Complex world of Mathematics

“Multiplication is vexation, division is as bad,

The rule of three doth puzzles me, and practice makes me mad.”

Many children still repeat the above nursery rhyme. It displays a child’s dislike towards the language of numbers. A child’s attitude towards Math becomes known as early as the first or the second standard. Some kids take to Math as a fish takes to water, while, some others manage with a little practice here and there and a third category who literally cry when faced with Math. Each tear they shed shouts ‘I want to give up’.

Any good parent who wishes to help a child master this riddle called Math, can do it, without much hard work. Sensing the student’s apathy towards the subject of Math, many new ways of learning the subject have come up.

But, one question that generally comes to a parent’s mind, when faced with so many choices, is “How can we decide what is best for our child?

Should we take a friend’s opinion? Or should we decide for ourselves? “

When taking a decision, the parent would do well to consider the child’s age and aptitude for numbers. This article will discuss different types of Math Programs currently taught to students to improve their ability to work with numbers. You can decide which method your child needs to learn, based on his interest level. Only an informed parent can take the correct decision.

  • i-Maths

Children as young as 4-5 years may start learning iMaths. In this method pictures, patterns, colors, charts, etc, are used to teach the basic concepts used in learning Math. This system is sure to reduce a child’s fear of learning the subject in his higher classes. It is said that when you learn something in pictures, you recollect it better. Therefore, this is a very effective method of learning the language of numbers.

  • Cue-Math

An Indian brand has come out with this method of learning the language of numbers. This is a revolutionary system of learning Math, which can only be taught by a skilled teacher. It combines the three important domains of Math, namely, “School Math”, “Mental Aptitude” and “Creative Reasoning”. While the first mentioned domain is designed to cover the school syllabus (of all the boards), the second domain develops the student’s ability to solve  verbal, non-verbal and logical problems. Finally, the third domain is quite ambitious in that it is delivered through artistically designed “Puzzle Cards”.

“Creative Reasoning”, provides the student creative freedom and cultivates a mathematical thinking in him. In this method, a teacher gives the student worksheets and tab-based exercises to hone his skills. Teachers teaching this method, proclaim that they tackle the “How and “Why” of learning Math, while teaching.

  • Abacus

This system of calculations was used in China in ancient times. An abacus is a wooden frame with beads. These beads slide along the wires strung on the frame. It is very popular among the young ones who are just starting to perform mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. As the student becomes an expert working on the frame, he is encouraged to use the tool mentally. This method increases a child’s concentration level, improves memory power and quickens his speed of response to a situation.

However, this system only focuses on the four traditional modes of calculations and ignores advanced mathematical concepts like algebra, calculus, trigonometry and geometry. Another glaring drawback of this system is its monotony. A child takes too long to grasp this system first and then go on to mental math. He is likely to get bored by this time.

  • Vedic Math

This system, although unearthed now, has its roots in the Atharva Veda. This method teaches quick calculations at the primary level. It helps a child do simple calculations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and addition, apart from facilitating his learning of more complex operations like algebra, trigonometry, calculus and geometry. It uses the 16 Sanskrit word formulae to teach students. This method has advantages like:

  • It has more scope for developing the mental sharpness of the student.
  • It helps a child develop his own method of solving problems without restricting him to one method of operation
  • It helps develop the child’s intellect
  • It retains the interest of the student in the subject.
  • It focuses on logic and understanding of the fundamental concepts.
  • In advanced Vedic Math, geometry, decimals, fractions, angles, etc may be taught.
  • Learning advanced Vedic Math gives students an edge when appearing for various competitive exams

The systems listed above make it easy to learn Math. The following are the ways in which a student can best utilize them:

  • A student who loves Math will like any of the above methods. He will use the method to improve his Mathematics and get excellent results in his school.
  • Average students will cultivate self-confidence and secure good marks in Math, at school level.
  • A student, who has grown up to hate Math and does not want to learn it, will change his attitude towards the subject. He will start liking the subject and will start doing better at his school.

However, parents would do well to keep in mind the points mentioned below, when they decide to enroll their child in any or all the above classes.

  • Take into consideration the child’s age and aptitude, before enrolling him in any of the above courses
  • Give some time to the newly skilled child to show good results, once he starts taking training in them
  • Avoid falling prey to peer-pressure, when solving problems using the above methods.

Irrespective of the method any student opts for, Commitment and Consistency will be the key to master the subject.

As stated by Paul Halmos – The only way to Learn Mathematics is to do Mathematics.

About the Author

Ms. Rashmi Dixit has more than 22 years of experience in teaching and taking tuition.
Her qualifications include B.Sc in Physics, Chemistry and Biology ( Mumbai University), M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry ( IIT Bombay) and MPhil Equivalent. She specializes in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

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