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THE EFFECT OF FINGER METHOD IN IMPROVING

YEAR THREE PUPILS MULTIPLICATION SKILLS


ABSTRAK
Kajian tindakan ini dijalankan untuk menilai keberkesanan Finger
Multiplication Method dalam menyelesaikan masalah murid lemah dalam teknik
pendaraban. Responden dalam kajian ini terdiri daripada 8 orang murid dari Tahun
3 yang memperoleh markah yang rendah bagi mata pelajaran Matematik dalam
penilaian berkaitan topik pendaraban yang lalu. !ata dikumpulkan melalui ujian pra
dan ujian pasca. asil analisis data mendapati baha"a seramai # orang responden
menunjukkan peningkatan markah yang ketara dalam ujian pasca berbanding ujian
pra. Keputusan kajian menunjukkan baha"a Finger Multiplication Method berkesan
dalam membantu murid lemah menguasai $akta asas darab dalam Matematik.
Kata kunci% &endaraban dengan jari tangan' penyelesaian soalan pendaraban'
matematik' keberkesanan' peningkatan minat dalam matematik.
ABSTRACT
The purpose o$ the study "as to determine the e(tent to "hich $inger
multiplication method could be e$$ecti)e in impro)ing pupils* multiplication skills.
The respondents consisted o$ 8 pupils $rom 3 class "ho obtained the lo"est
marks $or Mathematics in the pre)ious topic multiplication skills e(amination. The
data $or this study "as collected using pre+ and post tests. The results sho"ed that #
pupils achie)ed signi$icantly higher marks in the post+test as compared to the pre+
test. The results o$ the study sho"ed that the $inger multiplication method "as
e$$ecti)e to a large e(tent in impro)ing the pupils* multiplication skills.
Key"ords% Finger multiplication method' sol)ing multiplication ,uestion'
mathematics' e$$ecti)e' increase o$ interest in mathematics.
INTRODUCTION
-n primary school classrooms' the pupils* poor $oundation in basic skills
especially skills related to the $our arithmetic operations has continually been ,uoted as
the main reason $or their poor per$ormances in mathematics. There$ore most o$ the
teachers use the traditional chalk and talk style o$ teaching. .t such' e(ploring and
$inding e$$ecti)e "ays to help these pupils to master the basic $acts o$ the arithmetic
operations has remained as the main $ocus o$ many primary mathematics teachers.
!ue to &iaget*s theory o$ intellectual de)elopment in$luence' the use o$ concrete
manipulati)e has stayed as one major approach in this e(ploration. Finger
multiplication method is a strategy that uses psychomotor mo)ement to represent
and per$orm multiplication. /ince $ingers are probably the most easily a)ailable
manipulati)e in any classroom' it is no surprise that a lot o$ primary children are
taught to use their $ingers to per$orm multiplication operations. o"e)er' the
e$$ecti)eness o$ this strategy depends )ery much on the "ay it is used. This action
research had been carried out at /0K1 2ok 3ng' &arit Keroma. /0K1 in rural areas
comprises o$ pupils $rom )arious backgrounds. There "ere 456 Malay78umiputera
pupils and 856 1hinese pupils in this school. !uring my teaching in the class' - $ound
that the multiplication skills o$ my pupils "ere ,uite "eak. - $ound out that they
"ere unable to memori9e the multiplication tables "ell. This "as the main reason
"hy they "ere "eak "hen ans"ering the multiplication ,uestions. - had tried to
ask them to recite the multiplication tables be$ore - started my mathematics lesson.
o"e)er' - $ound that it "as not an e$$ecti)e "ay to help them to impro)e their
multiplication skills. - $ound that the methods interesting as the methods "ere ne" to me.
This research "as carried out on my pupils to help them impro)e their
multiplication skills by using the Finger Multiplication Method . The purpose o$ this
action research study "as to see "hether the $inger method could impro)e pupils*
multiplication skills e$$ecti)ely.
