In an age of increased accountability, standards, and testing, some teachers have felt pressure to resort to skill and drill pedagogy. It’s a default mode of teaching, I have seen, especially in new teachers who feel forced by the current climate to explicitly align everything they do to standards. Believe it or not a textbook for math teachers from over a century ago warns new teachers to avoid drills. In A Textbook on Teaching Arithmetic, Alva Walker Stamper writes:
The general tendency in this country [UK] is to refrain from any drill work in the first year. In fact, some schools defer such work until the middle of the second year or the beginning of the third. The first half of the first year should require only sense training, counting, and reading and writing numbers demanded by the reading lessons.
Want to read more? Go for it! Here’s the book in its entirety.