Making Sense of Right Brain Education

Ever since I learned about right brain education, I have been trying to make sense of how it works and understand its impact on brain development.  Due to a lack of written information available to me at the time, my only source of information has been through word of mouth and this was the understanding I obtained through various sources across the board…

TweedleWink believes that exposing your child to a range of subjects early on achieves two things:

1. When a baby is born, he has the most neurons he will ever have in his life, but there are very few connections between those neurons.  As he grows older, he begins to form more connections between the neurons.  This occurs because of stimuli from his environment.  Initially, there is no preference as to which connections are formed.  However, as he grows older, the connections that are used regularly undergo the process of myelination, while those connections that aren’t used are pruned away.  It is similar to the way our computers work – when we install too many programs, it slows down our computer.  By deleting the old programs we no longer use, we can make our computer run faster.

Exposure to information helps our baby to build neural connections.  Continual exposure across a broad range of topics helps to keep the various parts of the brain active and prevent them from being pruned off. An example is in learning languages.  A child that learns two languages early will have a better developed language center that facilitates the learning of new languages later in life.  A child that only learns one language will still be able to learn a second language later in life, but it will be much harder than it would be for a bilingual child.

2. Exposing your child to many different subjects and various bits of information when young is a little like populating the right brain with a library of information.  When your child is older and later exposed to those subjects, the learning becomes easier because he can access the subconscious library he has in his right brain.  For instance, they teach children the elements from the periodic table in TweedleWink and Heguru.  When these children have to learn the elements again in high school, the learning process is a lot easier because they have already seen the periodic table and can access memories from the subconscious right brain.

If this doesn’t make sense, think about a subject you learned at school.  Even if you can’t remember much of it now, I’ll bet if you had to learn it again, it would be much easier the second time around.  I often find this to be the case when I’m reading stuff I learned in school.  I wonder why it felt so difficult to learn back when I was in school when everything seems so easy now – that’s because I’m seeing it for the second time.

Based on the understanding that I have from Heguru, rapid flash card exposure and all the other right brain development activities you do with a child when young are purely to develop the right brain.  It is the activity more than the subject that is important.  You can think of it as brain exercise – the more you work the right brain, the stronger it becomes and the easier it is to tap into the right brain potential later in life.  Based on this philosophy, it is less about the information you are giving to the child than it is about stimulating the brain.

This is what I’ve understood about right brain education based on conversations I have had with various people.  Since then, I’ve discovered the availability of certain books which I feel will be able to provide me with a more complete overview of right brain education which may also correct any misconceptions I have.  If you are interested to learn more, here is my reading list:

  1. Right Brain Education in Infancy: Theory and Practice Theory and Practice – Shichida
  2. Children Can Change Through Right Brain Education – Shichida
  3. Right Brain Education: Changing the World, One Heart at a Time – Pamela Hickein

There is also another book available about the right brain which is written by Robert Orstein titled “The Right Mind: Making Sense of the Hemispheres“.  It makes reference to the split-brain studies spearheaded by Roger Sperry (who won the nobel prize for his experiments) that revealed the significant differences between the left and right brain.  It was Sperry’s research that paved the way for later right brain philosophies such as Tony Buzzan’s Mind Maps, Edward de Bono’s Six Hats of Thinking, and Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences – just to name a few.

As always, I will be back to report my findings so stay tuned.

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.

