Ever experience this in the classroom working with elementary/middle school students, particularly with LLD students? I believe to some degree most of us have some language processing issues, often connected to auditory processing issues and complicated by attentional deficits.
I recently observed this with a few students and my thought was that there is a developmental stage which precedes this question. Next time you're teaching division and you encounter this you might want to step back and assess the child's understanding of
NUMBER OF GROUPS vs
NUMBER IN EACH GROUP
A misunderstanding here could be a barrier to conceptual development of multiplication and division.
One strategy is to show the child 4 groups of 3 counters either with objects (preferably) or on paper. Keep the groups separated. On paper one could simply loop them. Physically, you could put the counters in separate containers or put some kind of ring around them.
"So, how many groups do you see?
How many in each group?"
Most should get this but, if not, you know there's a language barrier which must be addressed.
Now what? Ready for division questions? Not quite...
Have them now CONSTRUCT groups physically, then on paper.
For example have them "make" 3 groups of 4 from the original setup.
Some youngsters need considerable practice and reinforcement.
What do you think? Have you had similar experiences? Found another way to cope? A different theory about the underlying problem? Remember I'm just sharing my observations and conclusions. They're just mine...