Six Outcomes of Rapid Direct Instruction With Infants 3 months to 3 Years

Here are six suggested accelerated learning outcomes from using structured direct instruction by showing 1-second per card flashcards or computer images for infants 3 months to 3 years with no more than a total of 15 minutes a day.

1.  Creates a loving bond

This approach to learning is enhanced with emotional well-being; one of its goals is building a loving bond between the parent and the child. It builds on an already established close loving relationship.  Hugs, praise, smiles, cheers, giggles and deep sighs of satisfaction accompany this method.  Contrary to what some have thought, it is not a hothouse approach. Rather it results when there is a close emotional bond between the parent and the child that serves to enable the child to learn more efficiently, to use their imagination in more creative ways and to embrace a learning approach that champions what they can accomplish.  In fact, if a parent pushes a child to learn this way, the loving bond is broken and the method becomes ineffective.

2.  Heightens senses

Relaxation techniques begin the learning session, followed by photographic memory enhancement and input that heightens the senses. These techniques impact the part of the brain that seems to work with tangible facts taken in with the five outer senses – sight, sound, taste, touch and smell as well as the part of the brain that recognizes the subtle wave frequencies of light, sound, thought, emotion, and magnetism that are not always apparent to the outer senses.

3.  Increases mental creativity
Building strong circuits of neural connections provides a child with additional memory power and integrative functioning potential.   Because imagination is encouraged and strengthened, when children use the right brain pathway, they know no limits.  They can invent, play and create anything their hearts desire. When you open the pathway to the right brain, you access your natural capacity for: photographic memory, speed reading, multiple language acquisition, computer-like math calculation, perfect pitch, intuition, creativity, invention and advanced visualization. The resonating quality of the brain results in an amazing, almost magical intelligence all its own.

4.  Makes learning easy and joyful

Because our unconscious brain is absorbing information from the environment at lightning speed, and our conscious brain is plodding many miles behind, the experience of learning with the unconscious brain is not something we normally think about. We are mostly concerned about the few facts before us.   Yet, the reality is that the unconscious brain has more to do with learning than the conscious brain.  This approach works for any age.

5.  Uncovers genius

Helping our children realize their highest potential, free from our expectations, is the greatest gift we can give back to life.  A newfound sense of self is the goal for any age. Accelerated learning for 0 – 3 year olds embraces the same principles as for any other age, but it is not remedial at this stage. Infants are at the peak of their ability to absorb with their right brain functions.  What can emerge is an ability that was dormant and might have stayed dormant without the outside stimulation.

6.  Continues the work nature has begun

It is now common knowledge that learning results from the stimulation of parts of the brain that seem to activate and integrate the left and right hemispheres to work together harmoniously in ways that increase cognitive power.  Nature gives every infant a head start for the first year of life.  On its very own, the brain organizes millions of synapses into coherent mental patterns that account for acute vision, mobility, speech, etc. 1

Researcher Craig Ramey found that brain power would level off after age one if exposure in the environment didn’t take over and continue to provide the brain with sufficient stimulus to keep it growing and developing to its maximum capability.  He found out that no amount of stimulation later in life ever closes the gap between the trajectory of what might have been with stimulation and what cognition is because of lack of stimulation. 2 That is a directive for early stimulation from a “mainstream” theorist.

Still Not Convinced?

Do you still find yourself wondering about the premise of accelerated learning for babies? Are you thinking, “Aren’t they already so accelerated in their learning that they leave adults in the dust anyway?  Won’t they just develop naturally if things are left to nature to prune and shape the brain?”  People often ask why would you want a toddler to read or multiply in their heads?  The only answer that can be given is why not?  But only if the learning that develops the reading and math skills is completely stress free and fun for the infant.

Consider the way an infant learns language.  All day long he/she hears sounds – millions of combinations of sounds and somehow from this exposure day in and day out, he/she develops the ability to reproduce language correctly.  Showing 15 minutes of images side by side compared with a day spent absorbing sounds in the environment seems like it should be a piece of cake to the infant mind and it is, if it is not forced on the infant.

Lifelong damage and a dislike of all that resembles formal schooling could result if the learning were forced and regimented. This means that for success to occur the adult in the equation must be totally nonattached to the results and this is not easy for some parents and teachers who want their effectiveness to be measured by how well the child is doing, and what they are learning. In the case of learning to speak, as adults, we can’t be attached to the results because we have to trust that our child will speak just like every other child we have encountered, even if they aren’t speaking to us today.  It’s not unlike that with the visual image input as well. Have faith and trust in the incredible brain of an infant.

