馬來西亞親子雜誌「Parenthood Magazine」專訪 - Dec 01, 2014

 

Can you solve 93x97 in just five seconds? 

Kids at Math Monkey can! Incorporating the magic of Vedic Math along with the MathBrain programme in its Brain-based Learning methodology, and housed under the roof 'Play to Learn', Math Monkey's curriculum diverges from mainstream computations and guides kids to number crunch big digits quickly and easily while keeping spirits high! 

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There are two types of students in this world- those who love Math; and on the other polar end, those who despise Math. Only a single hand was raised in response to the question, "Who loves Math?" at the launch of Math Monkey in Malaysia. And that hand belonged to Associate Professor Madya Dr Tay Choo Chuan, a dad and lecturer at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, under the Mechatronic Engineering Department at University Teknikal Malaysia Me/aka who holds a degree and obtained a doctorate in Mathematics from the University Kebangsaan Malaysia (so, no surprise there!) Throughout his years in teaching, Dr. Tay has published numerous journals in relation to Mathematics. He has been actively involved in writing journals at university level, and Mathematics books for primary school students. According to him, the beauty of Math can be hindered by the lack of ability to find x, to be able to integrate, and to find flux. Typically, the students who wear the 'I Hate Math' badge are the ones who struggle to get an equation right and find themselves wronged again and again. But there are other factors as well, as shared by Karen Kwan, Director of Math Monkey Asia (based in Hong Kong) Limited, and Dr Caroline Kwok (also known as Dr Brain), Founder of MegaBrain Institute, Hong Kong, who has dedicated 30 years into studying the human brain and learning which includes areas such as Neuroscience and Neuropsychology. 

Karen added that one other contributing factor is the rigid Math curriculum in schools which emphasises rote memorisation and in finding correct answers rather than appreciating the stroll to the solutions. Dr Tay agreed and further added that it is poorly taught by teachers who themselves do not like it. don't have a deep understanding of it, and project fear instead of inspiration onto their students, thus, adding insult to injury. However, MathMonkey begs to differ by walking its students on the road of deep appreciation for the beauty in Math, with its application of 'Play to Learn' enhanced by the Vedic Math curriculum in an aim to develop a MathBrain in kids. Dr Caroline coined this as 'Impactful Learning'. "Start from young. Don't wait till it's too late." advised Dr Tay, who had many years of experience tutoring older students whose parents seek his help only when national exams are round the corner and dealing with the deep regret in most of them. "Math just doesn't work that way!" he said. 

The one thing that stood out for me at the launch was the wise incorporation of the Vedic Math curriculum! One doesn't usually come across the addition of Vedic Math, an ancient Math methodology from India in many curriculums or syllabi, be it mainstream or not. If we did, most of us today would have become Mathematicians or Statisticians because it omits long-windedness and rote memorisation, and instead shows us how simple, fun yet challenging Math can actually be! Perhaps, even the need for the invention for calculators wouldn't have arisen!

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Faster than Calculators with Vedic Math

Every kid learns how to add, subtract, multiply and divide at school. So, why should we replace those algorithms with 'Vedic Math'? Simply because it diverges from mainstream computations in way that provides for shortcuts, and hence, makes number crunching even for big digits faster, easier, and more effective. With shortcuts, kids can spend the spared time to explore Math further. 

There is more than a single manner to reach the right solution in Math. According to Karen and a matter of fact, there are seven different ways to solve a sum in Math, and Vedic Math provides for the simplest way. At the launch of Math Monkey, to the wow's, whoa's, and aah's from the surprised and amazed members of the media, Karen demonstrated the wonder of Vedic Math.

Vedic Math is the term coined to a set of 16 sutras (or formulas) discovered during the Vedic period, from 1500 to 800 B.C. Currently gaining the much deserved fame, Vedic Math highlights the true understanding of the relationship between numbers and numerical symbols. Besides rapid number crunches, Vedic Math is also a way to build on a kid's critical thinking and develop his or her problem solving skills.


Play To Learn

Karen believes that game based lessons simply build a magical bridge that links learning with fun. While involved in a mathematical game or two, kids can get the opportunity to interact with others, share ideas, discuss solutions, compete, accept failure and celebrate victory together. Through this way, Math Monkey hopes to improve kids' communication and interpersonal skills, language, EQ. and cognitive and physical developments.

Moreover, while playing games, children are motivated to learn, thus developing these five major brain abilities: Attention, Visual, Memory, Logical Reasoning and Processing Speed.


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About the MathBrain

The human brain has a natural learning process. MathBrain strengthens on these natural processes to enhance the brain when solving mathematical problems.

Children learn more effectively when they are wholly engaged in the subject at hand. As such, traditional methods of learning that is purely based on memorisation and practice drills need to evolve to incorporate elements that enrich the five basic brain abilities - attention, processing speed, logical reasoning, memory and visual. With enhanced cognitive reasoning, it is easier for children to absorb abstract concepts and apply them when solving problems, in and out of the classroom," stated Dr Caroline. The MathBrain, founded by Karen, is the ability to gather accurate information from a math problem, figure out the different ways possible to solve the problem and apply appropriate formulas to solve them fast and accurate. Both Dr Tay and Karen agreed that for kids to love and learn Math, they have to be taught to understand and appreciate how to get to the solution rather than focus on getting the right answers. After all, the discovery of new paths is through trial and error! 

Above all, a personal touch of motivation and encouragement from parents and teachers can go a long way in getting kids to enjoy doing Math! "This C is good, now you're on way to getting an A," said my Math teacher, when I was 13 years old. Gradually, the C became a string of A and I began to carve a niche for Math!

So, let your kids pride in beating calculators to the punch with Vedic Math and a MathBrain! For further details, browse over towww.mathmonkey.com.my.

 

 


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