New Brain Training System – The Humble Abacus

This story reminds us that many of the traditional teaching methods that fell out of favor in the last few decades had some distinct advantages, as brain training tools, over those that replaced them. Repetition and focus help strengthen and tune the brain’s processing skills as well as fine motor skills. Along with penmanship, times table memorization, and rote learning the abacus develops the raw material of intellectual development…

Akita Japan

Akita, Japan

A report in the Daily Yomiuri indicates that the abacus, or soroban in Japanese, is returning to favor as a means of assisting in the development of concentration and memory.

Abacus training and certifications are on the rise and some elementary school have reintroduced the deceptively simple-looking counting device.

Parent Haruko Sato said her fourth-grade son “listens better and has become more motivated” after studying at an abacus school.

Kiso Kubota, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University, cognitive neuroscientist and author of a book on the abacus, attributes the mental benefits of the abacus (better memory and the logical thinking skills) to the intensive use of the prefrontal area of the brain for mental arithmetic.

japanese abacus brain training

Japanese Abacus or Soroban

In the 2011 school year, abacus will become a required subject for both third- and fourth-grade primary school students in Japan. In the 2009 school year, 3,147 public primary schools requested abacus instructors from soroban schools and related entities.

Unfortunately, given its long fallow period, many soroban instructors are nearing retirement age. The abacus league’s executive director, Shimpachi Waku, said the organization will increase its efforts to develop educators so soroban will remain “part of the country’s education and culture.”

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One Response to “New Brain Training System – The Humble Abacus”

  1. Romarico Galvez says:

    I think that the humble slide rule should be revived too.

    For mental mathematics,the Trachtenberg system of Speed Math is worth studying.

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