Interview with Dr. Kobad Bugwadia

As most of you know, our aim at ‘My Bright Child’ is to promote the essentials of positive parenting to our readers. To initiate a bright new beginning in 2011, we wish to diversify and bring to you a series of interviews from experts in their respective fields pertaining to children’s all-round development.

In today’s highly competitive times, it is we the parents who need to make our children understand that applying specific Math skills in real life situations could significantly help them to attain success in their future
adult lives.

For our first interview in our series, we’d like to present to you an exclusive interview with Dr. Kobad Bugwadia, Owner & Center Director of Mathnasium the Math Learning Center at Campbell, California, U.S.A, who stresses on the Importance of Math in the 21st century and shares his formula for your child’s success in MATH.

With a Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Rutgers University, U.S.A., 12 years of work experience in the high tech industry and an innate passion for teaching, Kobad was excited by what he calls the “fusion” of combining his interests, skills and experience when he started Mathnasium, a specialized math learning center where kids can go year-round to boost their math skills.

Our first query to you Dr. Bugwadia is in view of the high level of competition in the work force today in the 21st century:

Q1. Why is it important for parents to be alert in monitoring their children’s progress in Math?

Dr. Bugwadia: Well, apart from the benefit you mentioned earlier, the ability to think mathematically helps to build  analytical thinking and a solid foundation of learning for all children, beginning from school level and well into their adult lives. Having a strong set of Math skills can empower your child in the global marketplace, allowing him/her an easy access to high-level careers in science, technology, accounting, architecture and engineering.

Q2. What is the underlying goal behind teaching Math in a specialized way?

Dr. Bugwadia: Just as a gymnasium develops the body, the goal of Mathnasium is to develop the mind. Our goal is to teach mathematical thinking and number sense which is the key to creating a deep understanding and lifelong love of Mathematics.

Q3. What would you suggest to parents that could create and sustain their child’s interest in imbibing mathematical thinking and number sense?

Dr. Bugwadia: To create and sustain your child’s interest in learning Math, it is vital to make it a ‘fun’ experience. It is important to eliminate the fear of Math and devise math-related games and activities that promote positive learning. You would need to understand that number sense in children does not develop by accident; it is the direct result of interaction with specific concepts and skills which when presented in an interesting manner, makes sense to them.

Q.4. Why is it important for parents to instill in their children a positive attitude towards Math?

Dr. Bugwadia: Studies indicate that most kids, who struggle with Math, have developed fear or hatred for Math.  Hence nurturing a positive approach with carefully planned reinforcement techniques could develop children’s  confidence and create a liking for Math. A combination of both direct instruction and guided practice can be most beneficial to children and prevent them from being intimidated by math. Besides a strong background in Math builds their confidence and opens the door to several different careers in their adult life.

Q.5. How can parents achieve the above purpose as generally kids tend to find Math difficult?

Dr. Bugwadia: Parents can help by being supportive to their children on an ongoing basis, understanding their apprehensions, acknowledging their efforts and praising their accomplishments. It would be wise for parents to avoid comparisons with other siblings or friends and refrain from passing rude remarks pertaining to their children’s limitations or failings. At Mathnasium we apply a three-pronged approach of Prescriptives (worksheets targeting specific topics in Math), Workbooks (teaching concepts and mathematical thinking), and providing homework help as well (to complement with what the students are doing in School). In addition we use manipulatives like playing cards and dice, to make math fun and interesting for them.

Q. 6. We understand that your Mathnasium Learning Center has been the proud recipient of eight awards at the recent Mathnasium International Convention and also recognized as the 2010 Hidden Gem by editors of the Bay Area Parent magazine along with being voted as the ‘Best Tutoring Center in Northern California’ by the viewers of ‘best of the bay’ TV show on KRON 4; can you tell us the secret of your success in gaining this high level of recognition and popularity?

Dr. Bugwadia: I will attempt to attribute my success in a nutshell to:

* A positive attitude coupled with the determination to succeed
* Strong focus on creating and meeting these goals; related to both business and education (in the form of ongoing training)
* Persistence in staying committed and keeping the bigger picture in mind
* Recognizing and working on the ‘individual’ strength of the students
* A desire to give back to the community and to ‘make a positive difference’

Q. 7. Finally, what advice would you give to a person who is interested in starting a Mathnasium Franchise?

Dr. Bugwadia: Study your local market thoroughly. Review the Mathnasium HQ website www.mathnasium.com and start the process highlighted there to become a potential franchisee. Most importantly you need to have a strong passion and enjoy what you do, along with a genuine interest to make a difference in the lives of so many kids. You need to set clear goals and bring your entrepreneurial skills to running your own business.

Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts with you on ‘My Bright Child’.

We, at ‘My Bright Child’ thank Dr. Kobad Bugwadia for taking the time to share his valuable insights with us and enlightening us on the wonderful work being done by him and his team for children in math. We wish him greater success in the future.

We are confident that with this interview our objective of highlighting the importance of Math will yield positive results. We hope it will spark greater interest in parents and help them to sharpen their children’s Math Skills and overall school performance.

Comments

  1. Nancy Browne said on February 3rd at 3:28 pm:

    Dr. Bugwadia,

    It was a pleasure to be linked to this particular article, as I find your work to be a real necessity in this country. I must admit that math was never my strong field of study, and you are quite right when you say that many can be intimated by math.
    Children have a great advantage today with classes such as yours, and I have little doubt that students will view math as a fun and rewarding experience.
    I commend you for starting this “Math Learning Center.” I think it is much needed, a branch of knowledge that can only produce a confidence with any student that takes this course.
    I wish you much success, and thank you for sharing your time and wisdom on this subject.

    Nancy Browne

  2. Carol said on February 3rd at 7:04 pm:

    Impressive interview filled with valuable, thought-provoking comments by Mr. Bugwadia. I shall be passing this on to teachers and parents I know that will potentially concur with Mr. Bugwadia’s viewpoint on the importance of math to every child’s future.

  3. Rashna D'Souza said on February 4th at 2:32 pm:

    Reading Bugwadia’s interview makes it easy to understand why his center has received the accolades it has. As a parent and an educator I appreciate the fact that Bugwadia is not ‘just a teacher’ but also has a background in the industry and can bring his experiences into teaching. Many children don’t see the connection between what they learn in school and its practical application and to develop an understanding of a subject it is important for them to see this link.

  4. Gene Maxfield said on February 6th at 4:33 am:

    youre so cool! i dont suppose ive read anything like this before. so nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  5. Elke Chiz said on February 9th at 4:02 pm:

    wonderful post. thanks for sharing… waiting for more…

  6. Zetta Gaber said on February 22nd at 4:34 am:

    Very interesting entry, I look forward to the next! Thx for share

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