Two city-based teachers, Alamelu Kathiresan and Shalini Ilanahai, started an initiative called Math Love to promote a holistic way of learning mathematics. Through board games and workbooks, they help children grasp mathematical concepts more easily
“While teaching, Shalini and I noticed that many students fear mathematics. They came up to us saying they have nightmares while thinking about the subject. But as teachers, we know that mathematics is a subject that helps develop problem-solving and analytical skills.
“Without a deep conceptual understanding of any subject, it would be difficult for the students to learn it. So, to make the study of mathematics more interesting, we started Math Love aimed at redefining education. This is a holistic method of learning,” says Alamelu.
The board games that are available in the market have their own limitations. Most of them don’t exactly cater to the learning objectives that are described in NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training). “If a student lacks interest in learning a particular subject, the best way to develop an interest in it is by exposing him/her to activities like gaming and story-telling. We followed the same pattern initially. Later, we developed a learning model for every mathematical concept from Class 1 to 6. It includes interactive learning material, numerical board games, and workbooks to help the students. Most of the children belonging to that age category love to participate in games and other activities,” she adds.
Shalini and Alamelu have designed the board games and other tool kits in such a way that teachers can easily train the students. Currently, three schools in Chennai -- Stella Marys Nursery and Primary Matriculation School, Tondiarpet, St. Antony’s Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Tiruvottiyur and Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School, Nungambakkam — have set up the Math Love. “Once a school follows the Math Love model, we organises a two-day training for the teachers. We teach them different techniques to make mathematics an interesting subject. We have also collaborated with organisations like Pratham and Vidya Vidhai so that more people get to know about it,” remarks Alamelu.