by Steve Wells
One evening our 10-year old son Josh told us over dinner that his teacher was threatening to send him down to the lower math class due to his continuing poor performance in mental math tests (You remember those tests you did at the start of math class where the teacher called out math problems and you had to solve them in your head and put down the answers). Josh had received just 4 out of 10 on the test that day and had been told that unless he received 7 out of 10 on the next day’s mental math test he would be sent down to the lower class. He was very concerned about this because the teacher told him that “all the other class do is worksheets all day”.
We were concerned about the teacher’s approach however we decided to assist Josh as much as we could. Since the mental math questions were mainly based on multiplication tables we decided to see if we could practice those tables with Josh in preparation for the next day’s test. The tables Josh didn’t know were 6x 7x 8x and 9x.
My wife taught Josh a simple process for remembering 9x tables and he seemed to pick this up fairly well. However, he still had all those other tables to learn and the test was the next day. Fortunately for him the teacher was away sick the next day and he had a reprieve! The next night I sat down with Josh to teach him the other tables.
As soon as I sat down with Josh and started to ask him about his tables I saw him do a big sigh and go into a low energy state. In this state he wasn’t able to recall any of the tables we were working on and it was clear that this negative state was affecting his performance at school. As I saw him sigh again I said “this is the real problem – that bad feeling you are having” and asked him if he would like to try tapping on it to see if he could feel better about doing his tables. He’s very receptive to EFT now since I have used it with him since he was 3 years old so he readily agreed.
As I tapped on the points for him I was simultaneously talking with him about his math and about what he was feeling. He said he was worried about going down to the lower class, so we did some tapping on that (Mostly we were doing continual tapping as we talked about things rather than formal set-ups, although each time he came up with another aspect we did an initial set up on that aspect). He then went on to tell me that he had felt bad about the teacher yelling at him and we did some more tapping on the hurt and scared feelings about that. During the time we were tapping he also remembered some other times that the teacher had yelled at him and we did some tapping for the feelings caused by those incidents. All in all we did about 15-20 minutes of tapping on specific aspects, then we did some continual tapping as we practiced the 6x tables. I was surprised that Josh learnt his 6x tables completely in a matter of minutes!
The next day Josh’s teacher was still away, however the relief teacher did a mental math test with the class. Josh came home to announce proudly that he had achieved 45 out of 50 and told us that he’d been surprised to find that the entire test seemed like it was almost completely based on the 6x tables! I began to think that the universe was on our side as I congratulated him for his success.
That night we did another session of teaching him the 7x and 8x tables. Again, we did continual tapping on the points while we went through the tables, while I encouraged him to recite and visualise the tables in his head, and while I tested him. And again I was completely amazed that he was able to learn the whole lot in a time period of about 20 minutes! This more than any other experience taught me that when we are emotionally open and ready to learn we are capable of learning incredibly quickly.
Again the teacher was away so we were fortunate to have another night to practice tables with Josh, although now all we were doing was testing him – He no longer needed to program the tables into his mind, just to recall them with fluency.
The next day Josh came home to announce that the teacher was at school and he had achieved 10 out of 10 on the mental math test! Although he knew he was still under threat if he didn’t continue to perform his new-found confidence was clearly evident. The next day Josh achieved 8 out of 10 on the test and cemented his place in the class.
A few days later my wife was dropping Josh off at school and the teacher happened to mention how pleased and surprised he was about Josh’s instant turn-around. During the course of the conversation he mentioned the “threat” and apologised for it, telling her that he had made it out of frustration and hadn’t realised what a strong effect it might have on Josh. Later she and I both met with the teacher and shared with him that having experienced our own frustrations with Josh at times we could afford to be forgiving on this point. He was relieved, as his intentions had been positive and he’d really just wanted to motivate Josh to improve.
In our meeting and in his discussion with my wife, he pointed out that Josh was not only performing better but that his entire attitude and demeanour in the classroom had changed. This change had also spread into other areas of schoolwork and his general preparedness and personal organisation had improved also.
Josh has continued to improve and just a couple of months later he received an honour certificate at the school assembly for “Instant and significant improvement in mental math work.” His school report at the end of the year also praised his “dramatic improvement in math performance throughout the year”. The best thing of all however is that he no longer sighs when thinking or talking about mental math – in fact he beams whenever he talks about it!
At the end of the year my wife and I were reflecting on the year we’d had. We asked Josh what had been the highlights of his year. Apart from our big family holiday in the USA do you know what was the next thing he mentioned? “Finally learning my tables!”