**What is so important about Mathematics Phobia?**

- K Bhanumoorthy

Rtd. Principal , KVS

Let me say what Mathematics is?
Maths is a language of pattern. It is a vehicle to train the mind. People think
Maths is all about numbers only and equate with “Arithmetic” in minds, of course
numbers and Arithmetic are only part of maths. The subject improves logical
thinking, reasoning, and a way of rigorous thinking. Its applications are
applied in our daily life. One can never think
of a situation where mathematics is not applied, applied in all branches of
science, Commerce, Engineering , Sports, Music, Dance , History,
geography, literature, religion and so on. It is a pre-requisite for our work.

I have been teaching Mathematics
since long. Students dislike maths,
perhaps may not know what mathematics is all about. It is not, people do not like mathematics; I
would say people do not understand Maths. With due apology, I would like to say ,some if
not many humanity faculty people (
inclusive of some parents) who
proudly say/talk about how they can’t do
mathematics and they are quite proud that they don’t
understand anything about Mathematics.
This could be one of the reasons for the irrational fear in learning
mathematics.

__Some kind of
remedies: __ First and foremost to create interest in the
subject and make it exciting. Fun with numbers, interesting puzzles to solve, quizzes, by narrating some
interesting incidences / stories in life of Indian mathematicians especially
Shri. SRINIVASA RAMANUJAN, who was born
at KUMBAKONAM, Tamilnadu, contributions relevant to subject maths. For certain
questions, given by him, solutions are yet to be found out. Contributions from Great mathematicians from
other countries, History of maths right from ancient period. Greek has
contributed quite a lot. Easy way of calculations referring from Vedic maths, how
number system developed, to find the easy way to solve the question. There are
interesting numbers connected with famous mathematicians. Ex:
Srinivasa Ramanujan Number is 1729. It is the only number which can be
written as sum of cubes of two numbers ie 1729 =10^3 +9^3 , 12^3 + 1^3. Similarly
Caprikar number, harshad number,
Triangular number, so on . These kinds of numbers are formed by simple
operations of mathematics. So one has to have curiosity to find out, most of
the matters are available on the ancient books/ internet. People have to find
some time to know about them out of their own interest, not under compulsion.
Teacher has to take some effort to find out what additional information can be
given, though it may not be asked in the examination but yet to know/create
curiosity or interest.

__A simple statement: __ To
concentrate on class room teaching. One
thing I would like to share, we do give more importance to procedural learning
.There are some constraints. Time limit
on completion of syllabus. Teachers are
not having sufficient time to provide for more in depth of the subject, to
orient students on open ended approach, allowing investigation, explore, etc.
Just like science one has to explore and investigate why it is so. On some
occasions teachers are deputed on duty to escort students, other govt
directed and assigned works (for election, census work, etc) one cannot
deny. Quotation from Einstein “ If you have not made any mistake ,
you have not tried anything new “.The
emphasis is on explore to meet the challenges later on, spoon feeding can’t
help to solve a problem at unknown situation where difficult and challenging
questions might come to solve.

Teaching is an art, differs from individual to
individual. So care is to be taken by the teaching fraternity. The teaching has to be
student centered. Basics, I mean
fundamentals at primary level to be taught thoroughly, linking with daily life situation,
then learning becomes easier. Conceptual
teaching learning process shall definitely help students for retention. Learning outcomes are specified for every class,
with specific Minimum level of competencies if not all abilities are acquired/ equipped,
so to say minimum level of learning (**MLL**).
It is the duty of teacher concerned to see that the minimum specified abilities
are acquired. Now a day’s text books are well written by subject experts and
students are to be guided by subject teachers, to read and go through the text
book, just like other subject books. This would help students to a large extent
for self learning and ask to clarify doubts. A teacher has to prepare, modify
according to the level of students and see that how much learning has taken place.
Sometimes the same method may not help, if a teacher teaches more than one section,
there requires skills to modify/ that suits the students in teaching learning
process, so to say need based. There is a saying if you want to teach
mathematics to a student, say “KIM”, it is not enough the teacher knows mathematics,
he must know “KIM” also. Quite sometimes
back, I have heard from my friend, who is an academician. I am reproducing what I heard. He narrated like this: A student asked him, “Sir,
I am not able to understand the way by which you teach me, could you please
teach the way by which I can understand.” Case study of a student is very much required.

Teacher has to adopt certain
techniques so that learning becomes easier. There are various activities could
be carried out either in the classroom or outside the classroom by group activities.
One would have become a teacher either by choice or by chance, but the
accountability in the profession is a must. If all students say “Sir, today class has been so
interesting and enjoyable”. Then it is a big reward /award for any teacher.
Teacher has to use simple language, make the students understand the concepts
clearly. We can also use synonyms for easy understanding.

Teachers should adopt
collaborative approach to promote positive attitude among students towards math
subject. Also, teachers can reduce fear of math by being friendly, encouraging
self confidence among students, providing support and guidelines, aiming at, student
entered learning, accommodating students to adopt activity based learning and
learning by doing. Students could be motivated to learn subject by simplifying
concepts through math lab activities, mathematical games, hand outs,
worksheets, math quizzes, puzzles etc.

**“The Only way to learn Mathematics is to do Mathematics.”**

**“ Believe You can and You’ re
halfway there.”----- Theodore Roosevelt **