Abacus, the ancient calculating device has attracted educationists and scientists equally. Probably, the reason could be its advent almost 3000 years back and the simplicity it provided to calculate the complex numerical needs of that generation. The magical speed and accuracy that an Abacus user showed became a subject of research for the scientists of the 20th century.
The studies have shown that the abacus method of mental calculation is effective in the development of the right brain. Initially this idea was only a hypothesis. The recent development of high-tech machinery has helped provide tangible research and support data to the above hypothesis.
In this section, let us acquaint ourselves with the information available from the eminent researchers who studied the effects of abacus training on children.
We can credit the study of effects of Abacus training on human brain to these 3 scholars and scientists, namely Dr. Toshio Hayashi, Prof. Shizuko Amaiwa and Ms. Kimiko Kawano.
Development of human brain
This cerebral neocortex does not fully function at the time of birth. This is why children grow up well in many aspects if they receive appropriate stimuli that develop the nerve cells in the neocortex…
Nerve cells in the neocortex consist of 14 billion sets of motor nerves and sensory nerves…
We can activate the nerve cells by providing “stimuli”.
Moving fingers and talking aloud lead to activation by providing appropriate stimuli in the large part of sensory to motor domains in the cerebral neocortex…
In this sense, starting abacus learning as young as possible is useful in activating the brains of young children.
If they come to like learning the abacus and move the beads on the abacus with fun, they will receive benefits from this experience. There is a key in making abacus-learning fun for young children so that they will grow to like it….
Dr. Toshio Hayashi, Doctor of Engineering Professor, Osaka Prefecture University, Director, Research Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (RIAST)
Development of the right brain by the abacus method of mental calculation
The human brain consists of the right brain and the left brain…
The left brain is also referred to as the digital brain. It controls reading and writing, calculation, and logical thinking. It controls three-dimensional sense, creativity, and artistic senses….
Right brain & Dementia, we need to develop an education system that would train the students’ right brain first. In addition, it is also found that if one trains the right brain, it is less likely to get dementia….
In the abacus method of mental calculation, the learners manipulate abacus beads in their head to carry out a calculation. This had led us to speculate that this operation was effective in training the right brain…
The development of cerebral physiology and machines accurately measure the amount of blood flow in the brain, recent studies have proven that the abacus method of mental calculation is extremely effective in activating the right brain.
…completion of abacus learning ensures the mastery of the mental calculation.
The improvement of numerical memory
Abacus students are found to be superior in the accuracy of their memory and the number of digits they are able to memorize when compared with non-abacus learners of the same age. This is because abacus students place numbers on the abacus image in their head as they mentally calculate with the abacus method. The retention of the numbers is certain…
Ms. Shizuko Amaiwa, Professor, Shinshu University, Faculty of Education
To acquire the ability to calculate rapidly and accurately and to calculate mentally
One of the advantages of abacus study is that learners can calculate simple mathematical problems rapidly and accurately. In addition, they acquire the ability of do mental calculation utilizing the abacus image, which allows quick calculation without actually using the abacus…
These characteristics show positive ripple effects on the solution of various mathematical problems. On the other hand, the non Abacus learners' calculation methods become fixed, and the students tend to lack flexibility in thinking out innovative ways to solve problems…
…some measures must be taken to keep the learners from being bored, since repetition of simple procedures is often accompanied by boredom…
Ms. Shizuko Amaiwa, Professor, Shinshu University, Faculty of Education
Verbal thinking and image processing (Visualization)
Usually, ordinary people calculate in their mind using inner voice, as in one hundred minus 7 is 93…
..abacus users simply visualize an image of abacus in their head. They do not replace the image into words. This difference can be seen clearly in the EEGs.
What is important is that the ability to visualize can be put to use for other subjects and behaviors…
The ability developed by abacas can be used effectively in different ways…
..for the beginners, abacus learning is useful to easily grasp images in addition and subtraction problems, because the beads are moving in front of their eyes. It also allows understanding the decimal system…
Ms. Kimiko Kawano, Researcher, Nippon Medical School, Center for Informatics and SciencesSource: http://www.shuzan.jp/english/brain/brain.html
Realizing the need of the hour, Master Mind soon stepped into providing abacus education solutions to children through its exclusive program.
Our team of experts during live research concluded that the entire abacus training system has various flaws. To name a few-
1. Variant calculating systems in schools and abacus classes
2. Monotonous methods of teaching
3. Lack of interest among students beyond third level etc.
The above only resulted into students opting out of abacus training program mid-way. Hardly 10 % of students actually graduated through all 10 levels.
Master Mind through its vast network of franchises over the world serves a large number of students which is increasing every hour. For its quality services and educational solutions the company has gained immense appreciation from the community.
To ensure superior programs for our students, we have developed techniques syncing with the latest technology keeping intact the sanctity of Abacus. It also understands the child’s psychology so as to give them a joyful experience through the 2 and half years of Abacus training. Our program overcomes flaws that were encountered with the then available Abacus training systems. Here is a brief description on our developments-
1. School Curriculum Based Calculating Systems: All abacus programs widely follow the same pattern in which the calculations are done left to right whereas, the schools teach calculations from right to left. This creates a conflict making it difficult for children to adapt the varying patterns.
Our Abacus program (unlike the other abacus companies) has been developed in synchronization with the methods taught in schools. We do not believe in complicating the subject by confusing the child; rather make it simplified and friendly.
2. Speed Building Software (Online Games) Professor Shinshu University has stated that certain measures should be taken while training kids on abacus as the repetition of simple methods are accompanied by boredom.
The above finding seems to be true as the Abacus course is designed for duration of 2 to 2 and half years, during which the children have to keep practicing regularly that makes it repetitive, ultimately resulting into dropouts. Whereas, our Speed Building Software, a game based video program promotes regular practice as it is perceived by the trainees more as a video game than study. This does not allow monotony to creep in. Hence, dropouts are rare with Master Mind Abacus.
Dr. Toshio Hayashi, Professor, Osaka Prefecture University, Director, Research Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (RIAST), also suggests that if children come to like learning the abacus and move the beads on the abacus with fun, they will receive benefits from this experience.
Our software has been designed specifically to promote practicing abacus. It creates an environment of playing a video game, without making the child realize that he/she is actually solving complex abacus problems.
3. Online Exams: Realizing that for attempting National and State level exams, students and their parents have to travel huge distances which sometimes becomes difficult and inconvenient.
So, our development team created software facilitating online exams for Abacus. This gives accurate, error free and real-time results. This prepares the children for online exams that will be the most preferred means of conducting exams in future.
4. Virtual Abacus: Our development team also felt that there was a huge gap of demand and supply of well- qualified trainers in the ever increasing market of abacus. Therefore, they developed Virtual Abacus, the software which emulates the original abacus both in looks and operations.
This software is like a 24/7 master guide available to the teachers and trainers to ensure perfect training that solves the problems entered and gives the correct answer with proper movement of hands and fingers.
The positive effects of Abacus training on children have been well accepted by the education fraternity at large. The coming days will see more research papers with supportive findings to encourage the generations to come.