Subtract the scare and add to the thrill. A brand new mathematics mantra is sweeping schools, to make figures fun.
A group of maths teachers of various schools in the city have got together to launch a series of programmes, ‘Love your maths’, scheduled to begin on May 20, to help children overcome the phobia. By demonstrating how mathematics is related to our everyday lives in some way or the other, the teachers intend to develop a keen interest among children studying the subject.
“Our aim is to ensure that children discover the charms of mathematics after attending our programmes,” said Arundhati Mukherjee, who teaches maths at Gokhale Memorial Girls School and is one of the main organisers of the programme.
According to the teachers, it will be a continuous process. Initially, the programmes will include workshops and interactive sessions with guardians and children. To begin with, the camp will be held on three days this month. Then, there will be two sessions next month, each for three days.
The organisers plan to invite children of the age group nine to 12. “We want to catch the students young. We have decided to keep children of the higher classes out of the programme because their only concern is to score high marks in the exam. And that is not the objective of our programme,” said Bibhas Guha, a teacher of Taki Government School.
What sets the programmes apart is that the participants will not be taught formulae. “Instead,” said a mathematics teacher of Calcutta Boys’ School, “we will just point out to the children some basic examples of how maths is related to our lives. For instance, the chair they sit on is of a geometrical shape, as is the blackboard in class.”
The organisers feel that maths is often regarded as the “biggest bugbear” of children because of the “improper” method of teaching in schools.
They say that in most schools, important portions of the syllabi are often skipped because of insufficient time. So, students struggle to pick up the subsequent stages of the syllabus in the higher classes.
“Our children must realise at least a little bit of knowledge in the subject is needed all the time. Can we live a single day without making calculations' And this is what we will tell the children who attend our programme,” explained Amal Bhowmik, a teacher of South Point School.
The organisers say that students from all categories — irrespective of the schools they study in, the medium of instruction and the Board to which their institutions are affiliated — are welcome to join the programme.
Some schools have already woken up to the magic of maths. If Birla High School has created a maths lab, computers and all, to make learning fun, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy has introduced Vedic Maths, empowering students with a set formula to crack the most complicated of calculations.
“Students have responded overwhelmingly to the experiment,” said Anjali Razdaan, principal, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy.