Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Right Brain Education
Two Hemispheres of the Brain
Left Brain - Conscious thought, logical analysis, outer awareness, uses language, methods and rules.
Right Brain - Subconscious thought, emotional reaction, inner awareness, uses intuition, creativity, music.
Ever wonder why science tells us that we only use 3% of our brain? We believe it is because this is the amount of information available to most of us consciously. The rest is locked up within the subconscious mind. Most of the time, we work out of our conscious left hemisphere of the brain. In this mode, we tackle the daily stresses of life, but without access to the incredible storehouse of memory, intuition and creativity found within the subconscious right hemisphere of the brain.
When the right brain is understood in education, children and adults alike are encouraged to access the creative, intuitive side of the brain for solutions to answers. The right brain is responsible for photographic memory, speed reading, speed listening, automatic mental processing, mass-memory, multiple language acquisition, computer-like math calculation, creativity in movement, music and art and intuitive insight.
What is the difference between children and adults accessing the right brain?
Young children access the right brain quite naturally. In fact, they use the right brain subconscious in advance of the logical, doubting left-brain. They act on creative, intuitive impulses. Adults, on the other hand, largely work out of the left-brain and need a lot of help in accessing this innocent, intuitive part of themselves. But, everyone has these genius-like capabilities. And they're hidden within the right hemisphere of the brain. The teaching focus is slightly different depending upon the age of the student.
Photographic Memory, Speed Reading/Listening, Imaging
Think of your brain as a camera. You are continually taking a mental photograph of everything you see--second by second, day after day. These picture images are always there--in the right brain--neatly filed and tucked away for later use. This auto-recording process is simultaneously happening through all the other senses--sound, smell, taste and touch. The right brain's mass-memory, automatic processing capability allows the brain to file, organize and store these images instantly.
One exciting way to utilize this function in learning is through the use of flashcards. Flashing images to yourself or your child quickly--at a rate of one image per second--allows you to input a large number of facts, stress-free, within a short period of time. Access to these mental images (memory!) comes quickly and effortlessly through deep relaxation techniques.
Memory can be enhanced through many exciting left and right brain linking techniques. You can also strengthen the photographic imaging (visualization) and subconscious memory intake through a unique right-brain "after-imaging" process.
Another way of stimulating your child's brain development process is by using the abacus for mental math education. When children use both hands to move abacus beads in arithmetic calculations, it stimulates cells in both the right and left sides of the brain. This results in quick, balanced whole brain development, leading to greater mental capacity. Using the abacus, a child can do all arithmetic calculations up to 10 digits without relying on an electronic calculator.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Tally Ho - Abacus Education for Mental Math
The teacher calls out a complex calculation, almost like an open challenge. A little boy, barely seven, comes forward and recites a seemingly funny rhyme. He also moves the yellow beads up and down and gets the answer down pat. No furious adding, counting or subtracting! Amazed?
Welcome to the world of abacus education, where rigid arithmetic takes a backseat and visuals and imagination gain center-stage. Here children learn to use the abacus, an ancient Chinese invention, to solve basic arithmetic sums with speed and accuracy. Institutes, which offer abacus education, claim that they use arithmetic as a tool to develop mind skills, memory and lateral thinking abilities.
Popular in Asian countries like Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, abacus education is relatively new in India. But several entrepreneurs have been quick to tap the business potential of this non-formal education tool.
Scientific theories associate the left hemisphere of the brain with numerical and academic abilities, and the right hemisphere with creativity and intelligence. Proponents of abacus education claim that while formal education focuses merely on left-brain development, the abacus brings about "whole brain development".
"If the brain is not developed at an early age, one's mental abilities can start declining by 20 years of age. That's why we must tap them young," says Dhaval Shrimankar, CEO, NurtureMinds.com.
The brain gyms - as these institutes are called - are not stand-alone entities, but, instead, operate through a network of local franchises in urban and semi-urban areas. The reach and popularity of abacus education can be gauged from the burgeoning franchisee network.
Today, the same innovative education is available in the US and Canada. The system has taken the home-school communities by the storm. Private centers just like Score or Kumon are springing up from west coast to the east coast.
As an alternative to investment for a franchise, books are directly sold to the interested customers. Many of the patrons take up on roles of tutors as well as franchise owners.
How does Abacus work?
The abacus consists of 13 vertical rods, separated into two sections by a horizontal bar. Each rod contains one bead in the upper section and four beads in the lower section.
When given a sum, the child recites a rhyme corresponding to the kind of calculation involved. This also makes learning fun and easy. Simultaneously, the child moves the required beads up and down. The position of each bead signifies a specific numerical value. At the end of the rhyme, the position of the beads touching the horizontal bar, gives the answer.
As the course advances, the abacus is taken away and the child is encouraged to picture the abacus mentally to come up with the answer. After sufficient training, the child becomes adept at moving the beads mentally and no longer needs to recite the rhyme aloud to arrive at the answer.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Why Asian Kids are Smart in Math?
We all, as parents, wish our kids are smart in Math. Pretty much like the Asian kids. Today's world has acknowledged the superiority and ingeniousity of the math skills of Asian kids. We as parents or teachers always indulge in the discussions of rote memorizing the times tables which results in dull boring way to tutor our children. Asians on the other hand have been using age old technique of Abacus education.
Abacus education fits right in this modern world. Abacus as a tool is used in many Asian schools, public and private, to teach children aged 3 through 8 the basic of mathematics. Abacus allows children to learn numbers and calculations with fun. When a child uses his/her finger to move the beads on the abacus, the collaboration between finger movements and brain creates a pictorial memory in the child's mind. When using the abacus the child makes use of both his hands and this movement spurs both parts of the brain the left and the right part together and initiates development of the cells. Abacus nurtures the minds of children making them quicker and more accurate. Abacus mental math is that wherein the child visualizes the image of the abacus in his mind and then calculates accordingly.
The abacus is the perfect way to make your child understand number systems. The abacus can adopt itself to any base system and allows you to quickly perform calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – even with decimal places. If you want your child to realize his potential and utilize it too then you need to put them on correct path of learning to be able to facilitate this. Math can be pretty daunting but if your child is able to master it then his confidence will grow manifold.
Obviously you don't envisage a future for your child totally dependent on the electronic calculator even for the smallest calculation. The present education scenario is fast leading to that. That is why many schools in Asia and elsewhere too have adopted the abacus formally for teaching mathematics.
Using the abacus also:
- Fosters a greater sense of numbers.
- Helps develop an intuitive understanding of numbers through their concrete representation.
- Fosters one's trust in the process of calculation by enabling one to observe it in action.
- Manifests the concept of decimal places and the progression of units by tens physically.
- Instantly accomplishes addition and subtraction when numbers are placed on the abacus.
- Improves understanding of compounded numbers (through the use of supplementary numbers for 5 and 10).
- Helps in developing the beneficial qualities of concentration, patience, and endurance.
- Fosters one's confidence in calculation.
- Uses a left to right calculation method, which makes quick estimation and rounding off possible.
- Works on the decimal rather than fractional system, an easy progression to digital systems.
- Develops mental calculation, which is the ultimate resource.
- Develops the right brain tremendously.
- Leads to greater mental capacity.
- Expresses large numbers simply and easily.
- Provides a sense of achievement as one's proficiency improves.
Performing activities based upon the abacus will not only improve the mathematical skills of your child but each successfully done task will boost the confidence of the child. The problem solving capability will be gradually built in him rather than being forced to cultivate it. You can ensure a bright future for your child as many other parents have done that already with these books and the abacus. And you can assure your child the confidence, endurance when it comes to performing math calculations.