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.