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During my research about right brain education online, I’ve come to realise that there are a lot of queries on forums regarding what the differences are between Shichida, Heguru and TweedleWink. Having had the same questions in my mind, I tried to find out as much as possible and this is what I have been made to understand about these three programs.
There is a pretty good introduction to how right brain education came about in “How to Bring Out Your Child’s Genius in Just 10 Minutes a Day“. This is the gist of it:
The forerunner in early childhood education was Glenn Doman. His work began with brain-injured children. His program focused on helping brain injured children catch up with their developmentally normal peers. When his program worked so well, he decided to try it on “normal” children as a form of an accelerated learning program.
About the same time, Sperry released his ground-breaking research about the difference personalities of the left and right brain. This research opened the doors to further brain research and the development of many accelerated learning programs by names such as Tony Buzzan, Edward de Bono, Ivan Barzakov, Barbara Meister Vitale, Colin Rose, Betty Edwards, Don Campbell, and Eric Jensen, etc.
The story then continues that Makoto Shichida took this information and developed an educational program targeting very young children following these accelerated learning techniques. However, according to the Shichida brochure, however, it states that Makoto Shichida had already begun talking about the importance of harnessing the right brain potential three years before the release of Ornstein and Sperry’s research.
Shichida’s methods were so successful that a Japanese business man bought his methods and created a franchise of Shichida centers all over Japan. Okay, this is the part where rumour comes in – I read somewhere that Shichida and Heguru were originally the same group, so I’m assuming that the business man who bought the Shichida method was Hirotada Henmi, founder of Heguru. For unknown reasons, they separated to form their own right brain schools – Shichida and Heguru.
This would definitely explain the similarity between the Shichida and Heguru programs. Some parents who have taken their children to both classes have said that they are pretty much the same, although one parent has told me that there are some differences.
TweedleWink is slightly different. Founded later than the other two programs, the TweedleWink program originated from a Montessori school that began to incorporate the accelerated learning techniques with the principles of the Montessori Method. Some of the other teachings they adopted were from Glenn Doman, Makoto Shichida, Betty Edwards, Barbara Meister Vitale, and Colin Rose – to name a few.
Though there are similarities between TweedleWink and the Shichida/Heguru program, the distinct differences are:
- Pace – TweedleWink believes in following the body’s natural rhythm. Flashcards should be presented at the same pace as the heart beat. Both Shichida and Heguru flash cards very rapidly – as seen in the Heguru video.
- ESP – there are no ESP activities in the TweedleWink program. Both Shichida and Heguru incorporate activities designed to develop a child’s ESP potential.
- Repetitions – TweedleWink believes there should be fewer repetitions because repetition is the learning style of the left brain. The right brain, which is photographic, captures new material instantaneously and does not require repetition. Repetitions in Shichida and Heguru fall in between Doman’s 3 x day for 5 days and TweedleWink’s once a day for 3 days.
- Movement – TweedleWink believes in the importance of movement to enhance learning. Children, especially boys, need to move to absorb new material. Shichida and Heguru is more structured.
- Testing – TweedleWink believes that there should be no testing of the children as this promotes left brain bridging and reduces the right brain potential. The philosophy is relationship first. By virtue of the activities performed in Heguru (I don’t know about Shichida since I’ve never attended their classes), there is some testing occurring although it is very low-key.
There are some similarities and differences between the activities conducted in class. This is where I will talk only about Heguru as I do not have any Shichida experience.
TweedleWink classes are set up to cover the following categories per lesson:
- Perfect Pitch
- Classical Music
Activities in Heguru that are not included in TweedleWink:
- Linking Memory (at least not for children under 4 years)
- Mandala practice
- Tangram puzzles
- ESP games