How to select a good abacus and mental arithmetic education center?
作者：廖正輝 Author: David Liao 2005年04月21日 (Date: April 21, 2005)
Many people question why we need to learn abacus such an old Chinese Quintessence while we are in computerized era? The reason is simple as why people still jogging, take a walk when we have vehicles and aircrafts? There is an old saying: Abacus and mental arithmetic is the mother of mathematics. It means accurate learning in abacus and mental arithmetic will create the best foundation for mathematics. Part of learning abacus and mental arithmetic is to train children the capability of accurate and fast calculation. During the process, children will accumulate tolerance, accuracy and perseverance. It’s hard to ignore how learning abacus and mental arithmetic impact on brain development for children. However, there are so many abacus education centers around. How parents make a correct choice for their children? Based on the tuition fee? Or determined by the numbers of trophies the center got? Below we like to give our professional points for parents’references.
（一）、Learn abacus arithmetic before mental arithmetic: During the abacus and mental arithmetic teaching process, abacus arithmetic is the foundation. By operating abacus, students understand the arithmetic calculation and its method. After learners getting familiar to the skill, they visualize the calculation in their mind. Then, through visualized operation, the mental arithmetic function been created. Briefly speaking, learning sequences are: abacus arithmetic first and mental arithmetic later. Many abacus centers emphasis on finger movement calculation before abacus arithmetic. It’s not an accurate way of learning abacus. Lacking of rigid foundation (abacus arithmetic), will create barriers during learning other subjects and to cultivate “calculation fault”easily.
（二）、Comprehensive learning on addition/subtraction/multiplication/division: Teaching schedule of abacus and mental arithmetic calculation should be comprehensive. It includes three parts:
View abacus addition/subtraction, view abacus multiplication, view abacus division
View mental addition/subtraction, view mental multiplication, view mental division
Read addition/subtraction, read multiplication, read division
Others like slip file calculation, continuous multiplication and division, calculation in practice, square roots and cube roots are in the range of learning abacus and mental arithmetic. If emphasis only mental calculation learning without the teaching process of abacus multiplication and division, it’s incomplete. It can’t integrate into what children learn to school program and daily life. No mention incomplete comprehensive learning which cause the wrong answers a lot. Will it be worse than never learn it?
（三）、Professional teachers are essential: It’s not easy to train abacus and mental arithmetic teachers. It’s unlike subjects such as English, computer and mathematic. Teachers for those subjects can be trained through related program, or teachers can study for it. That’s why teachers for those subjects are never insufficient. However, training for teachers of abacus and mental arithmetic takes long time for those teachers to reach advance level. Way of teaching needs to be guide and simulated by professional associations. Except to above basic ability, professional abacus and mental arithmetic teaching centers shall be able to provide complete teaching schedule or program for parents to have comparison and understanding. It’s a responsible center shall do.
Periodically verification tests and high quality competition: Teaching procedure of abacus and mental arithmetic is in several stages. General speaking, it’s necessary to attend verification exam held by non-governmental association every half year. The exam will prove what students absorb on the other hand, it accelerate children to move upgrade. Suggest joining exam of abacus and mental arithmetic (level 10 to level 4) simultaneously for lower level students. By having the exam, students are more familiar to abacus arithmetic, better performance for them swap to mental arithmetic. Students with better mental arithmetic ability could be able to advance significantly. Students with excellent endowments could possibly reach advance (highest advance 10) in short term. Except verification exam, can register one subject or two subjects of a competition for students occasionally. (Suggest joining competition every 6 months.) However, choose the good quality competition you join, as there is many centers hold competition in the markets. How to select a good competition and not been too commercialized. All shall pay attention to:
Abacus arithmetic and mental arithmetic are both in the competition.
Level of competition can’t be too low. Exam shall be at least or above abacusand mental arithmetic level 6
Time can’t be too short as it will become number writing competition.Each subject takes at least 3 min or more.
Awarding ratio can’t be 100%.
Abacus and mental arithmetic learning takes long time for learners to accumulate rigid achievement. Better not to take short cut. Shall not focus only in mental arithmetic and don’t have rigid abacus arithmetic foundation. It’s not good either to spend money for many competitions to get trophies. One shall take stable steps; plan 2-3 years learning procedure from easy to difficult to master in all subjects and transform energy into mental arithmetic. This is the duty a good abacus and mental arithmetic education center shall do.