There are just a few important mental skills contributing to a successful life:
• Analytical, logical and systematic thinking
• Perception of cause-and-effect relations, reasoning
• Proper communication (speaking and writing)
• Good memory
• Creativity and imagination
• Intuition and situational awareness
Each of the above mental abilities corresponds to a specific brain area. With modern scanning technologies, the brain is mapped quite accurately. Such knowledge helps specialists to develop, with targeted exercises, specific areas of the brain which are responsible for improvement function. For example, it has long been known that fine motor exercises develop the area of the brain responsible for speech. That’s why speech therapists train children with small toys. It could be amazing at the first glance, as to what is the link between playing with hands and speaking? However, the result is immediate – an improvement in the child’s speech is achieved in a few sessions.
Such “miracle” derives from a scientifically proven mechanism. A good workout challenges the brain, causing neurons in the relevant area to develop additional links. Such development of the neural network ensures that any other signals arriving in this area are processed more efficiently.
Mental arithmetic is featured with a similar logic. Although a specific version of counting (soroban in Japanese) has been used in Asia for several millennia, its use for educational purposes only began a few decades ago. The methodology was expressly elaborated to automatically develop the frontal lobe (the so-called “pre-frontal cortex”) of both hemispheres of the brain. Mental arithmetic is a uniquely designed exercise based on scientific knowledge about the brain and precisely designed to develop areas responsible for skills listed in the beginning of this article.
Having an exercise that “forces” the neurons of both hemispheres of the brain to work actively at the same time is quite rare. Chess, extracurricular math and programming are great ways to develop a child’s mind, however they mainly train the left hemisphere only (associated with analytical thinking). Painting, sculpture, artistic writing, etc. are excellent tools as well, but they mainly affect the right hemisphere (is associated with creative thinking). Mental arithmetic is one of the most effective exercises requiring both hemispheres of the brain at the same time. I will suggest surveys on this subject in future posts. You can view information about the specifics of the exercises on this link. It clearly shows that the activities included in the mental arithmetic exercises are purposefully “forced” to activate both hemispheres.
We are all aware that mental skills are not the only tools leading to successful life. Certain skills which are based more on the child’s upbringing, habits and experiences than on the development of the mind are equally important. For example:
• Social skills
• Leadership skills
“Nobel” mental arithmetic course is designed to help children in this respect as well.
• Sharp mind achieved by training with us is reflected in the progress in other school subjects. This will help children to get used to being “able”. This will result in self-confidence acquired at an early age, to last for the rest of the life.
• “Every mistake is a victory” – such attitude is the leitmotif of our lessons. We teach the children not to be afraid of failures and to act boldly despite possible mistakes.
• The synthesis of healthy competition and mutual support within the group helps the development of social skills. Competitiveness makes one taste the victory and self-disclosure and inflames leadership aspirations.