Approach, not intellect, makes the difference between those who find mathematics a hard nut to crack and others who find it easy, said Anand Kumar, founder of Super30, at a workshop organised by Deccan Herald - Prajavani in association with Bishop Cotton Boys’ High School and ACE Creative Learning on Saturday.
Addressing over 1,800 students from different schools across the State, Guinness record-holder and Mathematics teacher Anand Kumar taught the students various easy methods of solving mathematical problems.
He began with the premise that maths is fun if the basics are understood the right way. He listed out various problem-solving methods by giving analogies that students could relate to. Narrating a tale of two students, Kumar said one found it easy as he approached the subject in the right way. “To solve a murder mystery, you deduce reasons for the crime, infer from available data and use your imagination for understanding the unknown. You deduce the solution for mathematical problems in a similar way,” he explained.
Like any other problem faced in life, while solving problems in mathematics, there should be a plan to begin with. Dividing it into sub-problems, using analogy, comparing it with similar instances, trying to find a pattern in a problem are some methods to simplify the subject, he told the students. The students were given algebraic equations to solve, while Kumar helped them by using the methods he listed out.
Studying the subject needs tremendous patience and effort, the students were told. He simplified questions posed for the IIT entrance exam in a manner which even high school students could understand. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Anand Kumar expressed concern over dwindling innovations in pure science.
“When students get into an IIT, they focus on the pay package they would receive once they pass out of these institutions, but not on what they are learning there.
Parents too have a similar attitude, which must change,” he said. Everyone knows that the area of a triangle is 1/2 *base* height. Not many know why it is that way.
This is the reason why students find it difficult to understand the subject and many fail in the exam. The problem is in the teaching approach, Kumar pointed out, advising teachers to make use of multimedia and graphics to explain abstract concepts.
As a student, he found maths difficult to understand. He challenged himself to learn it right. He later completed graduation in mathematics in Patna University simultaneously publishing internationally acclaimed papers. His Super 30 trains students of economically-challenged backgrounds.
Anand Kumar commended the State government for its decision to upgrade the PUC syllabus. This would bring all students on a par with each other, he felt, adding that students from rural background must be allowed to learn in their local language, else they would lag behind.