If a child can read at 3, a whole world of information opens to them.  If they develop perfect pitch they will never lose it.  If they can add in their heads, they will enjoy math class in kindergarten and beyond.  And they will have learned these things when the brain is at the peak of absorption from the environment.

What scientists are learning is that when synapses fire over and over, they leave a myelinated sequence of connections that result in learning.  So by “practicing” — by inputing information to a young child’s brain — you are assisting in the myelination process and increasing learning.  That seems like working with nature not against it.

Conclusion

 Right brain education will not be every one’s cup of tea.  There is a learning curve requiring the shedding of a lot of preconceived ideas about how we teach and learn.  It is not easy to become a right brain educator if you are focused on the goals of learning and not the process. It really helps if you have intuitive abilities developed yourself, are familiar with internal brain wave states, and can relax and calm your mind and approach the child with all the love in your heart.  I have watched parents and teachers working with children using flashcards and other accelerated techniques and it was obvious that not all led with love and respect for the child as their primary motivator, or really understood the underlying reasons for what they were doing.   So, a very important concept I would like to underline is that accelerated learning is maximized when there is a joyful, heartfelt exchange between the adult and the child.

These techniques can be misused.  Do we want to create children who have mental access to a vast compendium of information but do not have a developed moral sense?  From my own meditations on the question “Why use it?” the answer goes beyond the obvious one of developing the right brain abilities.  I believe these abilities tie into the soul senses and create the open door for a higher expression of the frequencies of caring and support between the adult and child in learning environments which will follow the individual into adulthood.

My theory is that as trust and relaxation predominate in learning experiences and the imaging abilities are enhanced as a vital tool, the soul too takes benefit from the right brain/accelerated approach to learning.  Without sounding too much like a romanticist, I believe I can foresee in the far distant future a time when this type of education will become widespread.  And as a result, intuitive states will be heightened in people, meaning that there will be a friendlier, more helpful, happier and contented civilization.  Smarter too.

Dr. Celeste A. Miller

  1. Ramey, C. (2007).  Author’s notes taken at Carolina Abecadarian Project Presentation at the National Invitational Conference of the Early Childhood Research Collaborative held at the University of Minnesota Center for Early Education and Development.
Form and Formless

Form and Formless

 

 

Dr. Makoto Shichida Part 2

Dr. Makoto Shichida, Part 2

Dr. Shichida postulated that the two distinct types of brain functions (right and left) result in two different types of memory and mental operations.

Left Side of Brain

The left side he believed operated at the beta wave frequency (14 to 30 hertz cycles per second).  This brain wave pattern is most frequent used by adults in our awake states.

Right Side of Brain

The right side of the brain operates on the alpha wave cycle (8 to 13 hertz cycles per second).  This pattern is more common in young children.  The right brain wave pattern – alpha wave cycle – learns mostly with images.  This wave frequency is most often associated in adults with a relaxed alert state of mind such as in meditation, just after awakening, or while relaxing to music.  Chinese chi-gong masters have been scientifically shown to be working with alpha waves and the right side of the brain is “wired” to learn from alpha waves per Dr. Shichida.

Thus, it is not the activity that is either right or left brain, but the frequency of the brain that you use to do the activity. So, for example music could be listened to with the left brain or with the right brain with a different result.  The left brain might analyze the music and the right brain experience the music.  Meditation, deep breathing and music are tools to shift the wave patterns from beta to alpha.  These two brain wave states are our waking states. Dr. Shichida believed that children were in the alpha wave state up to the age of three. After this, the left side of the brain begins to dominate in most people.

Key to Dr. Shichida’s theory is the notion that our subconscious mind receives information through our skin as well as the five senses in the alpha wave length state.  In order to send and receive images, the mind must be operating at the Alpha wave cycles.  Telepathy is possible when the vibrational frequencies travelling through the body are changed into mental images at the alpha wave state.  (Note:  Dr. Shichida uses the term “right brain” to refer to alpha wave learning and “left brain” to refer to beta wave learning.  It may be that there are wave patterns of learning not limited to a particular brain hemisphere and that calling certain types of learning right or left brain as he does is misleading.  Therefore, it may be more accurate to discuss his success as attributable to using certain brain wave frequencies of learning using various parts of the whole brain.  Future neurological studies might be able to sort this out.)

