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)-
An extremely comprehensive FAQ on the Shichida Method written by a Malaysian mum.
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)
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!
Another mummy talking about the differences between Shichida and Heguru
Looks like an online magazine with an article about Shichida contributed by a parent
No pictures, but apparently written by a Singaporean mum too..
Written by a mummy blogger, contains some accounts of Shichida lessons, but last blog entry was in September 2012.
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)
Another mummy blogging about the Shichida experiences
A short description of a mummy’s experience with the Shichida Method
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.