At the beginning of this new school year I have the honour of teaching Grade one and two math. In preparing to teach I was struck with the importance of precise language. Research has shown American/Canadian students have a weaker understanding of place value than Chinese/Japanese students due to our differences in language. In Eastern culture, when a child can count to nine, with a few minor variations he can count to one hundred. Not so in English, with such numbers as ten, eleven, twelve and the rest of the teens we have number names that do not easily reflect place value and thus make learning this concept more difficult. Fortunately our Math Program addresses these deficiencies by renaming some numbers for the sake of understanding and consistency.
Precise language is important in everyday life. By using the Bibles language to describe sin, God speaks to the heart and mind convicting us of our need of Christ’s atonement. By naming the sin of selfishness or pride instead of the less precise language of “That was not nice.” or, “Jonny made a mistake.” We better address the heart. It is the correctly oriented heart that God requires, not simply outward rule following. Precise language is needful to learn place value and the value of the Gospel.