Materials to develop right brain functions

The method used to develop right brain function is to input information at a high speed to the right brain (Science has yet to tell us exactly where this information is stored in the brain). This is accomplished with speed-reading, speed-watching and speed- hearing.  At the Shichida Child Academies in Japan, mothers attend classes 1 time per week with their child and are taught to use flash cards in a rapid-fire manner flashing visual information at less than 1 second per card and by repetitious playing of audiotapes (speed-hearing).  “A high speed massive input (without comprehension or conscious memorization) is the key to activate the right brain” [1]The content of the visual and auditory input is carefully orchestrated to achieve specific skill levels of right-brain functioning but not to teach specific information.  Once the pathways (mylenated synapses) are established for right-brain functioning, a child can learn anything and learning becomes automatic.

Using these methods he had some success with children with brain disorders and Down’s syndrome children. Flash cards music, games and physical exercises were all part of a holistic program he developed into kits for various ages.  Storyboarding cards, vocabulary cards, memory games and guessing games are many of the activities that parents use with their children.   The specific games and methods he used to develop right-brain functions are proprietary intellectual property shared only at his academies, but a glance through his catalog gives you the idea there is plenty of variety.

1. Shichida, M. (1996). Right Brain Education – The education of mind and affection. Japan: Shichida Child Education, p. 6

Dr. Celeste Miller

 

All known English references for Dr. Shichida

Shichida, M. ( 1993a    ) Right brain education in infancy theory and practice.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1993b)  Babies are geniuses.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1994).  Science of intelligence and creativity.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1996). Right Brain Education – The education of mind and affection.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1997).  Workshop given in Minneapolis, MN, November

Shichida, M. (1998).  Workshop given in Livingston, MT, June

 

Butterflies

Butterflies

 

 

 

Montessori and the Right Brain

 

Maria Montessori and the Right Brain

 

The inner powers of the child have never been realized, neither from the intellectual nor from the moral point of view.” 1 Maria Montessori

This quote suggests that Dr. Montessori believed that there was much more to discover about the human potential. Glenn Doman didn’t just stumble upon the right brain powers by accident.  They have always been there, and I believe that Maria Montessori, an early outstanding early childhood educator, made indirect reference to their existence even before modern references.

Montessori and the Absorbent Mind

Perhaps Maria Montessori was one of the first to hint that there was something about children’s minds that was truly unique.  She coined a term for this mind “the absorbent mind”.  This was a mind that could absorb, seemingly effortlessly, from the environment so much more information than could an adult mind.   She wrote often about the prejudices against her discoveries about the absorbent mind of children.

Her words:

There exists in the small child an unconscious mental state which is of a creative nature.  We have called it the ‘Absorbent Mind’.  This absorbent mind does not construct with a voluntary effort, but according to the lead of inner sensitivities which we call ‘ sensitive periods’ as the sensitivity lasts only for a definite period, i.e. until the acquisition to be made according to natural development has been achieved”  …If we (adults) learn anything through attention, volition and intelligence, how then can the child undertake his great construction as he is not yet endowed with intelligence, will-power  or attention?  It is evident that in him there acts a mind totally different from ours and that, therefore, a psychic functioning different from that of the conscious mind can exist in the unconscious. 2

So, she established the notion of how infants and young children learn – by unconsciously absorbing from the environment information.   At times she writes about the conscious absorbent mind, the subconscious absorbent mind and at other times the unconscious absorbent mind (all were absorbent!).   It is unclear to me what distinctions Montessori is using when she uses the terms the conscious, the unconscious and the subconscious minds. Montessori seems to use all three terms in her discussions of the absorbent mind (which underwent translation from Italian to English) and it is often difficult to tell which she is speaking of without clear definitions, which I have not find in her writings.  So I do not wish to put words into her head.

For her, the absorbent mind seemed to be the all-inclusive term referring to all aspects of what to her seemed to be a miraculous and different way young children were able to learn. She knew the absorbent mind was a gift that a child was born with, but she didn’t seem to be clear on the why or the how.  Certainly, her followers did not pick up on the more mysterious aspects of her message preferring to play it safe with the idea that the absorbent mind referred to “sensitive periods” –  which followed nature’s orderly unfolding evident to the physical eye of the adult and thus scientific study.