12 thoughts on “Making Sense of Right Brain Education

  1. Stimulation is vital somehow as you have just mentioned in your this most recent blog, this is also my experience with my darter, now she is 4+, while reading, speed reading as well as any other type of reading including flash card is so important since young is bcos we are basically creating memory power, she cant read mandarine, but she is able to recite “Ti Zi Qui”, able to recite all atomic numbers at age 3, all timetables from 1 to 12 ( thru listening of the CDs I bought), able to recognise flags of whole country and its capital with world around as well as location, 1 and half year, she liked planets and moons and able to recite the sequence of all planets and moons surronding certain funny planet like Saturn, I gave so many examples to testify that not just flash cards but thru speed reading is equally effective. I introduced all 400 english idiomatic expression to her and she is able to recite all in less than 4 days, again these are all done thru speed reading that eventually effectively enlarge their memory power irrespective of whether they really understand actual meaning of every that you have just taught at tender age, once they reached age 4, she will tell you : “mom, I am bubling with excitement”, “mom, silence is golden”, “mom, you are convivial” and etc, I experincedall these with my darter, from 0-3, thru a lot of flash cards (any kind) as well as reading ( any book) and all sort audio stuffs. My experience, never need to introduce maths too early, I bought GD’s dots cards, hardly use it, ( I felt boring), but I read to her from 1 to 20, quite repeatedly, she can repeat the sequence of 21 without telling, she dun understand what is 21 physically, however I think that was thru my repeatation to her that now she is 4 and she is able to do 505-236 and so on thru See’s Maths hands-on methods, it all blends in her without telling she needs to borrow from tens when it is not enuff like 15-6 and so on, so a combination of everything is the best path. Franckly, I dun know how Schicida’s method is conducted, only know Tweedlewink couple of days ago, know GD to the extend of intruction manual, so conclusion : vide profuse reading ( any form) ( for factual reading such as atomic number has to be fast and one or two times per day) for a period ofthree days, the fourth day she will recite back to you. So your article is genuine and honest as my experince fits squarely into all your various findings and research done as I am unaware of all methods in the market but only having faith that young baby is somehow “trainable”. Happy readin your blog and understand a lot of your findings of all educational philosophy appeared nowadays. huzza !

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  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It is always great to hear from other mothers who have paved the way before me. It is through your experiences that I learn and am better able to refine the activities I do with my kids. Hopefully through what I have documented here, other mothers new to early childhood development can learn, too.

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  3. Hi shen-li,
    I notice many parents having problem teaching mathematics to young child from 0-3, I have something to share here. My sincere experience is that just read the number to them, dun rush into telling them what is 25 except introducing the sound of 25 and it means 25 objects, that’s it, ( as right brain education is so pivotal from 0 to 3 from what I understood from Prof Schichida’s book and if rightly so it’s pointless to introduce logical and analytical skills at this age cos it is just practicallly not very right as early introduction of left analytical skill, I mean at 0 to 3 , would merely slow down the powerful functionality of right brain cos I personally feel left brain speed is somehow slower than right brain). Think here logically, right brain is alike computer database, never rejects infos and always stores the info somehow subtly, “stressfree” and “stressless”, imagine if one were to introduce logic at this period, what is that sufficient info for young child to retrieve from their brain when right brain is so empty with zero infos stored and so much so enabling them to think logically ?
    At 3 and half years, one may then slowly introduce what is 0-10 ( the foundation of all mathematical solution) , what zero or one encompass, then addition between 1 to 10 ( that’s all), I m using SEE’s Maths mathod cos I found it very attractive and effective, cos it is like whole lots of games, and it actually and clearly enchancing visualization skill cos the child needs to hands-on doing it and later on visualize it and later on get very exciting about that. ( Again I think this fits the right brain theory for instance thru early reading of say number 3 to my darter, now she knows actual 3, retrieve from her memory the 3 and put it to this actual object of 3, dunt you think this sound perfect cos logic comes naturally without parents actually tell them ? I think corpus collosum plays important part at this stage, correct me if I m wrong). Again I have just said my darter has very powerful memory skill, she can recite all 32 pages of her favourite book at age 2+ but she dun understand what is 2+3, and she can’t differenciate between 23 and 32 and 132 and 123 except she can recite from 1 to 100, so I was a bit worry then, ( BUT the very important point here is NEVER FORCE, NEVER TEST, NEVER TEST, I stress here), let her be.
    At 3+, when her teacher intoduced SEE’s maths, I vow to say she blossomed since then cos everything comes so easy and natural to her now and at 4y5m now, she can now do 1000-456, I have reason for this progress as imagine right brain is so powerfull and I have done enough and right stimulations to that part of her brain and she remembers everything I read and deliberately stored all in her brain ( liking computer database, never reject inputs and when time is right all infos would be rightfully retrieved). Again my sincere advice to all parents are: NEVER like to test your baby especially when they are so young.
    I must say same old thing happened to Phonics. I think it is alrite to tell and read to them all the sounds but the most important is still profuse reading, at 3+, she still cant read except memorising books I read to her before, not new book, so then I engaged her to phonics ( same times I introduce maths to her), to my amazement, she can now read her own and I was somehow being exonerated of my heary task to have to read to her everyday). Now she is reading books beyond her age, I guess this is rightly so of my groundworks ( stimulation) done to her since young and she can now read human antomy encyp. by herself, of course I must say kids dun like to read their own all times, still parents are always advised to be around to read together when time permits.

