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To understand the differences between the top three most popular Right Brain Education philosophies, we need to go back to its origins. The exact origins are vague and hazy. Depending on whom you speak to, there are some variations in the story. I believe the following is the gist of it.
Our story begins with Glenn Doman, whom some call the father of Right Brain Education because it was his work that was the catalyst for early childhood accelerated learning. His work originated with brain-injured children. He developed a program to help them overcome their learning difficulties. The hope was to help them catch up to the level of their developmentally normal peers. When his program worked so well, he decided to try it on “normally developing” children as a form of an accelerated learning program.
About the same time, Sperry released his ground-breaking research about the split personalities of the left and right brain. His discovery opened the doors to further brain research and the development of many accelerated learning programs by names such as Tony Buzzan, Edward de Bono, Ivan Barzakov, Barbara Meister Vitale, Colin Rose, Betty Edwards, Don Campbell, Eric Jensen, and more.
From this information, Makoto Shichida developed an educational program for very young children following these accelerated learning techniques. His program was so successful that a Japanese business man bought his methods and created a franchise of Shichida centers all over Japan. Eventually, due to a disagreement within Shichida, a separate branch of Right Brain Education schools was formed, called Heguru or HEGL in Japan. Having come from the same origins, it is not surprising that parents report a lot of similarities between Shichida and Heguru schools.
TweedleWink follows a slightly different path. Founded after Shichida and Heguru, the TweedleWink program originated from a Montessori school. As part of an experiment, they started incorporating accelerated learning techniques with the principles of the Montessori Method. The teachings they adopted were from Glenn Doman, Makoto Shichida, Betty Edwards, Barbara Meister Vitale, and Colin Rose, among others.
While there are similarities between TweedleWink and the Shichida/Heguru program, the distinct differences are:
- Pace – TweedleWink believes in following the body’s natural rhythm. Flashcards should be presented at the same pace as the heart beat. Both Shichida and Heguru flash cards very rapidly – as seen in the Heguru video.
- ESP – there are no ESP activities in the TweedleWink program. Both Shichida and Heguru incorporate activities designed to develop a child’s ESP potential.
- Repetitions – TweedleWink believes there should be fewer repetitions because repetition is the learning style of the left brain. The right brain, which is photographic, captures new material instantaneously and does not require repetition. Repetitions in Shichida and Heguru fall in between Doman’s 3 x day for 5 days and TweedleWink’s once a day for 3 days.
- Movement – TweedleWink believes in the importance of movement to enhance learning. Children, especially boys, need to move to absorb new material. Shichida and Heguru is more structured.
- Testing – TweedleWink believes that there should be no testing of the children as this promotes left brain bridging and reduces the right brain potential. The philosophy is relationship first. By virtue of the activities performed in Heguru (I don’t know about Shichida since I’ve never attended their classes), there is some testing occurring although it is very low-key.
There are some similarities and differences between the activities conducted in class. This is where I will talk only about Heguru as I do not have any Shichida experience.
TweedleWink classes are set up to cover the following categories per lesson:
- Perfect Pitch
- Classical Music
Activities in Heguru that are not included in TweedleWink:
- Linking Memory (at least not for children under 4 years)
- Mandala practice
- Tangram puzzles
- ESP games