Right Brain Education – Dispelling the Myths

I apologise if this blog seems to be rather right brain obsessed of late but much of my focus has been in that area as I’ve been trying to decide which is the best place to send my kids.  It seems excessive to send them to two places, but I haven’t been able to decide which is the better school for them.  One of the best ways to clarify my thoughts is to write about them, so here we go…

The more I explore the right brain education programs available out there, the more questions I have.  The disparity is basically between Shichida/Heguru and TweedleWink.  Having been born from the same master, I think Shichida and Heguru classes are bound to be similar (even if I have yet to attend a Shichida class).  Any minor differences I think would likely be negligible in its impact upon the children.  That said, I’ve decided not to pursue classes at Shichida for several reasons (all of which have nothing to do with their program):

1. I can’t afford the time required to take the compulsory parent’s course.

2. The waiting list at Centerpoint is too long for me to bother with them.  It would be too disruptive to start Gavin and Gareth elsewhere and shift them to Shichida if and when a slot becomes available.

3. I dislike the branch at Wisma Lim Foo Yong because it’s in the heart of the city and the traffic will kill me.  Not to mention Gareth would never tolerate the stop/start driving.  I also dislike it because the carpark is dingy and too quiet – not very safe for a Mum and young child.

So that leaves me with Heguru and TweedleWink…

One of the reasons why I considered the move to TweedleWink was because the program seemed gentler and less intense.  My first class at Heguru left me breathless.  I did wonder if it might be too intense for a child, let alone a baby.  One of the philosophies of TweedleWink is that you should flash your cards at the rate of your child’s heart beat.  They believe that the flashcard rate at Heguru (3 cards per second) was potentially harmful to a child and could lead to difficulties in concentration later on.

Initially, I was concerned.  But my thoughts have been running over time and after a recent conversation with Yuly (the person who runs Heguru in Malaysia) I feel more at ease.  I felt it was only fair hear Yuly’s out since I’d already listend to Wennie’s views.  Yuly approached me after class on Thursday after reading what I’d written about Heguru on this blog.  I had a good, albeit brief, discussion with her about Heguru, Shichida and TweedleWink.  She was prepared to share more but with Gavin scaling the walls and my MIL waiting at home with Gareth, I had to take my leave before I was ready to.

Anyway, here are the counter-arguments to the TweedleWink philosophy – both my own thoughts that have been floating around in my head for some time now and some of what Yuly has shared with me:

1. Shichida and Heguru have been around long enough for several generations of children to have gone through the program.  If there were harmful effects to be associated with such rapid flashcard rates then surely we would have seen it by now.

2. Additionally, if the rate of 3 cards per second is harmful, I can’t imagine what cartoons would be doing to children since they are essentially the flashing of thousands of pictures at a far more rapid pace.

3. At home, I do the Doman reading and Math programs with Gavin and Gareth.  I find that if I flash the cards too slowly, I cannot maintain their attention.  By increasing my pace of flashing (definitely faster than one per second), I find Gareth, especially, will keep his gaze riveted on the flashcards.  In Gareth’s case, faster was definitely better.

TweedleWink also talked about the Linking Memory program drawing out the left brain too early if the children are exposed to it prior to the emergence of the left brain.  Now this is the part I haven’t been able to consolidate in my head until now.  Linking Memory may be targeting the left brain but isn’t speech also a left-brain function?  If you don’t want to draw out the left brain too early then you should also discourage your child from reading and speaking early because these are both left brain activities.  Yet, if you follow Doman and the Montessori philosophy, you should begin teaching these as early as possible – or, as the Montessori approach says, when your child is in the absorbent state – because that is when it is easiest for your child to learn.

So that dispels the concerns I might have had against continuing Gavin and starting Gareth at Heguru.  Now that Heguru is back under consideration – which school?

I realise that I am the one who was more comfortable with the approach at TweedleWink.  However, just because I prefer it doesn’t mean my kids agree.  Gavin loves his class at Heguru.  When I told him I was going to stop his class, he was actually upset.  One of the things he loves best – which he told me – was his sensei.  His favourite activity is linking memory.

At the end of the day, the best school for the kids is the one that they enjoy most.  The fundamental principle of right brain development is positive emotion.  The children need to be happy where they are.  If they aren’t happy, they aren’t learning.

I was initially reluctant to continue Gavin on Heguru and start him on TweedleWink because he’s already got a music program as well.  But when I talked to Gavin, he told me he doesn’t like music class and that he wants to drop that instead.  He pleaded with me to let him continue Heguru.  So I guess the child has spoken…

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

8 thoughts on “Right Brain Education – Dispelling the Myths

  1. Although age 0-3 is the best age for right brain training, it doesn’t mean we only train the right brain. We should train the right brain and get it connected to the left, which is what Shichida (& probably Heguru) attempts to do.

