The reason why I embarked on right brain education was through the hope that I might help my children develop abilities that will facilitate their schooling years. I am glad to say that I have come a long way since that initial intention. My desire to see them continue their right brain education has gone beyond the petty reasons, such as simply having photographic memory or being able to speed read. Having learned more about the purpose of right brain education through Shichida’s manuals, I am beginning to see his vision for helping to develop the genius potential within our children. If I once believed that right brain education was simply a “nice to have” but not essential, I now believe it forms a vital part of every child’s development.
There are a lot of criticisms about teaching young children and I understand many of the good intentions behind them. Now I would like to address some of the arguments that I have heard:
- they’re only children, let them enjoy their childhood;
- what’s the purpose of teaching a child to rote learn information if the child doesn’t understand the material;
- learning how to memorise information does not teach a child to think – we want children who are capable of thinking, not parroting.
I will answer these arguments from the point of view of right brain education (I’ll call it right brain education since that is the term we are all most familiar with).
Firstly, they’re only children, they should be enjoying their childhood. I completely agree with this sentiment, which is why I believe right brain education is the way to go. The conflict lies in the fact that we associate learning with stress and pressure. The reason why we make this connection is because much of the schooling systems we have been through are left brain oriented. The left brain learns best under stress, so what we remember is that learning was not fun at all, it was stressful.
Right brain education, on the other hand, is about educating a child with love in a fun and stress-free environment. The fundamental principle is that a child who feels stressed is unable to access the right brain. Therefore, a child who is learning through right brain methods is having fun and enjoying childhood. Many right brain activities are played as games. If a child does not enjoy the game, we stop.
What is the purpose of teaching a child to rote learn? I think the question might be due to the fact that right brain education involves the use of flashcards. The children are taught a lot of complex information, like the Periodic Table, which are information they don’t really understand. The purpose of flashcards is to train the image function of the right brain rather than for rote learning. The flashing of images in rapid succession helps to develop the image function. Although, that said, since the right brain has the capability for recalling information via photographic memory, the child inevitably learns these complex subjects as well.
Learning how to memorise information does not help a child learn to think. Indeed, Shichida agrees that information that is memorised with the left brain is pure rote learning – which is the way most of us memorise information. However, that which is absorbed by the right brain inspires imagination and creativity. With right brain education, we are not teaching children to memorise information that they can parrot back, we are helping them learn to absorb information rapidly so that they may use it creatively in the way that geniuses in our history have used information to change the world.
As I said in my earlier post about left brain/right brain and whole brain education – it is important not only to use the right brain well, but to be able to use the left and right brain cohesively – as a smoothly functioning unit. Being able to use the right brain excellently – that is what Savants do. Being able to use the left brain excellently – that is what many ordinary people do. Being able to use the right and left brains excellently – that is what geniuses do. As educators, it is our responsibility to help our children maximise their poentials. Within each child is the potential for genius. With whole brain education, we can raise children with the ability to utilise that potential and make a difference to the future.