, regional and rural areas, and those with learning difficulties, are struggling the most in their quest to improve literacy and numeracy.

Since 2016, I had the opportunity to tutor maths to several students in primary and high school in Dubbo. Besides helping them to prepare for the numeracy section of the NAPLAN assessment, I also helped them to prepare for their maths assignments and exams in school.

While tutoring these kids, I realised that many of them – even the ones in high school – did not have the times table properly memorised. The kids who had the times table properly memorised were doing much better than those who did not.

When I asked the kids who did not have the times table properly memorised to memorise it, some of them told me that they were not required by their school to do that. I was quite surprised to hear this!

I did my tertiary education in Civil Engineering from USA, I went to high school at an American International School in Thailand and I went to primary school in Bangladesh. While studying in these three different countries, I realised that in all these three countries, students had to memorise the times table while they are in primary school.

This is because other than addition and subtraction problems, most math problems that are taught in school are directly based on the times table. For example, problems involving multiplying or dividing whole numbers, fractions and decimals, problems involving finding ratios, problems involving finding the per centage of certain numbers, problems involving converting units, problems involving unitary methods, problems involving algebra, problems involving financial maths, problems involving BODMAS etc. are all directly based on the times table.

Therefore, the times table is basically the fundamental of mathematics.

Whether the NAPLAN is a good way to find out how a child is doing may be debatable. Whether the NAPLAN should change its focus also may be debatable, but it is not at all debatable that to do better in the numeracy section of the NAPLAN assessment or to do better in mathematics in general, it is essential that schools and also parents emphasise the importance of memorising the times table to their kids.

As an engineer and as a maths tutor, I can confidently say that a student can significantly improve their maths skills just by memorising the times table because this will enable them to understand the relationship among different numbers which is essential in mathematics.

There is still about a month and a half left before this year’s NAPLAN, and so there is still time for students to act – you still have enough time to memorise those tables!

To the parents, if you have not already done so, please buy a times table or print out a large copy of it and post it in front of your kid’s study table as this makes it easier for them to memorise it.

Good luck to all the NAPLAN takers this year!

Ridwan Quaium,

Dubbo