LITERATURE REVIEW
!uring my teaching' - $ound out that the multiplication skills o$ my pupils
"ere ,uite "eak. - $ound out that they "ere unable to memori9e the multiplication tables
"ell. This "as the main reason "hy they "ere "eak "hen ans"ering the
multiplication ,uestions. - had tried to ask them to recite the multiplication tables
be$ore - started my mathematics lesson. The traditional "ay o$ teaching mathematics
$acts such as asking the pupils to recite the time table $ollo"ed by pro)iding a lot
o$ e(ercises $or pupils to practice do not really help them in understanding the
multiplication $acts. The old "ay o$ teaching multiplication made the pupils $eel
that they are $orced to learn' thus they do not impro)e their ability in applying the
multiplication $acts and concepts. - belie)e that pupils should ac,uire the
understanding about multiplication by using the learning atmosphere "here they can
enjoy' e(press "hat they learned in creati)e "ays and do not $eel stress$ul to remember
the $acts. For my action research' 8 pupils o$ 2ear 3 pupils at /0K1 2ok 3ng'
&arit Keroma "ere e(periencing the problem in mastering the multiplication concept
and skills. There "as a strong need to impro)e pupils* multiplication skills. The
goal o$ this action research "as to impro)e the multiplication skills $or year 3
pupils by using Finger Multiplication Method . This method can raise the pupils*
interest in learning mathematics. -n order to make sure that this $ocus is suitable $or
the pupils in my class' - had done an initial sur)ey to identi$y the pupils* multiplication
skills and background so that - could cater to the needs o$ each pupil.
MATERIAL AND METHODOLOGY
Action research can be defned simply as the process of
improving practice through self refective enquiry (Carr & Kemmis, 1!"#$
%t is also the &systematic collection of information that is designed to bring
about social change' ((ogdan & (i)len, 1*#$ (ro+n (1,# and -obinson
(11# suggest that any action underta)en by teachers to collect data and
evaluate their o+n teaching can be termed action research$ According to
.oley (*//!#, multiplication time tables ta)e time to learn and before paper
and pen +ere common, a fnger based system +as developed to aid
rapid calculation$ 0he usual approach to teaching tables is by rote learning
but unfortunately, there is al+ays a proportion of pupils +ho struggle to
commit them to memory$ 0hose +ho failed created disadvantage for the rest
of their school mathematics life (1ardner, 1!2#$ A simple and original
system +as developed +hich allo+s pupils to calculate results of
multiplications using fngers$ Although it applicable for tables 1 to , it turns
out that it is easiest to use on the ", 3, ! and times tables, the ones
that pupils traditionally have the greatest problem +ith$ .or this action
research, % taught my pupils fnger multiplication method or fnger
method in multiplication to solve the multiplication questions$ 0his
method is a very simple method and can be done easily$ (y using fnger
method in multiplication, the ", 3, !, and 1/ times tables can be
calculated +ith the aid of fngers$ 4lace your hands on the table and
spread your fngers$ 5ach fnger has a numerical value from " to 1/6 0he
thumb 7 ", the inde8 fnger 7 3, the middle fnger 7 !, the ring fnger 7
and the little fnger 7 1/ (9argo, */1/#$ :et;s presume +e +ish to
calculate the e8ercise 3 8 !$ <e +ill count on one hand until 3,
beginning +ith the thumb +hich represents the number ", and +e +ill fold
the t+o fngers do+n$ <e +ill count on the other hand until !, beginning +ith
the thumb +hich represents the number ", and +e +ill fold the three fngers
do+n$ <e are left +ith fve folded fngers on t+o hands (they represent
= in the tens column#, and the fve unfolded fngers, t+o and one
hand and three on the other$ <e +ill multiply the unfolded fngers > 2 8
* and +e +ill get the number " +hich +ill represent the units column, and
so the ans+er is ="$ 0he advantage of using fnger method to solve
