Right brain training: An expert’s point-of-view
Agnes Ng, founder of the right brain training programme at Heguru @ Fusionopolis, answers a range of questions on this popular method of education.
Right brain training is increasingly becoming a popular method of education for Singaporean children.
This learning method focuses on developing the right hemisphere of a child’s brain, the area of the brain which is often neglected in traditional classroom pedagogy, which focuses more on left brain training.
We spoke to Singaporean right brain training expert, Agnes Ng, about this revolutionary method of education.
Agnes also founded the renowned Japan Right Brain Training Programme at the Heguru Method Learning Centre @ Fusionopolis the facilities of which were recently extended, offering an even better programme to students.
In this article, Agnes answers all your questions about right brain training and the programme at Heguru @ Fusionopolis.
Q: What exactly is right brain training and how does it work?
A: Simply put, right brain training involves the development of the right hemisphere of the brain. Babies use mostly their right brain to process information.
By exposing them to a great deal of information very quickly, this stimulates their right brain to form many neuro-connections – which is what right brain training does.
It is important that the information is fed at a fast pace to keep up with the right brain which processes information instantaneously in contrast to the left brain’s linear and logical way of processing which takes place as children grow older.
Keep reading on the next page…
Q: What’s the difference between the right brain and the left brain?
A: A child’s brain is divided into the right brain and the left brain. The left brain understands information at a very low speed and is only able to process a small amount of information at a time as well.
The left brain is also sometimes referred to as ‘the linguistic function brain‘, with the dominant part being related to language function and processing, i.e., it is the domain of words, numerals and letters.
On the other hand, the right brain is the image brain, which processes and makes sense of visual imagery, or what the child sees.
Q: Why are right brain training programmes – such as those offered at Heguru @ Fusionopolis – important?
A: The reason we focus on right brain training is because it is this side of the brain that allows children to think and learn fast and process a large amount of information in its entirety.
If left untapped, the right brain will slowly deteriorate and the ability to use it will gradually diminish.
At Heguru @ Fusionopolis, we believe that right brain training is essential to children for the development of good memory, excellent focus and the ability to process information very quickly.
Learning is a long journey, but if children have been through right brain training, they will be able to process information (even large amounts of it) remember it and develop their focusing abilities.
These skills can then be applied to academic learning, sports and music right through their learning journey.
For all these reasons and more, our call to parents is to send their children to Heguru @ Fusionopolis and build a strong foundation for their future.
Q: Do you conduct any left brain training at all at Heguru @ Fusionopolis?
A: Yes we do.
The curriculum we have at Heguru @ Fusionopolis follows the child’s natural brain development — left brain training is introduced at the age of 4 which coincides with the general timeline that left brain development accelerates.
This provides a well balanced approach for the training of both the right and left brain.
Q: Is there a right age to start right brain training?
A: The earlier a child starts, the more effective the training. In fact, at Heguru @ Fusionopolis, there are classes for children as young as 6 months old!
It’s best to start early because the critical period of a child’s brain development is during the first 6 years, when the brain is highly malleable.
While right brain training exercises may be used for even teenagers, the effectiveness may not be as apparent as when younger children are trained in this method.
However, it is possible to activate the right brains of primary school children, achieving great results in the process.
Q: Can right brain training improve a child’s memory ability?
A: A child’s memory ability can be improved tremendously with right brain training as the memory function is predominantly controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain.
However, in order to train and maintain a child’s memory ability, ideally a child should receive consistent right brain training from a very early age. The more the right brain is trained in this manner, the more effectively a child’s memory ability will develop.
More important information about right brain training on the next page…
Q: Is right brain training more important than left brain training?
A: Both right brain training and left brain training are equally important. However, it is important to balance the training for both sides of the brain for holistic brain development.
Q: Can an older child attend the right brain training classes at Heguru @ Fusionopolis?
A: The Heguru Method is suitable for children up to the age of 6. At Heguru @ Fusionopolis, experienced teachers can help children fit in and catch up with the curriculum.
Parents will also be taught about home practice and how to best supplement the lessons to further develop their children’s right brain development.
Q: Is there a way of telling if a child is naturally a right brainer?
A: A child who uses the right brain will be able to absorb information at a much faster pace and remember it for a longer period of time. They are also able to come to conclusions quickly without having to go through a step-by-step process.
But having said that, all infants start learning using mainly their right brains and gradually transit to using mainly their left brains as they grow older.
Q: Why is right brain training not done at schools?
A: Schools normally concentrate more on developing children’s left brain through logical thinking, language and numbers.
However, in recent years, schools have also recognized the need for right brain training and have introduced more image related methods of doing mathematics, pattern recognition, etc.
Please go to the final page of this article to find out more…
Q: Is the programme at Heguru @ Fusionopolis suitable for kids with special needs, like autism?
A: The programme we offer is suitable for all children, including those with autism. Currently, we do have children with special needs attending our classes. They enjoy the classes accompanied by parents and can participate in activities alongside their friends in class.
Q: How has Heguru helped your own children?
A: As a mother I started right brain training with both my children before they turned 12 months.
My daughter started reading at 3 years old, and even when she was 10 months old, I realised she was able to comprehend my instructions and pick up the right flashcards of animals.
My son, too, focuses well in preschool thanks to Heguru. Both kids enjoy learning and attending classes at Heguru.
Q: How are the teachers at Heguru @ Fusionopolis trained?
A: All our main teachers are sent to Japan for training and understand the underlying philosophies for each activity.
They are passionate and dedicated to children and are able to deliver the lessons with the end goals in mind – how to best stimulate the child’s right brain.
We have 2 teachers per class. The excellent student to teacher ratio helps the children engage well in lessons that are fast paced, engaging and fun.
Q: What can parents expect when they send their children for lessons at Heguru @ Fusionopolis?
A: Parents typically accompany their children for the infant and toddler classes. They will be able to find out what their children’s learning needs are and what activities their children enjoy most and develop their interest.
We also have a lot of songs and dances which require the children to move around, providing a fun way for children to participate in and absorb the information we are imparting.
Our capable teachers will also share tips with parents on what kind of home practice to do catered to their child’s specific needs. For example, we can show parents how to do simple 10-15 minutes daily home practice exercises (e.g. flashcards and memory games).
If you would like to find out more about the right brain training method offered at Heguru @ Fusionopolis, feel free to visit the centre and talk to their dedicated teachers to find out more.
Watch an exclusive interview of Agnes along with Mr and Mrs Henmi by popular TV host Diana Ser below:
Does your child or the child of a friend go to Heguru @ Fusionopolis? Do share with other parents your own, or your friend’s experience of the Centre by leaving a comment below.