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For Shichida right brain schools, it is a requirement for parents to attend a parents’ seminar about right brain education. They are given a handbook about right brain education and they are strongly encouraged to practice right brain activities at home both with their children and on themselves. If my information is correct, I believe they get something akin to a homework diary which they are supposed to adhere to.
Of the three right brain schools, Shichida is also the only school that requires parents’ attendance in class through the entire program. In TweedleWink and Heguru, by the time the child is about 3 or 4 years old, parents are no longer required in class. In TweedleWink, the actual age depends on the child but it is usually around about 3 to 4 years. The Heguru course outline states that children will attend classes on their own when the children are 4 years old, however, Gavin’s sensei recently said it is preferable to wait until he is 5 before he attends classes on his own so that he is completely autonomous and does not require assistance in class.
The benefit cited to me for not having parents in class with the children is so that there is no negative influence or expectations on the children to perform. Children are intensely sensitive to their parents emotions and a parent who is unable to guard her emotions may affect not only her child but the other children in the class. I guess this is the reason why Shichida is so strict with their requirements of parents attending their schools.
Another reason why Shichida encourages parents to develop their right brain is because parents can also influence their children through the radar effect. Parents who successfully develop their own right brains can trigger the development of their child’s right brain via the radar effect.
What does that mean for parents who do not attend Shichida classes? It’s time to get to work on your right brain! So what activities are appropriate for parents’ right brain training? Image and Eye Training exercises are good activities to begin with. Based on Yumiko Tobitani’s book Quantum Speed Reading, adults who have been diligently practicing these exercises can anticipate to experience results in about 3 months.
There is one other activity which I have heard about through a Shichida mother which involves staring at an orange card with a small blue circle in the center for 30 seconds without blinking. This practice is to help you visualise images. After staring for 30 seconds, close your eyes and you will see the after image. If it disappears just tell yourself, “It will reappear.” And it does. Initially, the after image will be in secondary colours, that is, the blue circle will appear orange in your after image. With further practice, you will eventually be able to see the blue circle in your after image in its primary colour. Continue practicing until you can change the colour and shape of your after image, for instance, a red circle, then a green square. After that, you should be able to see images spontaneously.
It is advisable to continue practicing the orange card exercise to deepen your imaging ability. I’ve noticed that I cannot see the after image of the mandala exercise in class if I have not been doing the after image activity at home in the week leading up to Gavin’s Heguru class, however, in the weeks that I do, the after image appears. The key to developing the right brain is to be diligent with the exercises. Like a muscle that is not in use, it will waste away if we don’t.
In right brain education, it is called “imaging”. However, having read examples of how images have helped nurture musical talent and improve grades, I think many of us would probably be familiar with it by different terms. For example, to me, it has always been what I refer to as visualising. I used to practice it when I was rock climbing. Not surprisingly, I got pretty good at rock climbing, too, and this is coming from a person who dreaded physical education in school because I was so bad at it.
I recall an occasion when I was projecting one particularly challenging route, I was working on it so hard that I injured my fingers. Since I had to go easy, I would visualise myself climbing the route in my mind whenever I wasn’t doing anything else. I red-pointed that route the following weekend when I went out to the crag.
I had read about this technique in a book called “Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence“. The book described a golfer who had been imprisoned in a POW camp for years. To get through his imprisonment, he would visualise himself playing golf at a golf course everyday. The vision was so clear, he could feel the breeze against his cheek and the golf club in his hands. When he was eventually freed, his golf handicap had improved and he played even better than he did before he was imprisoned!
In his book “Children can Change Through Right Brain Education“, Shichida cited the example of a boy in 6th grade who had been practicing the electric piano for 6 years. Because he wasn’t good at it, his parents were always telling him to quit. He refused because he liked his teacher. His teacher asked him to enter a music contest and he agreed but after practicing for a month, it looked like it was going to end in disaster because he had practiced until his wrists and fingers were swollen and still he could not memorise the piece.
6 days before the contest date, he practiced the piano for fifteen minutes and spent the rest of the time image training. On the day itself, he panicked when he heard the other children playing so well. His mother encouraged him to continue his image training until it was his turn. When he went on, he played twice as well as his original capability and did not make a single mistake even though he had been making so many mistakes during practice. He was selected as one of the top five to represent the Saitama prefecture.
Shichida also cites examples of improvements in arts, sports and academics through image training. If you look at the music example, it is similar to the concept of visualisation. The explanation for it in Mind Gym is that memories and fantasies are made of the same stuff. Create a strong enough fantasy and it behaves like a memory. So in the case of the golfer, his most recent golf game was the one he played in his mind, not the physical one that took place years ago before he was imprisoned.
My only question now is how exactly do you practice image training for other subjects. Sports and playing an instrument are fairly straight forward. You just have to see yourself doing the activity, but how do you do image training for Math or Chemistry? If you have the answers, feel free to share your thoughts below. In the meantime, I’ll hit the books again to see what else I can find out…