Maths may give many of us a headache, but no one can deny its importance in our lives! A four-day workshop was held in late July in Balewadi, Pune, with 80 teachers from across the state together with lecturers from various DIETs (District Institute of Education and Training) to discuss ways to teach primary-level Maths. Their aim: to make the subject simple and appealing to learners up to the 5th standard. Throughout the workshop, participants saw demonstrations by experts on teaching Maths in an enjoyable and interesting manner while providing students with a strong foundation.
The workshop was organised by the Loni-Kalbhor DIET together with the Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training (MSCERT). Participants observed how colourful beads, seeds, clay figures and other objects could be used to form numbers. Tracings from stencils were used to form geometric shapes. They saw how a range of mathematical calculations such as measuring angles, operations with fractions and calculation of area could be done with such aids. The programme included sessions on fun with decimals and learning maths through games. The expert teachers present demonstrated how maths could be taught on the basis of the principles of constructivism, with students present at the workshop.
Nand Kumar, Principal Secretary, Education and Dheeraj Kumar, the Education Commissioner, also interacted with the group. In his address, Nand Kumar said “Surveys have shown that schools in Maharashtra lag behind other states in mathematics. Hence, since last year, concrete steps have been taken to address this problem through ‘Pragat Shaikshanik Maharastra’. We must teach students the joy of finding answers to difficult problems. We should change our attitude that maths is ‘dry and difficult’. Let children play with numbers, help them see mathematics in nature and in society, encourage them to do experiments, let their imaginations flow freely – and they are bound to develop an interest in the subject.” he said.
He concluded that “Logic and mathematics play very important roles in life. Therefore it is essential to turn maths into a social subject and teachers need to understand this first.”
Nand Kumar spent a whole day at the workshop. He saw the various experiments by teachers, listened to their problems, and advised them about the importance of self-development. The participants were to go back and hold similar workshop for teachers in their own districts, to disseminate the new teaching methods and principles. Govind Nandede, Director of MSCERT and his colleagues Kamladevi Awate-Kshirsagar, Anupama Tawshikar, Jitendra Rathi and the head of the Rajya Vigyan Shikshan Sanstha, (the state science teaching organisation), Madhuri Sawarkar also took sessions with the workshop participants.
Blog & photos: Snehal Bansode-Sheludkar
Translation and editing: samata.shiksha team