This post was written in response to some pms and emails regarding right brain training. In this post I’ve tried to answer some of the questions posted by readers. By all means, I’m no expert in this topic, but hopefully, by sharing some of my experiences here, it can help to encourage others to share too.
Both C and G started attending right brain classes when they turned one. I had little knowledge about this form of education when I started. All I knew back then, was that it involved some sort of memory training. Curious on how it worked, I read books on right brain education, asked the teachers, and trawled the internet for more information. Here is a little of what I’ve learnt over the past 5 years:
Right vs Left brain
Based on what is known today, the left brain is the logical brain responsible for words, logic, numbers, analysis, lists, linearity and sequence. The right brain is the creative brain and is responsible for rhythm, spatial awareness, colour, imagination, daydreaming, holistic awareness and dimension. The left brain processes information in a sequential and logical manner, requiring comprehension and memorization to input data. The right brain, on the other hand, is able to process massive amounts of information without requiring logical comprehension. In young children up to age 3, the right brain dominates. The dominance starts shifting to the left brain when the child turns 3, until age 6 when the left brain dominates.
So what is right brain training?
In right brain training, the objective is to utilize the right brain so that we are able to maintain the use of both hemispheres even as the child grows older. It has been likened to building muscle – the more the brain is used, the stronger the ability. If we don’t use it, we lose it. By using the abilities of the right brain to complement those of the left brain, we are able to tap the full potential of the human mind.
Although photographic memory training is also part of right brain education, it is not the only aspect. Other aspects of right brain education include senses training (ESP), observation skills, moral education, creativity, and intuitive maths calculations.
Isn’t she/he too young to be attending classes? He’s just turned one!
As mentioned earlier, the right brain is dominant when the child is younger, so it is definitely more beneficial to start as young as possible. Have you been amazed at the amount of details that your young child is able to remember? With training, the child is able to retain such abilities even as they grow older.
Contrary to what the word “training” conjures up, the classes are actually conducted in a non-stressful environment. The instructor continually reminds the parents that this is not a competition, to encourage the child even when they don’t get it correct. The child may not be able to “output” his knowledge at age one, but the results show themselves when they grow older.
What do you do during right brain classes?
As I’ve described in some of the earlier posts on Heguru classes, the classes typically involve high speed input of information to “activate” the right brain (because the left brain is not able to cope with such massive amounts of data in such a short time!). At such a pace, more than 60 activities can be done within a short 50-minute class.
One of the activities that I particularly enjoy is the story-telling, which encourages G to imagine himself doing certain activities. Note that this is different from pretend play – there are no props, everything depends on the imagination. He is encouraged to imagine the story using his five senses. How many classes do that?
Do you do home practice? What do you do?
Yes, I try to do it daily with G but activities vary. For some suggestions on home practice, you can refer to this earlier post. Recently G is very active, so I don’t do as many flashcards. Sometimes, when I’m really running short of time, I play ESP games (Which lift do you think is coming up first? Will you see a man or a woman? Will it rain tomorrow?).
Does right brain training work?
From my experience, yes it does. When C was younger, she did not show real output till she was about 3years old. She surprised us with knowledge that she learnt from flashcards and she has good visual memory. Academically, she puts these skills to good use, and teachers have commented that she is a fast learner. I believe that this is the result of her earlier right brain training. We will wait and see if G shows similar results (so far he has surprised us with pretty accurate weather forecasts!) After attending the classes, my memory has definitely improved too, with all the practice 😉
Please do share your experiences with right brain training 🙂