Formal and informal methods

What do we mean by formal or informal methods?

Written methods and techniques used for carrying out arithmetic operations tor tasks fall into two types;  formal and informal.   Formal techniques are those ‘efficient’ methods many of us remember from our time at school,  such as using column method.  However, alongside the formal methods, there exist other techniques capable of carrying out the same tasks.  These informal methods are often introduced to pupils first.  It allows them to use skills that they are already beginning to understand and use, such as counting and ‘times tables’.  Although a student may choose to replace these informal approaches it is not a necessity for them to do so.


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