Right Brain Education in Infancy by Makoto Shichida – Part 1

Right Brain Education in Infancy by Makoto Shichida – Part 1: Lightning Speed Calculations

I know I promised to write more about Right Brain Education after getting through my reading list but I’m a slow reader so you’ll have to bear with me.  Being a Mum of an active child and a demanding baby plus the hundred other things I want to do with my spare time doesn’t help either.  Right now I’m reading Right Brain Education: Changing the World, One Heart at a Time and Right Brain Education in Infancy: Theory and Practice Theory and Practice concurrently.  Though I’m only on Chapter Three of Shichida’s book, I felt a need to record some of my thoughts to consolidate what I’ve read so far.

The first chapter is about a child’s amazing ability to perform computer-like calculations.  I’m sure some of us are familiar with people like this but I’ll bet you thought this was something only a very select few individuals were gifted enough to achieve.  Such individuals are often referred to as Savants. It is also sometimes referred to as Savant’s Syndrome which is not a medical diagnosis in itself but a term used to define individuals who have amazing abilities despite having a developmental disorder, such as Autism or brain damage.  The reason for this brilliance is related to their right brain dominance.

After reading something like that, I can understand why there is such a negative reception towards right brain education by some individuals.  It is the belief that right brain education is only for brain damaged individuals, or children with ADD, etc.  Who would want their child to go for right brain education when it is supposed to be something for children with ADD?  Wouldn’t attending right brain education mean there’s a problem with my child’s learning ability?

Right brain education may have had its roots in the treatment of developmental disorders but it doesn’t mean it cannot be applied to “normal” children with equally fantastic results.  But I’m not here to pitch right brain education.  This was merely a clarification as to why some people are against right brain education which I finally understand.  Moving on…

According to Shichida, any child can develop the ability to perform computer-like calculations given the proper right brain education from young.  Though we refer to such lightning speed calculations as being “computer-like”, Shichida maintains that it is the machines that mimic the human brain.  In other words, we created machines to copy our ability to perform such rapid calculations.

Interestingly, the ability to calculate is a function of the left brain.  However, the ability to perform lightning-speed calculations has been recorded to be a right brain function.  This is related to the fact that the right brain is an imaging brain.  This underlines the importance of “imaging” (one of the activities in right brain education) in developing the right brain.  Of all the various right brain activities, imaging is the only one that is solely a right brain function.  All other activities performed in right brain education engage both right and left hemispheres.  I think might have read that last bit from Pam’s book.  That’s the problem when you read two books concurrently – you forget which one said what.

My take home message – if you want to develop your right brain (this goes for adults who are left brain dominant), practice imaging.  The Wink resources from Right Brain Kids provide a lot of useful exercises that are appropriate for older kids and adults.  I’m afraid that’s all I have time for today, but I’ll write about a more controversial topic of Shichida’s on Extra Sensory Perception soon.

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 in Infancy by Makoto Shichida – Part 1

  1. Hey thanks for sharing all this. Have you ever tried Wink before? Am thinking whether I should invest in the the Wink overview course (it is now 50% off at the book fair in Mines) since would like to try it out myself and I think my son already left brain dominant already since he can talk in full sentences. Hegeru is really lacking in terms of support material for at home.

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  2. Yes, I bought the entire Wink kit. I started it on Gavin earlier this year but stopped it after talking to Wennie from TW. She felt it was too soon to be doing Wink with Gavin. Even though I told her that Gavin was already very left brain oriented. He talks a lot, he reasons with me, he asks why – all the left brain traits. But she said as long as he still doesn’t tell the time – which he doesn’t except for the o’clocks – it’s still ok.

    According to Wennie, Wink is for older kids and adults who have already moved to the left brain. Although they say that Wink is for 4 years plus, she believes you should try to hold off doing Wink for longer. She said that Wink is the left brain’s right brain activities. Hope that made sense.

    However, if you look at the Heguru activities, you will notice that some of the stuff they do are pretty similar to Wink. It’s just a modified Wink. So if your son is already going to Heguru, then he’s already doing Wink activities. Heguru (and apparently Shichida) believes that you should develop both the left and right brain together. I think this is where they differ from TW.