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  4. Yes, agreed that we should never test. I made that mistake with my older boy because I didn’t know about right brain education back then. My second is now 6 months and I don’t intend to test him at all.

    I had trouble introducing the math program to my older boy because he was almost 3 when I bought the Doman Math Kit. My younger boy takes to it really well. When he starts to get bored, I introduce a new concept. We haven’t shown him figures, just the dots. I’ve done addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with him using only dot cards – no symbols, no numerals. I noticed that he perks up whenever there is a new concept being taught.

    My older boy is learning phonics in his preschool and we sort of do it at home, too, but not strictly. We mostly used whole word recognition and I think he can remember the words because from time to time he will read words to me. Sometimes he sees them written around and he reads them to me – like in a menu, or in the newspapers, on magazines, etc. I don’t ask him to read to me, but he’ll point it out himself.

    Gavin memorises his books as well. I tried to teach him to read when he was younger but he would tell me the story with his eyes on the pictures rather than the words, so I know he’s not reading the book.

    He likes me to read to him, too. I think children enjoy this because it’s bonding time between parent and child. It’s a good chance to sit together and have a cuddle while you’re doing something. For that reason, I try to read to them regularly.

    My older boy’s music appreciation is kind of unusual (he likes his Daddy’s old CDs that he used to play when back in Uni), but my younger son enjoys classical music so I usually play it in the background for him.

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  5. Actually you may test him discreetly by looking at his eyeball! If you say 5 and he turns his head to 5, that shows he knows and you just stop there. Besides, you may also put all cards on the floor and ask him to point and if he gets it rite, please clap your hands out loud and he will get very exciting to it cos young baby wants attention too, instead you just have to remind yourself not to do it too often and if he gets it wrong, you must not show any of your “dissapointing” face no matter how slight. Just pretence!!!!!! You would stress them if otherwise. I dun know why my darter has very active and extrovert personality yet very sensitive. Since you have 2 boys, so you must do it with full care and concerned. Your trouble will get thru if you may enquire more on SEE’s maths method, it is an easy understood method, I was told this method was created by one father to his own genius son from Malaysia and is dots maths with systematic pattern. Franckly if I know this method since my darter was born, i would have trained her to b a maths “nerd’. This method somehow more practicle and accurate than GD. The way i look at it , if a child has good memory since young, this practicle learning would become so easy and fun. However, you may find out to know more. Wish to read your findings to prove me wrong. Good nite, have a nice weekend.

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  6. Ah… I’m terrible at keeping the disappointed face in check so I think better not to test at all. It is easier to get excited when he reveals to me what he has learned.

    Please tell me what is SEE’s math methods. I meant to ask before. I’m not familiar with it. Is there a link you can direct me to?

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  7. I dont think there is any link to See’s Maths. In fact I know this via a neighboorhood kiddy school at Bandar Utama and the school principal sincerely asked me to let my darter learn maths since she didnt want to learn mandarine in the first instance as my intial intention was to learn mandarine. So from then onwards my darter attends only the maths class for a period of 30mins each for a period of two days in a week from a private teacher in that school.

    The principal was very kind to briefly bring me thru the method and materials they are using. The most important point here is not the materials but bcos the kids would not be given any worksheet to put to stress.

