Chronicle.lu recently had the opportunity to speak with Shruti Tulsian, Founder of Vedic Maths Luxembourg, a non-profit organisation aimed at making mathematics fun and interesting for children.
Vedic Maths is essentially a collection of techniques, "sutras", to help compute numerical problems objectively and efficiently.
“Vedic Mathematics” is a book written by Bharati Krishna Tirtha, first published in 1965, five years after his death. It is a collection of sixteen sutras and thirteen sub-sutras. The book inspired Ms Tulsian and in the naming of her organisation.
Chronicle.lu: Could you please tell us about the origins of Vedic Maths Luxembourg?
Shruti Tulsian: Back in 2015, about seven years ago, the idea originated with my daughter struggling in maths and [she] was losing interest. I then started exploring alternative methods available to bring the interest back and found out about methodologies like kumon, abacus, Singapore maths etc. Amongst them, Vedic maths, got my attention the most. So, I learnt Vedic Maths myself first to teach my daughter in a fun way. Soon her interest in maths regained, and this was motivating to me as well. I realised that some other children were also losing their interest in maths, and this took off as an idea to bring Vedic Maths to their attention. Soon, I felt it as more of a duty to help children who are scared of or not interested in maths, in a fun and playful way.
Chronicle.lu: Children often learn at different paces. How do you adapt to their individual needs?
Shruti Tulsian: Parents normally opt for one-to-one sessions, where I can cater to individual needs and my attention is fully on one child. This helps me as well as the children, to personalise our session and openly discuss the limitations one might have. This works great at any level of education and with any curriculum. During group sessions, children are grouped according to their age or school level. This is also helpful, as children learn from each other as well, while I try to find individual concerns and ways to bring the spark back in learning maths.
Chronicle.lu: You offer online as well as in-person classes on Vedic Maths. How did these offers evolve over time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Shruti Tulsian: Initially, for primary school pupils it was in-person sessions and for secondary pupils it was online sessions. During the COVID-19 health measures, digital participation was welcomed by everyone. It changed the parental perceptions as well and with broad acceptance across board, even resulted in all my primary students going online. With its own merits and demerits, the most common relief for everyone was saving on any travel time. This is of course one of the blessings in disguise for online classes.
Chronicle.lu: How young can one start with your classes?
Shruti Tulsian: I found that children are very agile and can start as early as aged five, being able to read and write.
Chronicle.lu: Do you offer other subjects as well?
Shruti Tulsian: Yes, we also offer classes in English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
Chronicle.lu: Are there other teachers involved in teaching and/or developing the Vedic Maths learning programme?
Shruti Tulsian: Yes, we have grown over the years and are now a team of eight to ten educators located globally.
Chronicle.lu: How do you overcome language barriers with children?
Shruti Tulsian: Fortunately, with maths, the language of numbers is more visual in early stages, and easy to understand. I use games and activities as a learning method, which brings down the language barrier. I do, however, get mostly English-speaking international students and with my limited French vocabulary, communication with young children is not an issue.
Chronicle.lu: Do you work with other entrepreneurs, educators or social services, to support children who are not comfortable with Maths? How has the experience been so far?
Shruti Tulsian: Yes, I do work with other entrepreneurs and educators and assimilate ideas and absorb the best practises thus evolving my teaching methods continuously.
As an institutional collaboration, I offer an after-school maths club in the European school, which is a great experience in terms of teaching a different set of students with their individual interests and fun activities. Some students are less reluctant towards maths than others, but my goal remains the same, to bring back interest to everyone. I also conduct different camps, workshops and intensive classes, from time to time, as per the interest from parents and children.
Chronicle.lu: Do you offer intensive courses or bootcamps during school holidays?
Shruti Tulsian: Yes, during term break and summer holidays, I offer intensive maths studies for secondary students and a fun games camp for primary students.
Chronicle.lu: Have you received any support or feedback from the school teachers and/or Education Ministry?
Shruti Tulsian: Since the COVID-19 pandemic I have not approached any school or the ministry in this regard but I would explore schools for their interest in future.
Chronicle.lu: What is your vision going forward?
Shruti Tulsian: It would be great to see Vedic Maths integrated or explored in a maths club or weekend sessions in schools, and in collaboration with educators and activity providers to bring it to children in a fun and playful way. I also hope to share the Vedic methods with teachers and educators to alleviate the phobia against maths.