the multiplication question is that the pupils can easily calculate the "
to 1/ time tables +ith their hands$ 0hey could actually get the right ans+er
+ith their fngers$ %n this action research, % administered a pre>test to my
pupils before % use the fnger method strategy in teaching and learning
multiplication s)ills in class$ 0his pre>test +as used to identify the pupils +ho
face di?culties in mastering multiplication s)ills$ (esides that, this pre>
test +as also used to compare the result of the post>test in order to )no+
ho+ e@ective fnger multiplication method strategy in helping the pupils
to improve their multiplication s)ills$ After % have taught my pupils all the
fnger multiplication method of multiplication 0ime 0able from * until , %
gave them a post> test as the fnal evaluation on all the fnger
multiplication methods they had learned$ 0he post>test +as given to 1=
participants at the end of the research to test their mastery of basic
multiplication facts after being taught fnger multiplication method in
class$ (esides, the post>test result +as used to compare +ith the pre>test
result to )no+ the e@ectiveness of the fnger method in helping the pupils
master the multiplication s)ills$ % also gave them the questionnaire related
to their interest in learning 9athematics$ Apart from that, % taught my
pupils fnger multiplication method to solve the multiplication questions$
950ABCB:B1D
0arget 4articipants
0he participants of this study consisted of 1= pupils from , 9 class at
EK EF, Kuching$ 0here +ere 3 boys and ! girls in this class$ 0hey +ere
all 1/ years old$ 0heir academic achievement +as belo+ average$ A pre>
test on multiplication facts +as used to identify the mastery level of the
pupils in this study$ 0he pre>test has a total of ,= questions$ % designed the
test based on the 0ime 0able 1 until 0ime 0able $ 0here are fve
questions for each 0ime 0able$ (esides, the test can also help in
identifying the 0ime 0able that the pupils are not familiar +ith$
9ethod
.or the frst research question, % had used pre>test and post>test to collect the
pupilsG test scores$ % administered a pre>test to my pupils before % used the
fnger multiplication method strategy in teaching and learning
multiplication s)ills in class$ 0his pre>test consists of ,= basic
multiplication questions, ranging from multiplication 0able 1 until +ith
fve questions for each multiplication table$ As for the second research
question, % administered a questionnaire to measure pupilsG interest in
learning mathematics$ 0he interest questionnaire that % gave to my
pupils consists of eight items$ % had given the interest questionnaire to
my pupils before and after % taught them using the fnger method in
the classroom$ .or the third research question, % collected data on my
teaching practice based on the rating score by my mentor$ % had as)ed
my mentor to observe me in the classroom +hile % +as teaching$


-5EH:0E AIC .%IC%I1E

.igure 1$ 4upilsG pre>test and post>test$
.rom the graph, it +as clearly sho+n that the pupils had
improved in the post>test especially for multiplication 0ime 0able
,, =, ", 3, ! and $ Ao+ever, there +as a slight decreased in the
score for multiplication 0ime 0able 1 until 2 in the post>test$ .or
multiplication 0ime 0able 1, the pupilsG score slightly decreased
from 1//J to !$3J$ As for the multiplication 0ime 0able *, the
pupilsG score also slightly decreased from 3$2J to 2$2J$ .or
multiplication 0ime 0able 2, the pupilsG score slightly decreased
from ,$3J to !$2$ 0here +as improvement in the score for
multiplication 0ime 0able , (from 3*J to 3"J#$ As for
multiplication 0ime 0able =, the pupilsG score had also increased
largely from ""$3J to !!J during the post>test$ .or multiplication
0ime 0able ", the score also increased slightly from =,$3J to
"!J$ As for multiplication 0ime 0able 3, the pupilsG score had
increased from ,/J to =/$3J$ 0here +as large improvement in
the score of multiplication 0ime 0able ! +hich +as from 1"J to
1//
3$2
,$3
3*
""$3
=,$3
,/
1"
12$2
!$3
2$2
!$2
3"
!!
"!
