### 1) Math is a language (and most of us are illiterate)

What we say when we teach math is different than what we write.

Take teaching multiplication, for example. We all know that 4 × 5 = 20. But while we can write out 4 × 5 = 20 in our sleep, how do you explain or write it in plain language?

We might say to students “I have 4 baskets and each basket has 5 apples in it — how many do I have?” But when it comes to representing this problem through writing, we’ve been trained to scribble 4 × 5 = 20 on the board.

Think about that for a second: moving from a plainly worded question to an abstract written equation represents a huge leap of logic and understanding for a lot of kids. We’re saying one thing, and writing another.

That’s why Ban Har stresses the importance writing and reading math with words and language.

So, the above equation might be spoken or written in plain language like this:

There are 4 baskets. Each basket has 5 apples.

4 baskets of 5 apples is the same as 20 apples.

4 groups of 5 is 20.

4 fives is 20

4 × 5 = 20

Math is a language! It benefits students to learn how to speak it.