Mathematics teaching in Indian schools

Three school children doing math equations on the blackboard

I have been working extensively with Math teachers and students in schools across India for the last 6 years. During this time, I have found that a very large section of students have either developed a phobia for Math or a dislike for the subject. This is very strange, given that Math is such a structured and interesting subject and numbers are all around us.

Why do you think that kids in the land of Ramanujan have reached this situation? Who is to blame?

Here are my two reasons  –

  • Most of the schools have high-class strength. It makes it difficult for the teacher to focus on each and every student. As a result, personal attention is compromised.
  • There is a dearth of quality mathematics teachers in most schools, as the best are lured into other high-paying jobs outside schools.

It’s all about theory today; there is no connection with the application side of real-time mathematics. The assessment quality is very questionable. Testing of students is only for recall and bookish knowledge. The study is completely compartmentalized with focus on rote learning, there is no effort done to interconnect subjects

As an alternative to schools, parents send their kids to tuition teachers and student learning does not get any better there. It is just more rigor and more route that follows. I could list down a lot more. So, what is the solution –

No two kids are the same. Each child learns at his own pace and his own struggles. Some kids may be quick in algebra but may struggle in geometry or vice versa. So, each child should be given access to personalized learning. With the advancement in technology, there are new platforms which are intelligent learning systems and generates personalized Math worksheets for each student based on the child’s individual learning needs.
Technology can also be used to de-complicate mathematics. Parents and teachers can make use of animated videos on Math concepts to make the subject interesting.
Math learning should be more than practice. Math classes should move beyond just practice of sums to an application of Math concepts through activities, projects, discussion and presentations. This will lead to the student getting involved in the learning process. We need to promote self-learning. That will not only help in Mathematics but in every walk of life and will truly we the greatest skill learned in school. A child who is a self-learner will be able to think independently and master any skill in no time. These measures will take time but hopefully, we will have another Ramanujan very soon.

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