This statement sums up the Montessori Method as it is practiced today in the U.S.  “Life is divided into well-defined periods.  Each period develops properties the construction of which is guided by laws of nature.” 3 The materials in the classroom assist the child in progressing through these well-defined periods. All is known; there is no mystery yet to uncover.

I think Montessori herself, was much more open-minded and pointing to something even deeper.  I’ll give you examples of several unclear references which hint at these deeper mysterious learning forces. Without really realizing it, I believe she was the forerunner of right brain education by her discoveries of the abilities of some children that she observed and commented upon.

Here, she marvels at a child working on fractions.

Once a child acquired the capacity to carry out quite complicated operations with fractions without writing them down. He thus showed his ability to retain in his mind the image of the numbers and the successive operations. While the child carried out these operations mentally, a teacher did so on paper, not being able to do them otherwise. At the end of his calculation the child announced his result…the result was not correct. The child, without being perturbed in the least, thought for a while and then said: “Yes, I see where I made a mistake,” and gave the correct result a little while later. 4

Montessori comments: “The mind of the child, evidently, possessed a peculiar faculty for retaining all these successive phases.” 5   To me this seems to be a clear description of the right brain rapid math calculation ability as described by Dr. Shichida. (Dr. Shichida was a Japanese educator who built on Glen Doman’s work on accelerated learning).

Another example:  “There is, therefore, an inner energy which of its nature tends to manifest itself, but remains buried under universal prejudices.” 6

And another:

The thought that there could be a form of memory in younger children  different from that of older children could not be conceived….Evidently the word, in all its detail, was sculptured in his (child’s) memory.  The word, the sounds that compose it and their correct succession remained complete in his mind—nothing could efface them. That memory was of a different nature from that of older children.  It created a kind of vision in the mind and the child reproduced this clear and fixed vision with certainty.7

This selection describes the absorbent mind of an infant learning its native language (a process which scientists still cannot fully explain). Note the words vision in the mind.

Does this sound like similarities with right brain characteristics?  Her words….”memory different”…”memory sculptured”…”a kind of vision in the mind”.  Could this be photographic memory she was referring to?

And another:

The inner powers of the child have never been realized, neither from the intellectual nor from the moral point of view.…Our social mentality has not yet grasped the idea that we can receive help from the child, that the child can give us a light and a lesson, a new vision and a solution for inextricable problems.  Even psychologists do not see in him an open door through which they may enter the subconscious.  Even they still try to discover and decipher it through the ills of the adult only.8

Now we see she has used the word subconscious.

Terms similar to right brain education include:  ”…unrealized inner power”…”solutions for inextricable problems”…”open door to the subconscious”.

And again Montessori writes: “Is it then possible that there exists a memory different from that of our conscious and developed minds?”9

Again we hear in her words, similarities with right brain education – “a memory different from that of our conscious minds.”  This sounds like Shichida’s right brain encyclopedic memorization function.

Whether in this next quote she was referring specifically to the absorbent mind or to all the amazing qualities of children, we find a hopeful, beautiful statement to conclude this section on Maria Montessori.

When prejudice will be vanquished by knowledge, then there will appear in the world a “superior child” with his marvelous powers which today remain hidden.  Then there will appear the child who is destined to form humanity capable of understanding and controlling our present civilization.10

As I read Montessori’s writings, I have had the feeling that something has been left out of her methodology.  Not from her writings, but from the full incorporation of her suggestions about the absorbent mind into her developed curriculum.  As I have suggested, she hints at other ways of knowing and learning but leaves the hints dangling in the air.   Based on these quotes from her writings, I am convinced that she uncovered right brain abilities of preschool age children even though she was not able to offer a scientific explanation for them.  I invite the Montessori community of learners to explore these hints and arrows that Maria Montessori seems to have left for future generations.

 

1. Montessori, M. (1969) The formation of man. Translated by Joosten, A.M., India, Madras:  Theosophical Publishing House, p. 42
2. Ibid., p. 84
3. Ibid., p. 91
4. Ibid., p. 56
5. Ibid
6. Ibid., p. 33
7. Ibid., p. 36
8. Ibid., p. 42-3
9. Ibid., p. 36
10. Ibid. p. 99
Dr. Celeste Miller