Competition Guidelines

How to select a good abacus and mental arithmetic education center?

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）、先珠算後心算：在珠心算教學過程中，珠算是基礎，透過算盤的操作，讓學習者了解四則計算的變化及方法。隨著技巧的熟練，學習者腦中的影像逐漸建立，透過影像的模擬操作即產生心算的功能。簡言之，應先學習珠算，再學習心算。許多坊間心算班，強調不用算盤，或用手指比出答案，並不是正確的學習方法，在學習過程中容易有算癖及其他學習障礙產生。

（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）、加減乘除全面學習：珠心算的教學進度應是全面性的。包括三大部份：

（二）、Comprehensive learning on addition/subtraction/multiplication/division: Teaching schedule of abacus and mental arithmetic calculation should be comprehensive. It includes three parts:

• 看加減算，看乘算，看除算

• 看加減心算、看乘心算、看除心算

• 唸加減算、唸乘算、唸除算。

• View abacus addition/subtraction, view abacus multiplication, view abacus division

• View mental addition/subtraction, view mental multiplication, view mental 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）、專業師資是必要：珠心算的師資，是不容易培育的。它不如美語、電腦及數學等學科，在正規的大學教育系中，都有相關的課程可研讀及進修，所以師資不虞匱乏。而珠心算師資，在技藝方面須長時間的訓練學習，至珠心算皆有段位以上程度。在教學方法上更要透過專業團體協會指導模擬，才能進入教學領域。除了以上基本能力外，專業的珠心算教學中心，應能夠提供完整的教學進度或課程表供家長比較及了解，如此才是負責的做法。

（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.

（四）、定期檢定及優質比賽：珠心算的教學過程是階段性的，平均每半年參加一次各民間協會的檢定考試有其必要性。一方面可印證所學有否吸收，一方面可鼓勵學童更上層樓。我們建議在低級數的學習，儘量珠算及心算同時應試（十級至四級珠心算同步檢定）。如此，珠算的熟練度才足以顯現在心算的表現上。而心算能力強的學童可從三級以上有更明顯的提昇，資質優異的學童更可能在短時間內突破至段位以上（最高十段）。除了檢定之外，偶可帶學生參加一、二項比賽（建議半年一次即可）。但坊間民間團體及才藝班舉辦的比賽繁多，如何選擇優質比賽，而不流於過度商業化，應注意：

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:

• 珠算與心算同時列入比賽項目

• 程度不宜太低，最少珠心算應在六級以上試題

• 時間不宜過短（容易流於寫數字比賽）至少每科目三分鐘以上

• 得獎率不宜百分之百。

• 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.

Taipei City, Taiwan