For some children, Maths is a subject they’d rather skip and it becomes an uphill task for teachers and parents to get them interested in the subject. The result: some students develop a life-long phobia of numbers and solving maths becomes a mechanical exercise to score marks.
To change this approach towards the subject, schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) are observing Maths Week from December 16 to 22. This first-time initiative is dedicated to mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, whose birth anniversary is on December 22. Right from changing the terminologies to meeting scientists, the schools are trying innovative ways to make maths more interesting for the children.
At Gundecha Education Academy in Kandivli, the terminology in math books has been replaced with kinder terms. Instead of problems the maths sums referred to as ‘word stories’. “We have published our own books for students from Class 1 to 6 to encourage them to look at maths in a positive way,” said Seema Buch, principal of the school.
Academicians said the phobia for maths stems from the misconception that it is an extremely tough subject. This negative attitude stops children from focusing on the subject and clouds their mind with fear for it, said teachers.
Some academicians blame parents and schools for allowing to use calculators. “The students are so dependent on calculators on computers or phones that they are unable to do basic calculations,” said Sitalakshmi Parameswaran, principal of Jai Bharat School, Dombivli. “Students are not encouraged to remember tables anymore. Some can’t don’t know tables over 10,” she added.
To dispel the fear of numbers, Birla School, Kalyan, has started focusing on practical aids to help students visualise mathematical concepts. “Teaching maths becomes difficult as the concepts are abstract,” said Ranjna Jangra, principal of the school. “So we train our teachers to teach math by helping children visualise the concepts by using aids,” she added.
Parents, meanwhile, have welcomed the initiative. “I suffer from a phobia of maths but I do not want my children to develop it,” said Bindu Corriea, a parent from Bandra. “I am happy that schools are taking the initiative. I encourage my children to not rely on calculators. They know mental maths and have learnt to use abacus.”