=/$3
=*
,$2
/
1/
*/
2/
,/
=/
"/
3/
!/
/
1//
4re>0est
4ost>0est
4ercentage (J#
4re >0est and 4ost >0est Bn9ultiplication
0ime>0able
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=*J$ 0he percentage increased by 2"J and it +as a great
improvement for this multiplication time table$ :ast but not least,
multiplication 0ime 0able also sho+ed large improvement in
the score +hich increased from 12$2J to ,$2J$ All the score for
multiplication time table increased e8cept for multiplication 0ime
0able 1, * and 2$ As % +as more focus on improving the pupilsG
multiplication s)ills for 0ime 0able " until using fnger method,
the results still sho+ed improvement for the larger number time
table$

.igure *$ Analysis of 4upilsG interest in 9athematics (4re and 4ost#$
0he graph sho+s the result of pupilsG interest in learning
mathematics for pre and post implementation of fnger
multiplication method$ %t +as very clear that the mean score had
increased after the implementation of the fnger method in
multiplication$ .or item 1, the mean has increased from *$,/ to
2$!/$ .or item *, the mean has increased from *$2 to 2$32$ .or
item 2, the mean has increased from *$!" to ,$*/$ .or item ,, the
mean has increased from *$,/ to 2$32$ .or item =, the mean has
*$,
*$2
*$!"
*$,
*$,"
*$*
*$,"
*$*"
2$! 2$32
,$*
2$32
2$12
2$*"
2$=2 2$=2
/
/$=
1
1$=
*
*$=
2
2$=
,
,$=
4re
4ost
9ean
Analysis of 4upils;interest in :earning 9athematics (4re and 4ost #
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increased from *$," to 2$12$ .or item ", the mean has increased
from *$*/ to 2$*"$ .or item 3, the mean has increased from *$,"
to 2$=2$ .or item !, the mean has increased from *$*" to 2$=2$
.rom .igure *, % could see that the mean for all the items has
increased$ 0his sho+ed that the fnger method +as e@ective in
increasing the interest of the pupils in learning mathematics$

.igure 26 9entorGs rating on , teaching practice Bbservation$
0he graph sho+s that there +ere four observations done by my
mentor during the teaching practice at the school$ .or the frst
observation, the rating score % obtained +as *! out of ,/$ As for
the second observation, the rating score +as 21 out of ,/$ .or
the third observation, the rating score +as 2, out of ,/$ Curing
the last observation, my mentor gave me the rating score of 2=
out of ,/$ .rom the .igure, it +as very clear that the rating score
for my teaching practice observation has increased from the frst
observation until the forth observation$ 0he rating score for the
last observation +as the highest$ % can conclude that the fnger
*!
21
2,
2=
/
=
1/
1=
*/
*=
2/
2=
,/
1st observation *nd observation 2rd observation ,th observation
9entor;s -ating on , 0eaching4ractice
Bbservations
-atingEcore
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method had brought positive implication and e@ect to my
teaching practice performance$
-efection of .indings
.or the frst research question on evaluating the pupilsG
performance on multiplication question, % had collected the data
and analyLed the result +hich had sho+n improvement in almost
all the multiplication time table e8cept 0ime 0able 1, * and 2$
0here +as only a slight decrease on the multiplication time>table
of 1, * and 2$ 0his +as because some of the pupils +ere ma)ing
careless mista)e on the easy question$ Ao+ever, the
percentages of correct ans+er for these three multiplication time
table +ere still very high +ith !/J and above compared to the
rest of the multiplication time table$ 0he pupils sho+ed good
improvement for multiplication 0ime 0able ,, =, ", 3, ! and $
0he main reason +as because they could understand the basic
of multiplication after they learnt about the fnger method$ 0hey
can understand better the theory of multiplication by using fnger
method$ (esides, fnger method of multiplication 0ime 0able is
very easy to practice and applied compared to other
multiplication time table$ 4upils could see clearly ho+ they can
get the ans+er for multiplication 0ime 0able using fnger
method +ith ease$
.or the second research question, % had used the pre and post
interest questionnaire to collect the data on pupilsG interest in
learning mathematics$ % had analyLed the result +hich sho+n
increasing of the mean score in the post interest questionnaire$
0his also means the increasing of pupilsG interest in learning
mathematics after the implementation of fnger method in
multiplication$ .rom .igure *, all pupils had sho+n their
increased of interest in leaning mathematics$ (efore % taught my
pupils the fnger method in multiplication, they e8perienced
di?culty in ans+ering and completing the multiplication
questions$ 0his +as because they could not memoriLe and recite
the multiplication time table$ <hen they could not memoriLe and
recite the multiplication time table, they Must could not solve any
