From the angle of science
There are numerous studies on the effects of usage of the abacus. They clearly proved that the ancient calculator is a modern mental tool. So, let’s see how the abacus affects children’s intelligence.
The researches were conducted at eminent universities in Europe and Africa (the University of Manchester, the University of Khartoum, University of Ulster), involving 3185 children aged 7-11 years, and it proved that the IQ in children who were part of the abacus mental arithmetic was higher by 7.11 points compared to children who did not participate in the program.
How the brain works
In order to properly present all the benefits of our program, it is necessary to understand how the brain works. The basic task of the brain is to collect and process information, and then provide answers by sending specific instructions to our body. The brain consists of two halves – the left and the right hemisphere. Each hemisphere controls the “opposite” side of our body, so the right hemisphere is in charge of our left side and processes what we see in the left eye, while the left hemisphere controls the right side and processes the right eye view. Both hemispheres are apparently identical, but there are differences in their functions.
The brain function theory was discovered by neuropsychologist Roger Sperry who received the Nobel Prize for this discovery. Sperry was observing the brain activity of a patient who had had the bridges between the right and left hemispheres removed surgically. By observing, he noticed that if the images and words came from the left, the patient couldn’t explain them because of the lack of connections between the two functionally different parts of the brain. This proves that the left and then right hemisphere have certain functions, but also that they complement each other. So we can say with certainty that our speech is controlled by the left half of the brain, whereas the right half is responsible for the visual and spatial recognition. However, both hemispheres work together collaborating with the most significant brain operations such as reasoning.
Left and right hemisphere
The left hemisphere is called a digital brain. It controls reading, writing, arithmetic and logical thinking … Therefore, the left hemisphere is our inner mathematician which calculates and analyzes.
The Right cerebral hemisphere is called analog brain and controls three-dimensional feeling, creativity and artistic senses. This hemisphere represents our inner artist, who is ready to play with the miraculous land of fantasy full of colours and images, shapes, dreams, imagination and intuition.
Here’s an example that illustrates how the left and right hemisphere work; Imagine a man who gives us instructions on how to get to a certain location. If it was a person with a more developed left hemisphere, the guidance would be: “From here, go three blocks straight and turn north in the Wine Street, then go along the street for three or four kilometers and then turn east on Third Boulevard.” A person with a dominant right hemisphere would sound something like this: “Turn right (pointing with the right hand), go to one church (shows again) and continue straight, when you pass the McDonalds at the next traffic light, turn right towards a gas station NIS.”
So the right hemisphere is non-verbal and intuitive, it rather uses images instead of words. Although the thinking of the right hemisphere is considered “more creative”, there is no right or wrong thinking, but only two different ways of thinking. One is no better than the other, and the right – handed is not “superior” to the left – handed. Both brain hemispheres work together in order to to allow the normal functioning of the organism. However, research has shown that with the majority of people one hemisphere is dominant. Most people most commonly use the left hemisphere, while the functions of the right brain hemisphere are often underdeveloped. An adult cannot properly understand the children’s world, because it is known that the right hemisphere is much more active with children. that’s why this magical “star world of imagination”, often looks strange and inaccessible…
Lateralization and learning problem
Obviously, the problem that arises with learning is caused by the functioning of our hemisphere. As we have seen, each of them is in charge of certain mental functions. The professional term describing this division is called lateralization. Because of this division, a learning problem occurs and because classical education favors the work of the left hemisphere, while the creative right hemisphere remains neglected.
Therefore, since the right hemisphere is also active, it seeks some kind of work for itself. It does the only thing left for it – it starts to imagine! By imagining a child loses the attention necessary for learning, and the loss of concentration occurs, resulting in poor memory. Since children dominantly use their left hemisphere while learning, this could be graphically described as “walking on one foot” instead of using both. It is therefore important to develop evenly and to simultaneously use both of the brain hemispheres.
How to activate both hemispheres ?
It is known that many discoveries and inventions saw the light of day, thanks to the use of the right hemisphere. Nikola Tesla, Einstein or Mendeleev, were not only great scientists, but also great inventors and visionaries. The power of imagination that they possessed contributed to their great discoveries, in addition to experiments. And, through creative thinking and imagination it led them to possible solutions. The abovementioned giants undoubtedly had the power to use both of their brain hemispheres! One of the most important moments in the brain development is the period from the fourth to the twelfth year. It is a lifetime in which the child’s brain resembles a dramatic stage where a huge number of stimuli are constantly being created. At the level of the nerve impulses, these stimuli represent a true “electrical storm” in which the functions of the brain’s hemispheres are continually confronted. This is a period when both hemisphere are ‘fighting ‘for domination and, unfortunately, after it one will come out as a ‘winner’ and a dominant side of our brain. Thus, once again, the division of mental functions between the left and right hemisphere of the brain will occur. It is of most importance for children at this age not to miss the unique chance to learn the simultaneous use of both brain hemispheres.
Is there a suitable training for brain, besides playing chess or solving crosswords? Of course there is! Thanks to the principles mentioned above, a special method has been developed to activate the right hemisphere and exploit its endless potentials. The mental arithmetic program is the most effective method of brain training, which brings the best results. The school of mental arithmetic Kid Genius develops children’s mental abilities by activating both brain cerebral hemispheres. By using both sides of the brain, the child becomes a real “little genius” who will possess the skills they acquired for the rest of his life. In this way, our “little geniuses” eventually become successful and accomplished people.