The Shichida Method (in Singapore)

I shall begin my inaugural post on the Shichida method.

The Shichida method first caught my attention two years ago because I had a friend who enrolled his kid into the program, and the boy subsequently developed an ability to remember a paragraph of words after just two readings. Amazed by that ability, I told myself that I would enroll my future child into the program.

So when Samantha was about 6 months old I decided to to a proper ‘appraisal’ of this enrichment class. What other better and more convenient way than via internet webpages!

Going to the official Shichida method website in Singapore shows a banner that Shichida has been in Singapore for 12 years (and in Malaysia for 11 years)! So there should be a lot of blogs about it and discussions on forums and also success stories right?

So I did a google search for the word ‘shichida’ and I found (and read all of them voraciously)-

1. http://www.mummyshomeschool.com/shichida-method-review-faq/

An extremely comprehensive FAQ on the Shichida Method written by a Malaysian mum.

2. http://bubble-belly.blogspot.sg/2013/04/shichida-and-heguru-fundamental_22.html

A comparison of Shichida and Heguru (which I later came to learn, is also another right brain training program, with some fundemental similarities and differences from Shichida, and (currently) has 3 centres in Singapore, each run by a different principal)

3. http://bubble-learning.blogspot.sg/2011/05/notes-on-shichida-part-1.html

The same mummy as above (why another blog name I do not know) also has written a multi-part introduction to the Shichida method and its principles – Very very comprehensive too!

4. http://juliankhoorecommends.blogspot.sg/2012/06/shichida-method-or-heguru-hegl-which.html

Another mummy talking about the differences between Shichida and Heguru

5. http://thenewageparents.com/the-shichida-method-review/

Looks like an online magazine with an article about Shichida contributed by a parent

6.  http://www.momswisdom.net/shichida-classes.html

No pictures, but apparently written by a Singaporean mum too..

7. http://theetfamily.blogspot.sg/2011/07/shichida-method.html

Written by a mummy blogger, contains some accounts of Shichida lessons, but last blog entry was in September 2012.

8. http://www.midbrain-activation.com/support-files/02celesteshichidamethod.pdf

An article written by Dr Celeste Miller, from Winona State University, USA. She is a professor of early childhood and elementary education. (Real person exists, after doing a simple background check by google) The paper is very convincingly written, and talks about all the benefits of the Shichida Method. The only problem is that she only uses 1 reference article, which is written by Professor Shichida himself! Thus there appears to be much bias in the paper. Also, I also cannot be sure that she did indeed write the paper herself (someone else could have written this article and used her name)

9. http://blessedmummy.wordpress.com/tag/shichida-method/page/3/

Another mummy blogging about the Shichida experiences

10. http://ourlittlesmarties.com/2009/07/first-anniversary-in-the-shichida-method/

A short description of a mummy’s experience with the Shichida Method

11. http://mummyshymz.wordpress.com/tag/shichida/

And finally, another mummy’s writeup on right brain education and the Shichida Method.

(Some of these blogs were kind enough to put up some of their teaching materials for download, and I thank you all for it..)

I won’t write on the Shichida principles because I think the mummies in my links above have done it very well..

All of these blogs have only good things to say about the program! The skeptic in me doesn’t believe in anything that is ‘too good to be true’. At the back of my mind I also had this nagging question why are there only 12 bloggers who have described their shichida experiences if it is so magical? Maybe the rest of the blogs were private? Maybe the other blogs don’t turn up on google because they have too few hits? I temporarily kept my doubts wrapped up.

Quickly browsing through the local forums under the search term ‘Shichida’ yields many people looking to buy or sell Shichida materials, and few actually claiming success with the method. In fact there were some parents who voiced unhappiness over administrative issues (thus resulting in them pulling out from the class).

On one of the forums there is a link to an article in a blog (apparently by a Gerry Pauler, researcher in Australia – he/she really exists, but there is no way to prove that the blog is indeed authentic) that raises several questions about the Shichida Method. Unfortunately, much as I feel that the article is well written and cognitively sound, there is only one article on this blog (set up in 2008) so I don’t know of there is a hidden anti-Shichida agenda.

With all that said, I decided to give the Shichida Method a go and introduced my wife to it, and told her about all the good things it will do for our daughter. We went to find out more practical information –

There are currently 2 centres you can go to for Shichida lessons in Singapore, one at Toa Payoh and one at Springleaf Tower (which is at Anson road, Tanjong Pagar area)

Unfortunately there are no trial classes so the minimum period to sign up for is a term (3 months).

My wife went for the ‘walk-in-preview’ thinking that she could sit quietly at the corner of a class or view from outside the window, but she ended up being shown a video of children being able to tell at an instant how many dots there were on a card and how they could memorise many items in a very short period of time. Quite a waste of time, since I think you can probably see all these Shichida success stories online on youtube in your own free time. (Just look up ‘Shichida’ on youtube and you will get lots of videos)

Anyway we took a leap of faith and paid the deposit of $300, annual registration fee of $50 during the preview, followed by $780 for a term of lessons and $315 for both parents to attend the parent education conference. That works up to a grand total of $1525.15!! Yes I know despite my doubts I still fell for it hook line and sinker. I blame it on being a kiasu parent.

In my follow up posts I will write about the parent education conference and also share more about the lessons!

Update: Follow these links for more Shichida-related content!
Making Shichida Flashcards
Making Shichida Worksheets
Shichida Home Practice

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12 thoughts on “The Shichida Method (in Singapore)

  1. Hi doc, just bumped into this post while searching on right brain education stuff (again). Thank you for linking my FAQ post here!