    First, they learn it verbally vide games , get to understand the concept of mathematics, visualise the games ( in fact the maths) and when they get familiarize with the entire concept ( maths) then they transfer it to paper. Of course I requested the founder’s contact number when I knew he is a Malaysian whom created this method long before GD ( Mr SEE, the founder told me) but the founder refused to teach me save thru the center due to licencing issue, being a lawyer I knew what he meant, so then I let my darter learned up this method with a teacher trained, attended the entire course organised by the founder and attached to this kiddy school, these all happened in last year May 2009. That time my darter knew only how to recite from 0 to 100, has almost bare knowledge of the work solutions even thou I tried to ask her to memorise say 15-5 as what was suggested by GD in GD’sparents instruction book but how about 15-6 !!!!?????? somehow I know it is not going to work cos maths has variations, how to memorise maths !!!! It was silly me!!!!!!!!!!.

    Nutshell, I dont mind to tell you but I dont know how except “showing” you how it is done, ( It is after all very easy, only the methods) because each number carry fixed pattern, say 1 means one chip, with specific sequence and pattern, (again right brain education still plays pivotal role here), the fundamental is between 0 to 10 and if a toddler or young learner able to know or roughly able to know 0-100, then they can play this game fruitfully. The reason is because say you have taught your young boy day by day putting all the chips by arranging it in the same similar patterns, (10 in a block, the rest are arranged the same way until 100, the child would know ten, 20, 30 , 40………………..) for instance, the moment you put one chip on the floor you say 1, you add one more to get pattern 2 then you read 2 to him, you add one chip to become pattern 3 then you say 3 and so on ( the activity alikes flashing dots maths everyday) to him. See’s maths is not miracle but is a practicle concept, by arranging the chips in sequence and telling him numbers arranged, you are basically teaching ALL maths concept under one-roof, basically you teach him quantity, plus, tens, number sequence, ascending order, minus as well as descending order by taking one chip away ( of course you need to teach plus before minus), all concepts are taught in one hands-on activity, it is different with GD where young kids learn the minus ” abstractly” say in GD you show 15, then you show again 5, you say this is minus then you show again 10, so 15-5 is 10, but SEE’s maths is not. See’s maths put all 15 chips on the floor and takes away 5, then left 10, to See’s maths, that is take away and dun need to stress minus or take away cos See’s maths do not view the process separately but it makes it a consequential process, a logic process, when you take away, it means minus, a very solid concept to young learner, this concept doesnt need to take a young learner 3 years to understand after I carefully compared these 2 methods and having it discussed this issue with parents who used GD cards before me and that is why I dun need to tell my darter how to do borrow say 14-5, she knows to take 5 away from tens and definately not from 4.

    It is my pleasure to show you, but how ????? I dun want to leave my contact number here, how leh!!!!????

    you only need to spend RM20 to buy either colourful or red mahjung chips.

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  8. Hi, I give the kiddy’s school number 7493 2375 and you may make more enquiry of this method with Lydia, principal from the school. Wish to read your comparative findings in this topics sometimes later as both parties using dots maths, ie GD with flasing dots on paper and SEE’s with hands-on dots.

    Should you enquire, I suggest you purchase bigger chips like 50-cents-coins from mahjung shop as easier to attract younger child’s attention. They dun sell all materials ( basically nothing for them to sell as well), u have it make that all yourself.

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  9. FZ – Thank you so much for that very detailed explanation. I think I get it. It is a very clever idea. I’ll try it out on my boys. I don’t know any mahjung shops though, but I guess anything that is about the same size could work?

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  10. Hi FZ, I am hoping to be in touch with you. I actually enquire at the number and the person who pick up the phone was nice enough to explain the whole thing to me. Same as what you mentioned above. She also mentioned that maybe they will not have a tuition class for my boy since I thought want to send once or twice a week. So maybe I can try to understand the concept and teach my son. I can understand why they use chips. But when I asked if it is 30=5, then have to show 30 chips is it? She said no, instead use 1 big chips to show 10, so will show 3 big chips and 5 small chips. Would that be a bit confusing? The chips are all the same colour? And how do they teach multiplication and division? She did say at 3 year, teach to recognise quantity and 4 yead only start addition.

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  11. FZ has shared SEE’s Method with me which I am supposed to write about – but haven’t gotten around to it yet! There’s so much info on early childhood development that I have more things to write than I have time for!

    Keep watching this space!

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