Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Vedic Mathematics Training in Specific Learning Difficulty: A Study on Upper Primary Children

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Vedic Mathematics Training in Specific Learning Difficulty: A Study on Upper Primary Children

Article excerpt

Learning disabilities (LD) involve neurological dysfunction and impairment and cause a wide range of problems along with the difficulty in learning, such as spatial impairment, attention and reasoning among others. A learning difficulty on the other hand, is less severe than a learning disability. There are a number of students who do not meet the criteria for a learning disability, but still face major problems in understanding and using concepts related to learning disabilities. These students, since they don't fall into the learning disabled category, are not given the attention needed to develop their skills. This causes problems for the children when it comes to their academics, and they end up falling behind and underperforming. They are somewhat neglected in the mainstream education system if they don't fall into the LD category. This leaves a lot of scope to work with children who are facing a learning difficulty rather than a learning disability.

According to Dumont (1994), two types of learning problems can be distinguished: a learning disability is situated in the child's own cognitive development whereas the cause of a learning difficulty is situated outside the child or in another problem in the child. In this study, we focus on mathematics learning difficulties. Carnine, Jitendra, and Silbert (1997) cite that "Individuals who exhibit learning difficulties may not be intellectually impaired; rather, their learning problems may be the result of an inadequate design of instruction in curricular materials."

Unlike a learning disability however, a learning difficulty does not affect general intelligence (IQ). An individual may often have more than one specific learning difficulty (for example, dyslexia & dyspraxia are often encountered together), and other conditions may also be experienced alongside each other. Most of the time, it does not interfere with day-to-day life, but when the area of difficulty is in the cognitive region, it impedes development, since information provided in the traditional educational framework is largely through reading and writing and requires a demanding cognitive load of work. When a student has difficulty in this traditional setting of teaching, it becomes important to address the issues

The educational curriculum right now in India, however, majorly follows a set standard that is uniform across the world. Teaching facts, concepts and subjects as well as standardized testing are the main features of modern education. In India the curriculum was starkly different before the British influence. One of the main methods of education, such as that used in the Gurukul system, was Vedic teaching.

In Vedic teaching, a large branch is dedicated to learning mathematics using Vedic concepts. Vedic mathematics was initially developed by Sankaracharya of Puri from the parisita of Adharva Veda but was "rediscovered" by Sri Bharati Krsna Tirthaji, a scholar of sanskrit, mathematics, history and philosophy; from the Vedas between 1911 and 1919. According to Tirthaji, all of Vedic mathematics is based on sixteen Sutras, or word-formulae, and these formulas are enough to be able to solve complicated maths problems ranging from simple algebra calculations to complex derivatives. Vedic Mathematics provides answers in one line, whereas conventional method requires several steps. It is an ancient technique, which simplifies multiplication, divisibility, complex numbers, squaring, cubing, square and cube roots. Vedic Mathematics can handle even recurring decimals and auxiliary fractions.

When children in mainstream schools face academic problems, especially children in large classrooms that cannot get one-on-one intervention, it becomes important to explore new ways of helping them. Remedial intervention has proven to be helpful, but as stated, can be expensive and can cater to only those that have access to the facilities. Vedic mathematics is a simple and easier way to learn the basic maths concepts and one of its main advantages is that it can be taught in a group setting. …

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