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Why Are Indians Good at Math?
India has made a significant contribution to the development of mathematics. Aryabhatta, Brhamagupta and Bhaskara II are some of the famous mathematicians of ancient India. The concept of zero and the decimal system come from India. Significant work has been done in the field of algebra and trigonometry. There is Vedic Math which teaches various calculation techniques through sutras (rules). The growth and development of mathematicians would have trickled down to the general population, making them interested and adept at calculations.
Another factor is the Indian socio-economic situation. Historically, engineers and doctors were the only professionals who had the prospect of lucrative jobs. The number of places in the colleges for these two components was limited. To gain admission into an engineering or medical school, a student must pass a very difficult entrance exam with an emphasis on math and science subjects. Only the best of the best can gain admission into a reputable college or university. This has caused parents, students, teachers, and the school system to focus on success in math and science.
Children learn multiplication from early childhood. Every evening, you recite multiplication tables. This practice makes children good at mental arithmetic. As they get older, they begin to learn mathematical rules and formulas. The Indian methodology is based on learning and practice. Children are led to solve many problems in each of the mathematical concepts so that it becomes second nature to problem solving. Unlike the American system, the Indian education system does not place much emphasis on creative thinking and deep understanding of the subject. There are pros and cons to this approach. The advantage is that there is less fear of math – You are mechanized on calculations and problem solving. Being good and quick at basic math makes it easier to learn more advanced concepts. The downside is the lack of innovation and creativity. But in a country with a population of over a billion and not enough education or job opportunities, being good at passing a test is essential for the short-term goal of entering the race.
Computer industry boom
This talent for math and science and knowledge of the English language became great assets when the computer and software industry flourished. The United States needed tons of software engineers. India had its potential base ready. Young graduates seized this opportunity and took courses to learn programming languages, databases and other technologies. Being good at math usually leads to being good at programming and analytical thinking. People who did not enter engineering schools and who obtained a degree in mathematics or physics also began to do degrees and masters in computer applications. Year after year, hundreds of thousands of Indians come to the United States, get jobs in the IT industry, and settle in the United States. When they have a family and children, they apply the Indian method to their children who attend American schools. Children of Indian descent living in the United States excel in math and science. This trend also applies to children from other Asian countries.
Mathematics in the United States
In my opinion, American math books are very well written and illustrated. They explain the concept, history and application of a particular topic. It gives a child a full education rather than learning the formula. However, the problem is the lack of rigor. Whether it’s physical fitness or mental fitness, strong discipline, regular exercise and successive goals for improvement and success are necessary. Mathematics inherently needs practice. When you solve a math problem, it’s either right or wrong – there’s no grade like average or fair. In order to solve a problem correctly and quickly, it takes rigorous training. If teachers do not inculcate this discipline, students get more incorrect answers than correct ones. They get into the vicious circle of “I’m not good at math-I hate math-why do we need math” and so on. If teachers can steer students toward a regular schedule of math work, the loop can be reversed. They begin to solve problems, become enthusiastic and develop an interest in the subject. It will build math confidence and fear will disappear. After all, school math isn’t Rocket Science! If Indian students can be good at math, students from other countries can also be good.
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