    Much of what is taught in Shichida Method is very useful, but the class structure may not suit all children and their parents. That’s why home practice (in the correct way) is extremely important.

    For instance, my eldest boy progressed very well in the method after 3+ years. He’s shown great potential and passion in music, so we’re focusing on that, dropped Shichida classes, while continuing with home practice.

    Also, the second half of each 4yo class required him to do worksheets involving writing, which he wasn’t ready to do yet. During home practice, we can focus on playing right brain games. For left brain activities, we use manipulatives until he’s interested in writing at 4.5-5yo.

    Hope this info is useful. All the best!

  2. I have 3 children, ages 2, 4 and 5yrs 10 months. We only just considered these things and wondered whether my eldest boy will be able to benefit from taking these classes so late…. The centre in KL was very honest in sharing that 70% of my son’s brain has already developed so it will be harder to see any significant improvements. Do you have any experiences of late comers who are able to see improvements in their child’s development?

    • Hi Teik Inn,

      Unfortunately I do not have any concrete evidence if ‘late comers’ will have any benefit.

      Of course there will be many cases studies of children who do well in this program, but we will have to take into account the huge numbers of children in the program – ie. What percentage of children enrolled in the system show any benefit?

      In addition, it is also difficult to accurately define ‘improvement’ in your child – It is a very subjective assessment, and often the so called ‘benefit’ lies only in the eyes of the parent.

    • Hi Teik Inn, from my understanding, right brain method can be started at any age, even for adults. It’s just that the activities differ slightly according to age and it’s more difficult for older children or adults to regain certain abilities.

      On hindsight, I was taught relaxation and imaging as a teenager, by a sports coach. I went on to use imaging to turn all my University course readings into mental images, thus having near-perfect memory of the content. This allowed me to spend little time memorising and flipping books, and spend more time applying those knowledge in conducting analyses. Eventually, I graduated at top of the University course. That’s why I’m convinced that right brain method can be started when older too. (Of course, besides academic, right brain skills can be applied in sports, music, work, etc, depending on one’s interests.)

      Feel free to drop me a note at http://www.MummysHomeschool.com, since I’m based in KL too.

      Cheers,
      MieVee

      • Once again, a single success story is insufficient to prove statistical significance. Congratulations, MieVee, for having near perfect memory.

        I will be happy to review any medical or education literature regarding the efficacy of right brain education. Of course, the sole requirement would be for it to be from a peer reviewed journal..

        Apologies for being antagonistic, I cannot endorse anything that I do not believe in.

        >

  3. Hi Dr Parenting,
    May I know if you kids are still following this method ? In your personal opinion, which I value a lot since you did so much research, is it really worth it ? Or should we just let our little one follow mainstream education ?

    • Hi Aurelien,
      My daughter went through this for about a year. She is no longer in it, because she lost interest.

      Indeed education has been really interesting for me so I have taken up a Masters in Education. Now I understand a lot more about how people learn..

      There are some things in Shichida lessons that have a scientific basis – for example, the ‘linking memory game’ that is played in class will help the learners to internalise a mnemonic techniques that has been shown to be effective (this technique is called Narrative story technique, you can check it out online).

      However, his claims of humans using the right and left side of the brain for different purposes and thus the basis for right brain and left brain training are erroneous. There are currently no scientific studies to support this. Also,I do not find any studies that support the claim that flashing cards at half a second each to the child is beneficial to subsequent memory and learning abilities. Of course, such studies are inherently near impossible to conduct given the ethical issues and numerous confounders.

      The ‘worth’ of such an enrichment class can only be determined by its users. As you can see in the comments in this thread and in my blog (which has unfortunately gone into hibernation because it is nearly impossible to work as a doctor, study a Masters, while trying to be a dad who is always present), there are many people claiming its efficacy. As for me,I was not able to be convinced.

      What exactly do you mean by ‘mainstream’ education? What exactly is considered mainstream these days? Active explorarory, constructive, self directed learning are all themes of more modern pedagogies (a whole ton of them out there),but not all schools use them..at least not where I live.

      Cheers!

  4. hi all lovely mums and dads, just to share my son story for your reference

    i did sent my son to Shichida class when he was 2yrs+, stay for about 3 terms, stop due to my busy schedule, and now he is P2 student, since childcare (my 1st school form NTUC group) he never bring any home work back, after check with teacher, they told me he can finish it very fast in school so no need to bring back, ok, i am accept for that pre-school, never send him to other enrichment class as i believed kids need a happy childhood time. but i feel very stressful after P1 registration, school GO told me that they expect kids already know a lots of things… which is i don’t think my son will knew, and also never been teach by pre-school, what to do…no choice, everyone knows this is Singapore, i have to follow the culture to make sure my son will not left behind, i send him to my english school,cma,”天下“, but i am still busy, no time to study with him together, my mum can only ask him “did you finished your home work” same answer everyday”done” then go to play until go to bed, you cannot imagine how worry my mum, for me, i have no choice, but the result is unexpected, he always get full mark, and also been select by teacher to join some outside contest between schools, i am thinking is this benefit by shichida? remember when we attend compulsory parenting class provide by shichida, they mention about the method is to build the kid’s “hard disk, CPU” for future use, maybe it is work now?anyway, i am happy that my son enjoy both play and study at stage now….

    sorry that my English may hard to understand as i am very poor in English:) hope my experience will help you…

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