    My 15 months old loves linking memory and has started uncovering the correct covered pictures. (We practise almost daily.) I think most children love learning through stories and songs.

    The principal at Shichida mentioned letting the children concentrate on left-right brain classes and home practices for the first 3 years. From 4 onwards, then let them choose the enrichment classes (music, dance, art & craft, etc.) they are interested in. Presumably by then, the parent has exposed them to sufficient basic concepts of the various areas, for them to display a preference.

    Prepare Gavin that he may have a change of sinsei. I’d be concerned if my boy is too attached to a teacher, in case a staff change affects his mood for learning. (Interestingly, there is a LONG paragraph explaining this area on my boy’s Shichida term renewal sheet. The centre is also concerned when parents like a teacher too much!)

    Like

  2. Yes, that is Heguru philosophy as well. Heguru and Shichida grew up together with the same parents, therefore share similar philosophies.

    Gavin has loved stories since… heck, I can’t even remember when. I think that’s why he loves linking memory best. I do linking memory with him at home but never really tested him. One day I just asked him out of the blue to tell me a series of cards in the middle of the sequence and he got most of them all right. I always thought he was just listening to the story but didn’t really think he was remembering it.

    Perhaps that’s the way to go – let him continue Heguru/TweedleWink until he’s four then let him sign up for ECAs at school that he wants to do.

    I think Gavin does pretty well with most of his teachers. He likes his teachers at Kinderland, too. He can be slow to warm up but he warms up real well. His favourite teacher from last year left Kinderland but he made the transition quite well. I guess I just don’t want to upset his routine unnecessarily but I know he can manage if needs be.

    Like

  3. For 2-yr olds, they can practise with up to 50 linking memory cards. With regular practice, Gavin would be able to manage more. 🙂

    I read from Shichida’s note that children under 6 shd be able to handle change of teachers quite well.

    Like

  4. Gavin has been doing linking memory on and off but I have never really checked to see how much he can remember. But I have noticed that practicing at home has helped him perform better in class.

    I always thought handling a change in teachers or even environment, for that matter, was more of an individual thing. Even now I hate changes in situations, although I can adapt well when given my own time. I think Gavin is like me in that sense.

    Like

  5. I have sent my boy to tweedle wink for 6 months (since he was 3 months old) – I feel that their right brain development is incomplete. I have an older daughter that started shichida since 1 year old and now she is coming to 4 yr old next week – The output is really amazing especially her memory power for the violin pieces she plays. Heguru is too far for me, but I’m glad that you’ve wrote about it 🙂 Thanks

    Like

    1. Lynn – Gareth has been at TW since he was 5 months and he has been there for over a year now. I like the program because he responds well to it. He enjoys the classes and he is particularly attentive to the music part which he loves. He recently started recognising words – dog, duck, cheese, milk. The first two, he said himself when he saw the words. Milk and cheese I tested him although he doesn’t appear to like being tested because he shuts off very quickly. Admittedly, I do flash cards at home with him (Doman and Little Reader) so I don’t know how much he’s picked up from my efforts and from TW (he also watches the TW DVDs at home).

      Like

  6. Hi Lynn, glad to hear your Shichida testimony. I’ve always thought of Shichida and Heguru to be better choices for right-brain development, whereareas Tweedlewink seems to be a Montesorri-based centre that has incorporated right-brain training techniques.

    Btw, my boy has undergone Shichida classes for a year since 14 months old too. His memory seems very good — remembers many linking memory cards, sing and recite numbers in reverse order, sings many songs with good rhythm and complete lyrics, etc.

    May I know where your girl learns music? We’re looking into piano / violin classes if he’s interested in a year or two. Please reply here or email me at http://www.mummysreviews.com/contact-me/

    Thank you very much! 🙂

    Like

    1. MieVee – I thought that initially about TweedleWink, too, but I think it is because their philosophy is slightly different. The right brain development areas they appear to be “missing” are incorporated later when the children are older and it is done as part of the “Wink” program. This is where they differ from Heguru and Shichida who both start these elements right from the beginning.

      Gavin’s been in Heguru for a year and a half and I think his photographic memory is beginning to emerge. Previously, I was unable to comment because I could not see how Heguru was shaping him. Lately, especially since we started the dinosaur program at home, I have noticed him pick up information about the dinosaurs after one reading. He can remember the page and the position where the text appeared. I can’t even remember reading it! He’s also getting better with linking memory, space memory and mandala.

      Like

Leave a Reply to Lynn Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: