I Taught Chisanbop

Do you know what Chisanbop is?  It’s a Korean method of learning to do math computation on your fingers. It was used in North American schools in the 1970s and 80s. I took a course in the method and used it with my students in Steinbach for quite a number of years. Chisanbop attracted some media attention. My Elmdale School students and I were featured in an article about Chisanbop in our local Steinbach newspaper The Carillon. This photo accompanied the article. 

My students and I doing Chisanbop at Elmdale School

There was a story about Chisanbop in Macleans magazine where they interviewed my aunt Margaret Froese who along with her husband Dave taught the method to many teachers including me here in Manitoba. There was even a segment featuring Chisanbop on the Johnny Carson show and actor Fred McMurray of My Three Sons fame did advertisements for the Chisanbop system on television.

The system assigns a one, five or tens value to different fingers and children learn to do all the mathematical operations by manipulating their fingers quickly. The Chisanbop method was somewhat controversial because critics said it would prevent children from memorizing mathematical facts but as I searched for current articles about why counting on their fingers is bad for children learning math I couldn’t find a single one. Most educational researchers like Stanford professor Jo Baylor think learning to count on their fingers is actually critical to helping kids understand math.

I know after a time I stopped using Chisanbop in my classroom. I am not sure why. I would be interested in hearing from other teachers who may have used the method or students who remember being taught Chisanbop.

Other posts……….

Amazing Kids

A Different School Year

My Dad Was Once A Teacher


Filed under Education

4 responses to “I Taught Chisanbop

  1. I did a double-take when I saw this post. I learned Chisanbop back in the 1970’s, but over the years I more or less forgot about it. Until yesterday. I was reading about Asian healing methods and that’s when I began thinking again about Chisanbop and how much I enjoyed using it. So it was delightful to see your post this morning as I scrolled through my Reader. By the way, I was not a “student” in a classroom when I learned. I taught myself after reading about Chisanbop.


  2. Pingback: Hopeful Families in South Korea | What Next?

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