Gaurav Tekriwal – Founder President of the Vedic Maths Forum India
Imparting High Speed Vedic Mental Mathematics skills over the past fifteen years across the globe
Gaurav is the author of ‘Maths Sutra’, ‘Speed Math’ and his Complete DVD set on the topic is popular among Students and Academicians worldwide. Through television programs, DVDs and Books he has taken the Vedic Maths System to over 4 million students in India, South Africa, United States, Australia, UAE, Ghana and Malaysia. Gaurav is a four time TED Speaker. Named one of India’s Top Young Visionaries 2014 by Indiafrica and Ministry of External Affairs’.
What is Vedic Maths and what is it’s origin?
Founded by an Indian Saint Tirthaji in the early 20th century who just like the Buddha went into the forests of South India and meditated, contemplated and created 16 Sutras or word formulas in Mathematics. These word formulas were able to solve complex calculations with ease and simplicity. As an example a sum like 998 x 997 could be solved in less than five seconds by a third grader which usually takes little more than two minutes to solve.
Because it cuts the time and speeds up the calculations whereby simplifying the entire process, Vedic Mathematics is getting popular amongst academicians worldwide as a mental system of arithmetic. Another reason for its adoration is the deepening maths crisis, low global numeracy levels and lack of Maths teachers.
Consider this for a moment
· Currently in the UK, 17 million adults have the mathematics capabilities of an 11 year old or younger. Source: The Telegraph, UK.
· 9-10 year olds and 13-14 year olds in the United States continue to lag behind several East Asian and European nations in Maths. Source: The New York Times
· In India in 2012, 46.5% of children in Class V could not solve a two-digit subtraction problem without seeking help. Source: The Pratham Report.
In such a grim scenario in Maths, students and teachers too loathe Mathematics. They run away from it and develop a phobia towards the subject. Hence making Maths fun and interesting becomes a challenge. Now this is where Vedic Mathematics steps in, through its out of the box methods and approach and makes learning math enjoyable and pleasant for everyone.
The Origins of Vedic Maths Sutras is debatable. Tirthaji the author of Vedic Mathematics says that the origins lie in the Atharva Veda. But upon looking for it nothing is found. Tirthaji has been heavily criticized by the Mathematical community for the same. However the current Shankaracharya of Puri, Swami Shri Nischalanandaji Saraswati gives us a robust proof that one of the Sutras, is found in an ancient Indian text Srimad Bhagavatam 10.3.25.
Sl Who? Designation? Source
1 Tirthaji Shankaracharya of Puri Atharva Veda
2 Nischalanandaji Saraswati Current Shankaracharya of Puri Srimad Bhagawatam 10.3.25
I found this out in 2006 when I interviewed the Current Shankaracharya. Here is the video of it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcQ-tYK-Pw0
How different is Vedic Maths from conventional Mathematics?
Vedic Maths complements and supports the conventional Maths System. It speeds up the method by making the student do the calculations in a simple way – mentally or in one line. Big problems can be done in less time and in a quicker way when compared to the traditional system. Vedic maths methods are very striking when seen. The phobia of Maths goes away and it inculcates a love for maths in the student, while practicing Vedic Mathematics.
What started your interest in teaching Vedic Maths?
I loved Mathematics from the beginning. I liked the reasoning part of it very much. While studying for my maths exams, the subject used to consume me completely. I always got a 90% plus in my school in the board exams. I loved Vedic Maths too. Because I was passionate about numbers, I thought of making teaching a profession, which changed my life’s course for ever, for the better.
What is the ideal age for the children to be introduced to Vedic Maths?
Grade 3 onwards.
What are the practical applications of Vedic Maths?
· Applications of Vedic Maths lie in Arithmetic and Algebra primarily.
· Do more sums in limited time competitive exams like CAT. Recently Neha Manglik scored a 100 percentile and she attributed her success to VM.
· Applications of Vedic Maths algorithms in the field of Information technology. Many research papers have been published by scholars using these algorithms for chip designing etc.
· Teachers use VM along with math manipulative in Schools to make abstract concepts like fractions understood.
· Parents use VM to teach their children basic math tables and other concepts which they would have earlier struggled with.
· In countries especially in South Africa the education system needs repairing as a full generation of children and teachers were denied maths education due to apartheid. Children struggle with simple things such as their times tables. We did a pilot study in Durban in partnership with the Department of education, Kwa Zulu Natal and the results achieved were more than phenomenal. Children took to Vedic Maths like never before seen. Before teaching them we took a baseline assessment where students took 30 minutes to do about 20 questions in Mental Math. After a week of giving them training in Vedic Math, the timings improved to just 9 minutes to do 20 Mental Math Questions, with a drastic improvement in Accuracy too.
Some Papers on Application of the Sutras in Information Technology:
· More Papers by Dr. Thapliyal here http://hthapliyal.engineering.uky.edu/vedic-maths/
What are the faulty perceptions about Vedic Maths?
Faulty Perceptions Facts
Bag of tricks with no foundation in maths – Each and every Vedic Maths Method is proven mathematically. In fact there is a book about the proofs too.
Lack of origin anywhere – The Current Shankarcharya gives one of the source in an ancient Indian text.
Will my Child be confused?- Definitely not. In fact he will be having a much better understanding of basic mathematical principles.
Why Vedic? In this direction, the Supreme Court of India in a judgment in 2002 on Vedic Maths clearly says “It is pointed out that merely because epithet ‘Vedic’ is used, the petitioners has attempted to attribute something of religion to it. The word ‘vedic’ in this context indicates only time factor.”
Vedic Maths is not seen as a mainstream subject in schools? How can that be done and how will the students be benefited by it?
Well Vedic Maths can only be made a mainstream subject if the government wakes up to it. Otherwise it will only be an extra-curricular activity in Schools. We expect that Vedic Maths be featured in the New Education Policy 2016 to be launched by Mrs.Smriti Irani.
How is Vedic Maths competing with today’s technology?
Mental Mathematics is important and necessary for development of number sense in any child in the primary level. No amount of calculators or technology can replace that. Vedic Maths gives child very robust mental calculation skills which cannot be compared to calculators. If that be the case why have Mathematics classes in schools. There should be no classes on Mathematics and also the load on the student will be decreased. The student should only be equipped with the calculator and all of math’s problems could be solved on that. In fact I must cite something which was done recently in the United Kingdom. The UK Government banned calculators in the primary level in 2012. Source: BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/education-20259382 In three years the results achieved was amazing. The Govt found that the Calculator ban has actually improved numeracy skills.
Source: The Telegraph
What would be your advice for the Maths teachers?
Try to make math fun for the children out there! There are many ways to do that with art, math-manipulative, number games, puzzles etc. Try to inject some creativity and innovation in the way the subject is taught. Teach the subject with love and care with passion and I am sure you’ll change the world – one day!
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