Quite recently, it was reported that Bill Gates was disappointed with the Indian education system. He mentioned that it could be much better than what it is today. It is still all about marks and there is no way to check whether core concepts are understood logically or not.
Manjushri Dhume, an engineer, started LearnQuest in 2010 to diversify on teaching methods used in classrooms.
A former Infosys employee who conducted several training programmes, she has been working towards teaching children mathematics, through games and other tangible methods. “There are so many innovative ways to teach and I was doing that in the corporate world. Later, I felt that I should use these methods to teach our children. I started conducting small workshops in schools. I used paper folding methods, puzzles and other learning aides for children.
This way, they can feel math. They’re able to pick, move and break objects to understand the logic behind it,” she explains.
She has used her skills to innovate games like Triangle Hunt, Quadrilateral Quest, Fraction Cards and even the Japanese art of Origami to teach. Dhume is simultaneously training teachers in the ten schools she’s associated with.
“My success is when I move out of a school. Teachers need to be trained because none of them have ever learnt this way. They may not understand the value of using games to teach children.”
Speaking of the challenges she faced while approaching schools, Dhume adds that such institutions also need to think ahead for their students. “The schools we partnered with are very forward thinking. You need to be open to allocating time for this. Just 30 minutes for this isn’t enough. We even ran a remedial programme in a school.
My observation is that children who grasp at a slower pace compared to others, benefit highly from such teaching methods. They get to play with maths. Just seeing pictures in textbooks isn’t as helpful.”
With this, she has also started a mathematics games library wherein students can issue a game on a regular basis.
The Indian education system may have a long way to go, but Dhume’s efforts are bridging the gap between teaching and learning.
“Games are definitely something that the Indian education system is interested in. Everything is centred around marks and that needs to change. Math is primarily taught to enhance the critical thinking and logic of students. We must bring a practical lab to the classroom.”
She is currently working towards taking her methods to Marathi-medium schools. With the help of social media and other platforms, she is also making video tutorials that can be handed over to schools and teachers.
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