Using maths to answer life’s big questions

Learning in our traditional schooling system stems from the overall curriculum philosophy which comes from the various subject areas such as Math, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Ethics, and Arts, which together make-up the academic syllabus. In the knowledge systems these subjects are known as the “Areas of Knowledge” (AOK) whereas the means we use to know and learn about the AOKs are called “ways of knowing” (WOK). They are Language, Sense perception, Emotion, Reason/Logic, Imagination, Faith, Intuition, and Memory. To embed holistic understanding of the AOKs one must learn to approach the content through different WoK, even those that might seem on the two extremes of the Knowledge system. Such integration allows for application of knowledge in new ways and one experiences the world in its true sense which is the amalgamation of multiple factors. This is when the quantifiable element of TIME becomes RELATIVE in terms of experience.

Here’s Srividya Srinivas, our drama for learning specialist, sharing another unique experience from her explorations at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London where she is currently pursuing her MA in Applied Theatre. This class was facilitated by two practitioners: writer and theatre maker Haley McGee, and mathematician and theatre maker Melanie Phillips.
The idea was to create a mathematical formula that helped in answering these questions by articulating the inputs that go into helping to answering the question, then creating categories that we then organise our inputs into. Once we decide whether each input is positive or negative, we begin to create our formula. The question my group worked on was “How much is my education really worth?”. We then created our inputs and categorised them as monetary, emotional and experiential. We then decided that experience was the pillar of our education experience and that emotion is a positive, while monetary is obviously a negative.

Value of (a) Experiential {Learning new skills & techniques X networking} + New Experiences
Value of (b) Emotional {Getting yourself to know better emotional cost of living away from family}

(-) Monetary {Tuition Fee + Cost of Living + Transport + Stipend}

We then gave “+ and -” to each of our inputs and categorised them according to importance, which helped us decide the mathematical functions we had to use. “+” means b adds to the value of a, “-” removes value, “x” multiplies the experience, so “a x b” means that a and b together create a bigger value than the “+” does, we looked at division as a ratio, “to the power” as also something that increases the value. We then ended up with a very simple (?) formula that determined the real value of our education, which was as seen below:

Worth of our Education = Experiential value X Emotional value – Monetary