I learnt my seven times table at school. I mean I really learnt it. I practiced at home and repeated it, forwards and backwards, until the questions and answers seemed to appear in my head at the same time. I didn’t do this for any other times table. For some reason, I was possessed with a sudden and passing desire to learn this.

Years later, I  find myself working as an educational developer in UK higher education and studying as a doctoral student at the Institute of Education.I’m still thinking about my seven times table. Is learning that sequence of numbers the same as learning how to ride a bike, or how to calculate the area of a circle, or how to diagnose a sick dog? In essence, what is happening in my brain when I learn something? And is it the same for everybody else?

This blog is there to help me reflect on the answers to these, and other, questions.

Chris Mitchell


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