Not only children but many grown ups around you will tell about the nightmares they had before mathematics exam in school days. How they wished, they had a choice to study some other subject in place of maths. The question arises, why so many people hated mathematics at primary and middle class levels?
Now-a-days, there is a great emphasis on relating the study on relating the study of different subjects with day to day life. But as far as maths is concerned, first thing that comes to our mind is numbers and basic operations. Shapes, measurement, time and other topics are given a very little importance. Well, let’s have a look the way numbers are introduced to a child who has just entered the school. To make child familiar with number “one” by telling “This is one pencil” or “This is one bird” etc. The child know objects well but what about the number “one” ? Moreover, the overenthusiastic parents make them cram the counting from one to ten. Does it looks like that the child will take any interest in numbers? The very beginning of the learning is wrong. Wouldn’t it be better idea if along with “one” , “many” is also introduced by showing concrete objects to the child?
Remember how much you loved stories when you were in class 1 or 2? Children love to study English, Hindi and even social science because they find stories in these subjects. Even in science, they find interesting activities. But mathematics, no fun at all! Each child learns in a different way, but all of them are taught using same methods. In my opinion, teachers need to identify the skills to be developed in the students and plan their lessons accordingly. The content has to be according to the age group also. So called “good publishers” add so much unnecessary content in their books that makes children lose interest in the subject.
Too much of drilling also doesn’t help. Including some challenging tasks and activities in the lesson plans will definitely build the interest. At pre-primary and primary level, the basic concepts should be introduced through stories, poems and hands on experience. Once in a while, let them sit in groups and guide them to help each other and learn from each other. I’m sure that these efforts will make the child feel comfortable while s/he studies maths and will be no more afraid of it.