Sunday, Jul 13, 2003
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By Lakshmi Balakrishnan
Concerned at the increase in the number of students facing Maths-phobia, the CBSE has come out with a new book aimed at helping schools on how to go about setting up a Mathematics Laboratory. "Mathematics Laboratory in Schools: Towards A Joyful Learning'' aims at changing the current system that does not enable students to learn the complete relevance of the subject. Interestingly enough, quite a few of Delhi's schools like Vasant Valley already have a "Mathematics corner'' for teaching the subject.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) had in the National Curriculum Framework proposed by it three years ago also suggested the setting up of Mathematics corners in schools.
While accepting in his foreword to the book that the subject is taught and learnt in an unrealistic and mechanical way in most schools, the CBSE Chairman, Ashok Ganguly, points out that the present scenario demands drastic changes in the teaching style of the subject.
The idea behind introducing the concept of Maths laboratories is to try and make the curriculum transaction of the subject more meaningful. The book includes a number of exercises that can be used by students of Class III to X. The CBSE points out that since the Mathematics lab unlike any of the Science labs does not really require a separate room or large space, it would serve as a forum to explain abstract concepts that are generally difficult to teach students.
Noting that the current style of teaching of the subject lays "too much emphasis on symbols, formulae and their manipulations and relatively little attention to physical significance and interpretation'', the CBSE notes in the book that a majority of students seem to be learning the subject in a totally mechanical way.
``It is an important initiative towards making learning a more enjoyable process," explains a CBSE official.
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