A few years ago, a small video of a Maths teacher in Georgia, United States, started doing the rounds on the Web. The clip showed a simple classroom filled with students but what stood out was the teacher’s “song”.
He was singing out trigonometry essentials... and his stunned students were just lapping it up, turning the teacher into a “rockstar of Math”. Four years after that video, Bala Reddy Maram Reddy, originally from Uppal here in Hyderabad, still keeps his routine going. “It was an ordinary day, I remember. I was in class, the students were anxious about Math and then I just started singing trigonometry.
The students joined in and everybody soon found out the technique was helping them remember all those formulas. And one of my students went and fetched a camera to record the entire thing. I have kept it going since then,” says Reddy. Authorities from the school, impressed with the sudden surge in “good performance” were only happy to keep Reddy going. “They came to me and said, ‘Bala, just keep doing whatever it is you are doing, we are with you all the way’. So yeah, the method was working out for everyone.”
Reddy left for the States back in 2007 and he’s been giving a twist to Maths for as long as he can remember. “I was good with numbers, but not with Maths. You see, there’s a part of the subject that has to be committed to memory. So I devised a plan to help others and myself.” I started abbreviating and turning complex formulae and theorems into songs. Very soon, I found myself able to remember almost everything. The technique helped others too. For example, my son knew several Maths theorems even before he could talk properly."
Reddy is also now helping out the community in Georgia with his “free Maths clinics”, where he teaches students as young as 8. "The problem is how we are approaching Maths. It's a subject that has to be made entertaining to both learn and teach. After the videos were spotted on the Web, parents started approaching me to train children in a similar way and there has been some impact. These Maths clinics are set up to help children embrace and love mathematics... I'm glad the singing worked but I'm hoping to take it beyond just that."
As far as his fan following goes, Reddy admits he's a little overwhelmed... in a good way. "My god, when that video went live and when I saw all those comments and likes...it was definitely a fantastic feeling. Everyone around me was cheering and I was encouraged to go ahead and teach many others in a similar way. At the same time though, I don't want all the attention on me. "I just want changes in the way we teach Maths, that's all."