Last to last year, I conducted a survey of III grade students from various schools. Questions such as ‘How many of you like Math?’ led to lot of noise and resulting in only a handful of children nodding their head. The following question – ‘What makes you uncomfortable regarding ‘Math’ resulted in various answers in broken sentences. From which, I learnt that the culprit was not ‘Math’ but ‘Math Anxiety’.
This survey eventually led to the birth of ‘Alter Math’ – our specialized Vedic Math course to help young minds overcome math anxiety. I introduced Alter Math at Montfort School, Yercaud and Mount Park, Durgham. I am thrilled to share an observation which made me realize there is more to this world than just competition to go higher.
“On a regular inspection cycle, I check the progress of the batch in terms of curriculum covered and clarity of the course delivered. As soon as I wrote a digit sum question. A young and energetic gentleman named Wazim, sitting at the last row, stood up. I expected him to answer but what Wazim told me left me in awe. Pointing to a boy in the third row, He said “Madam – This boy does not do his home-work, ask him to solve this question”.
A classroom is like a room of mirrors – this student’s mindset reflected that of others. I haven’t seen co-operative learning in schools for a very long time. Every child in class wanted Yogeshwaran, who was picked out by Wazim, to learn how to solve the problem. Along with the class, I taught the child in understanding the concept. Later, I decided to teach these kids multiplication of values above and below base – one of the techniques that gives Vedic Math the ‘mystique’ essence. After working out a couple of problems, I felt I needed to explain more.
The class interrupted me as soon as I wrote another problem. One of the children spoke for the entire class. He said ‘Madam, you don’t solve – We will solve in note book’. That was it – the right attitude – taking ownership. Taking ownership made all the difference. Not only did these children look out for each other, but also started taking ownership. Teacher Jeya sheba, The Vedic Math teacher, said these kids have started to show a keen interest in Vedic Math as it seemed more of an activity session than other subjects”
Teaching is quite like Newton’s third law. The more I push the kids, the more I realize that it is they who are pushing me. Teaching has taught me in the face of failure, to get up and do things differently until I succeed and see that one bright confident smile on a child’s face when he finally understands a concept or solves a problem! ALTER MATH has helped me in the restoration of my faith that every child is special.
Galileo stated ‘The Universe is a grand book which cannot be read until one first learns to comprehend the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is composed. It is written in the language of mathematics.’ I insist in all my trainings and programs that ‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled. It is a fire to be kindled‘.