multiplication question on their o+n$ 0his had caused them to
lose interest in learning multiplication and mathematics in
(u)u Kole)si Arti)el 4enyelidi)an 0inda)an
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general$ %t could be seen in the responses in the pre interest
questionnaire +hich +as given to them before the
implementation of the fnger method in multiplication$ 9ost of
them chose to agree that they did not li)e mathematics and it
+as not easy for them$ After % had implemented the fnger
method in the classroom, the pupilsG attitude had changed and
this can be sho+n in the responses in the post interest
questionnaire$ 9ost of them are no+ agreed that they started to
li)e mathematics and mathematics is fun to learn$ 0hey found
that by using fnger method, they can ans+er and solve the
multiplication question easily$ (esides, the pupils also found that
multiplication +as not that di?cult because they can apply fnger
method +hen ans+ering the multiplication questions$ 0hey
actually could get the ans+er from their o+n fngers$ 9oreover,
they are no+ more confdent +hen solving the multiplication
question$
:ast but not least, for the third research question, % had as)ed my
mentor to observe me using the rating scale based on my
teaching practice$ % had implemented the fnger method in the
classroom during my teaching practice$ 9y mentor had observed
me four times and % had collected the data and analyLed the
result$ 0he rating score given by my mentor had sho+n that my
teaching practice has improved consistently$ % also become
confdent +hile teaching mathematics in the classroom as the
fnger method in multiplication really helped me to teach my
pupils to understand the topic of multiplication$ (y using this
fnger method, my pupils only have to memoriLe the smaller
number multiplication time>table and use them in the fnger
method to fnd the correct ans+er for the multiplication question$
% also found out that the pupils +ere very interested to learn this
fnger method as it helped them to engage in the learning
process$ 0hey actually used their o+n hand and fngers to fnd
the ans+er to the multiplication question$ 0hey felt satisfed +hen
they +ere able to ans+er the multiplication question correctly
using fnger method$ 0hus, it also helped me a lot as % could
carry out my teaching and learning process smoothly and
e@ectively$
(u)u Kole)si Arti)el 4enyelidi)an 0inda)an
Eeminar 4enyelidi)an 0inda)an 0ahun */1/ %41 K(:
(90 4endidi)an -endah#, ms 1*=>12$
123
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-5.:5C0%BI AIC .H0H-5 AC0%BI
-efection
% had implemented this fnger method in the classroom +hile
teaching my pupils about multiplication during the mathematics
lesson$ % found out that this method +as very e@ective as +hat
+e can see from the result and fndings in previous chapter$ 0he
performance of pupils in multiplication s)ills and the interest of
the pupils in learning mathematics has improved and increased
after the implementation of the fnger method in multiplication$
(esides, % myself also beneft from this fnger method, as my
teaching practice has also sho+n improvement and % can say
that this fnger method is very e@ective and e?cient to help my
pupils in their learning of mathematics and myself in improving
my teaching practice$ Apart from this, this method +as practical
enough as it +ould not ta)e much time in implementing it in the
classroom$ .or myself, % only used =>1/ minutes before % start my
lesson to teach my pupils about this fnger method$ %t served as a
good set induction as +ell and can arouse the pupilsG interest to
learn mathematics and multiplication$ 9oreover, this is a free
and very convenient teaching aid as every pupil Must needs to
use their fngers to do the fnger multiplication method$ Apart
from this, the pupils can also engage themselves actively in the
learning process and in the lesson as they +ere actually doing a
hands>on activity by doing the fnger multiplication method$
After carried out this action research in the school, % found out
that this fnger method +as very suitable in a school conte8t$
0his is because, from the e8periences % +ent through during my
practicum, most of the pupils +ere facing problem in memoriLing
the multiplication time>table$ <hen they could not memoriLe and
recite the multiplication time>table, they +ill feel frustrated as
they +ere unable to ans+er the multiplication questions$
Ao+ever, +ith the implementation of fnger method in the school,
% believe the pupils +ill be more interested to learn multiplication
and mathematics in general$ 0his +as because, +hen they have
mastered the fnger method in multiplication, they +ill start to li)e
mathematics and fnd that learning mathematics is fun$
(u)u Kole)si Arti)el 4enyelidi)an 0inda)an
Eeminar 4enyelidi)an 0inda)an 0ahun */1/ %41 K(:
(90 4endidi)an -endah#, ms 1*=>12$
12!
