Statement of support from Professor Victor Flynn

“I am very happy to support Audrey Tan’s campaign to ‘Bring back column addition to New Zealand’s early primary maths curriculum’.

There are several virtues of column addition as the main introduction to addition.

First, it provides a clear and well organised method, for which the same set of steps will apply to any addition problem; this builds confidence and makes any mistakes easy to locate and correct.

Second, the placement of digits (lined up in columns) visually assists initial understanding of the meaning of decimal numbers.

Third, it reinforces one of the most important ideas of mathematics: that you should write down your working to show how you obtain your answer.

Several other interesting and innovative strategies have been introduced recently, which help to develop numerical intuition. Some of these are highly valuable when provided as later embellishments, but they should not replace column addition as the main introduction.”

Professor Victor Flynn
April 2013


Victor Flynn is a New Zealander and a Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, UK. He specialises in Number Theory.


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