Drill and kill? Drill and skill! Drill and thrill!

If you talk to exacting visual artists, if you talk to accomplished athletes, if you talk to professional musicians, if you talk to any executive responsible for selling products through advertising, or if you talk to anyone who has mastered any skill, you won’t hear the slogan:  “drill and kill.”  I only hear that blasphemy uttered by math teachers or, even worse, by teachers of math teachers, and I hear it in the context of memorizing the multiplication facts. Why is that?  Good question. Quick answer: memorizing important facts isn’t entertaining.  When it comes to basics,  like the single digit multiplication facts, where mastery is required in order proceed to the next level of competence, brute force learning is appropriate.  Consider it a form of tough love.

How can you divide if you can’t multiply? How factor? How find common denominators or common factors? Algebra is very painful for those students who don’t know the facts. They are doomed to rely on technology.

So for “drill and kill” I propose:

And besides, the difficulty of the task is overrated.  Check this out.