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3 & ! B)tober */1/K %41 K(:


Bn the other hand, they +ill fnd it easy to solve the multiplication
question and have more interest to learn mathematics in the
classroom$ 0hey +ill feel happy and satisfy +hen they are able to
ans+er the multiplication question correctly$ Apart from this, by
practicing this fnger method in the classroom, pupils can learn
universal values as +ell$ 4upils +ill learn ho+ to cooperate and
+or) together +ith their friends in learning this fnger method$
0hey learn ho+ to help each other by guiding each other in
achieving the same goal that is to master this method$ (esides,
this method also helped the pupil to be more confdent in
ans+ering the multiplication problems$ 0his method had helped
them to have a strong foundation +hich is necessary for them to
learn mathematics$ .urthermore, this action research also had
helped me a lot in improving my teaching practice$
.uture Action
After refecting on my action research, % had planned for my
future action +hich is the ne8t cycle for my research$ .or the
ne8t cycle of my action research, % +ould li)e to focus on the
problem solving method in multiplication$ %t +ill help the pupils to
apply the mathematics )no+ledge they learnt in real life
situation$ % +ould li)e to focus on 1eorge 4olyaGs problem solving
method$ 0here are four steps in this problem solving method
+hich are understand the problem, devising the plan, carrying
out the plan and loo)ing bac)+ard$ (y learning about problem
solving, the pupils +ill be able to apply +hat they had learnt in
the classroom in their real life e8periences$ % +ould li)e to do the
research on the problem solving method to help them
understand the concept of multiplication and able to solve the
mathematical problems in their daily living$
-5.5-5IC5E
(ogdan, -$ & (i)len, E$ K$ (1*#$ Nualitative research for
education$ (oston6 Allyn & (acon$
(ro+n, A$ C$ (1,#$ 0eaching by principles6 An interactive
approach to language pedagogy$ 5ngle+ood Cli@s, IF6
4rentice Aall$
(u)u Kole)si Arti)el 4enyelidi)an 0inda)an
Eeminar 4enyelidi)an 0inda)an 0ahun */1/ %41 K(:
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12
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.almer$
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multiplication$ -etrieved on 1* .ebruary */1/, from
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tables>the>+orst>+ay>to>teachmultiplication23*/"/$html
1ardner, A$ (1!2#$ .rames of mind6 0he theory of multiple
intelligences$ Ie+ Dor)6 (asic (oo)s$
Kilpatric), F$ & E+a@ord, F$ (*///#$ Aelping children learn
9athematics$ Center for 5ducation, Civision of (ehavioral
and Eocial Eciences and 5ducation6 Iational -esearch
Council$
9argo, C$ (*/1/#$ :earning strategies to memoriLe multiplication
facts6 Hsing multiplication rhymes to remember O0imesO$
-etrieved on 1, 9arch */1/ from http6KK+++$brighthub$comK
educationKhome+or)tipsKarticlesK2"",*$asp8
-obinson, 4$ (11#$ 5E4 today6 A practitioner;s guide$ Aemel
Aempstead, Aertfordshire6 4rentice Aall$
(u)u Kole)si Arti)el 4enyelidi)an 0inda)an