The Bookmarks and the Tamarind Seeds


Mathematics has been a nightmare for me ever since school. But is it true that certain people develop hatred towards certain subjects from birth? The Answer is a simple No. Some of them just need a confidence boost, which they have lost some where down the lane and purely because of certain circumstances.

Now here is a story of a small boy from a tier 2 City in India who developed hatred towards Mathematics at a very young age. One fine day Rahul finds out in his mathematics class that the teacher has announced a surprise test. Poor chap he was not prepared, all the questions bounced off his brains. The next day morning the teacher walks in with the answer papers. She calls out the names one by one and hands over the answer sheets.  

This was more than what Rahul could take an embarrassment in front of the class and he knew quiet well how much would he score, but he had never imagined if he had to go on an insult in front of his friends. As the teacher was nearing his roll number, from a normal 72 a minute his heart beat went up to 75.

Finally She calls out: Oh Rahul, Boy what have you done? I thought you were a studious boy you have scored terrible just a 4 out of 25. Bring your parents when you come to school tomorrow.

The teacher did that with a good intention but Rahul could not take it. His confidence was shattered and there after he has never been able to do well in Mathematics. A little bit more on a psychological approach towards Rahul would have completely changed his attitude towards Mathematics.

Here is another approach. Sonia is a seven-year-old little girl who studied in a school in the outskirts of Bangalore. She has been very poor in Mathematics since birth. She lacked the aptitude towards the subject.

Now here is what this particular teacher did, again she did it unknowingly, which really generated a lot of interest among the students. The school being in the outskirts of Bangalore had a lot of open space with natural land, which had lot of tamarind trees. Little girls in that school started collecting the tamarind seeds, which they carry back home in their pencil boxes.

With out the knowledge that the students collect tamarind seeds the teacher gave them an assignment to both the boys and girls. The boys were to create Bookmarks and the girls were asked to collect the Tamarind seeds. Once they have collected enough they could barter 7 tamarind seeds for one bookmark. The kids started doing this activity with a lot of enthusiasm. The girls collect as many tamarind seeds as possible and the boys started sitting with their Scissors, chart papers and sketch pens creating these bookmarks. Finally it was the day when they were to trade tamarind seeds for the bookmarks.

The teacher had asked Sonia to keep track of all the tamarind seeds and the bookmarks. The little girl said yes she would do it. That day evening Sonia’s father finds her busy doing some accounting. She had very neatly split her notebook in to two halves and had written down who has given how many tamarind seeds and Bookmarks and tallied it. Sonia’s father was surprised to see his daughter learning mathematical calculations. In fact it looked like the debit and credit of an account book. Unknowingly the little girl had discovered some thing new. Purely based on her imagination or probably creativity.

The next day Sonia’s father drops in at the school and thanks the teacher for helping this little girl. The teacher was taken aback with surprise. But the teacher now learned a different approach to teaching the little ones with out killing their creativity.

Many a time the creativity in the young ones are killed either by their parents or by their teachers. Lets not hand hold them all the time. Let them learn and grow by themselves. Lets just support and facilitate them. I am sure; together we can help the coming generation to come up with their best talent and innovations. So the next time if your kids are collecting some scrap, please make sure to find out what they really are doing.