The further I research the topic of Early Childhood Education, it seems the more uncertain I am about which direction to head towards. I had heard about the Shichida Method from a friend but knew very little about it except that it was a flashcard method of teaching infants – or so I thought. It appears that the true Shichida Method is more than that. I wasn’t able to glean much about the Shichida Method from their website as much of the information explaining it was rather obscure.
In a nutshell, the Shichida website tells you that babies have great potential and that it is important to help them realise this potential. Tell me something I don’t already know. If you want to know more about how to do this, you need to sign up for their course. They say you can implement the Shichida Method by reading about it from the books but the courses give you practical guides that you cannot get from reading alone. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single Shichida book that was written in English and available for sale on Amazon or Kinokuniya. No wonder they say it is difficult to implement the Shichida Method without having attended one of their courses…
After a little more digging, this is what I have been able to find on the Shichida Method. I do not know if this is an accurate depiction of the philosophy since it did not come directly from any official Shichida source, but I think the gist of it is here.
What is the Shichida Method?
Also known as “Right Brain Training”, the Shichida Method begins with the premise that all babies are born geniuses. From birth to about 3 years old, an infant uses mostly the right side of the brain. However, as the infant grows older, the left side of the brain begins to develop and to dominate the right side. This makes it harder for an individual to access abilities from the right side of the brain.
Both left and right sides of the brain have different capabilities. The left brain is logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective and tends to look at parts. The right brain is random, intuitive, holistic, synthesising, subjective and capable of capturing images as a whole. Both sides of the brain function as opposites and compliment the other.
It has been found that most successful individuals demonstrate a key ability to utilise the right brain’s distinct image visualisation. It is also believed to hold the potential for genius as it lacks the concepts of limits that are imposed by the left brain. This is one of the reasons why flashes of genius are often witnessed in autistic individuals – because of the poor communication between the left and right brain, the left brain is unable to exert the usual controls over the right brain that is present in a normal individual.
So to help out children maximise their potential for genius, the Shichida Method focuses on training the right brain of infants (as young as possible – preferable between the age of 0-3) with right brain specific activities.
How Do you Stimulate the Right Brain?
One of the methods described by Shichida is to use flash cards which are presented quickly. Information that is presented slowly and repetitively exercises the left brain.
What is the Difference Between Glenn Doman and Shichida?
According to Brainy-Child, the fundamental difference between Shichida and Glenn Doman is that Shichida “believes in not over-emphasizing on knowledge education, and that the cultivation of the child’s ability to learn on his own is of utmost importance.” If the child’s brain is overstuffed with knowledge, it becomes difficult to exercise and develop the right brain.
However, if you read the article from the International Parenting Association, it quotes Shichida saying that presenting large amounts of information at a fast pace to infants, toddlers and preschoolers stimulates the right brain and can activate photographic memory. If presenting large amounts of information isn’t stuffing the brain, then I’m not sure what is.
Is there a difference between Shichida and Glenn Doman? I’m not sure, but I believe it has something to do with the number of repetitions. Any parent who has tried either or both methods – please feel free to share more about the differences between the two.