In a village 100km from Mumbai, there is a teacher who uses an assortment of currency to teach mathematics to his students. Pralhad Kathole, an assistant teacher at the Zilla Parishad school at Baliwali, Palghar, is determined to not let his students forget about school. More than teaching, his aim is to keep his students cognitively engaged.
Since online learning was out of the question due to bad economic conditions of the village families, to teach mathematics lessons, he scanned currency notes, arranged them on a sheet of paper so he could teach his primary students some basics like addition and subtraction. He also provided colour pencils to the younger students.
“My basic aim was to make sure my kids should not forget school. There are too many distractions for these kids to leave school. So I meet them every alternate day and we share stories with each other. Sometimes we read stories together, sometimes we sing songs together, sometimes we solve indigenous riddles together. I try to do everything during our meeting so that they feel connected with the school,” Kathole told Hindustan Times.
Since these kids are unable to go to school because of the pandemic-shutdown, they need help doing the worksheets their teacher brings to their homes. “I used technology to reduce the children’s burden. Most students in our class are well-versed with household work. The worksheets were designed around students’ daily lives,” explained Kathole.
These children belong to scheduled tribes and their parents are not literate themselves, hence they cannot help their wards in academic tasks, however, because they understand currency, Kathole decided to use money as a teaching tool.
Kathole was one of the speakers at the National Mathematics Teachers’ Association (MTA) annual conference that focussed on ‘Mathematics Education in Times of the Covid-19 Pandemic.’ He understands that teaching during the pandemic is more relevant to keep these children connected, especially when their parents are out of jobs and education is the last thing in their priority list.
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