    I think Wink materials are good supplementary home materials for some of the things they do in Heguru class. If I do stop Gavin’s Heguru classes, I would definitely do Wink with him at home.

    I agree, Heguru really lacks materials at home. I bought my own supplementary stuff. Wink has linking memory but the presentation is more like Shichida than Heguru. I use flashcards to do the Heguru-style linking memory. I also bought Mandala activity books and a photographic memory kit for children online. The only thing I don’t have are the Iroita and Tanguramu puzzles. Heguru sells the puzzle pieces but they don’t sell the puzzles – unless you get your son to re-do the ones he does in class.

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  3. Hey there, just saw your reply on my comment. Thanks so much again for sharing – you do not know how much this has helped me. Another thing I dont like about Hegeru is that they do not explain why we do this/that and it is only after I read Pamela’s book, I went “ohhhhhhhhh”. The reason why I continue Hegeru (I was very close to quitting) is because I can see the improvements in terms of his ability to sit down, paying attention, sharing and taking turns. I was very pleased with these and Ben looks forward to the classes each week. Well, I guess I will have to see first on 22 June about TW. Have you heard before of BrainGym also? I want to do more search ever since I read Pamela’s book and how it is more physical since Ben loves to run around very much.

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  4. Yes. Reading the books from Shichida and TW has really helped me understand a lot more about Right Brain education. There are now so many more “ah ha!” moments. Now I get why they do the “super flash” in Heguru. I used to wonder what was the point of showing such rapid flash cards in a language our children don’t understand. Now I get it.

    Gavin enjoys both TW and Heguru so we are hard pressed to drop one. It seems a bit much to send him to both so I’ve been trying to press him to make a decision to drop one. It looks like it might be Heguru although he is still very keen to go.

    Yes, I heard of BrainGym but have never been to check it out. I’m not even sure where they are located. I understand the concept though. I’m guessing their philosophy is based on Glenn Doman’s work. Doman found that physical activity helped to develop the brain which helped brain damaged children catch up in their development to normal children. I’ve also read somewhere that crawling is a recommended milestone that your child should not skip because it’s good for developing the corpus callosum (the bridge between right and left brains). It’s definitely worth checking out.

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  5. Hi, would like to know whether the book of ‘right brain education in infancy’ can be found in MPH bookstore?! I’m interested to get one. Thks

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  6. Unfortunately not. You can only get it from the Shichida website from Japan:

    http://shichida.co.jp/

    The website is currently unavailable because of the earthquake.

    If you can read Chinese, you might like to try Popular. I was told that they have some there. I don’t know the titles and never looked anyway because I can’t read Chinese.

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  7. Hi, i am a mother of 2+years old boy and i wondering to enrol for Heguru and dropped Kindermusik as my boy keen to go Kindermusik every weekend. I am a working mum and don’t have much time with my boy. I went to trial class in Heguru but I feel my boy is disturbing the others while he can’t sit still in the class. He only take parts when there are motion activities. I am wondering Heguru helps while it doesn’t have bring home materials and if don’t practice at home will it helps ? What if i bought materials and train him at home ? Distance also one of my factor of consideration for enrolment.

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    1. Hi KY – If Heguru is not convenient to attend, you can also consider TweedleWink (in NeoDamansara, Puchong, and Klang), and Shichida (in Bandar Utama and KL City Center). TweedleWink is more free and easy so your son will not feel so constained to have to sit down all the time. They encourage motion there. As for home activities, I spoke to Ruiko Henmi, the founder of Heguru and she said the number one activity to do at home is read stories to your child. So if you don’t have time for anything else, then just do that. I think, as parents, most of us are already reading books to our children, so this is an easy one to meet. The second thing, if you have time, is to do flash cards. The most time consuming part of flash cards is preparation, so download them from the internet to save yourself the time preparing them.

      Personally, although I think Kindermusik is fun and entertaining, if I had to choose one, I would rather send my child to a right brain development class. That’s just my point of view. Because I feel I can do the activities they do in Kindermusik at home with my son. Whereas, the stuff in a right brain class is much harder to prepare at home so I feel it is more worthwhile. Plus the benefits of right brain development extends beyond music.

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