All Children are Born Geniuses

If you happen to be pregnant right now look at your watch and start counting now! Count sixty seconds. During that one minute your unborn child gains approximately one quarter of a million new brain cells, reveals Glenn Doman in his book, How To Give Your Child Encyclopedic Knowledge. He stresses, “Function determines structure”. In other words, if you don’t use them (your brain cells, that is) you lose them.

The human brain is more powerful than any computer, according numerous studies. It is able to absorb all kinds of matter that is fed into it in a proper manner and at a proper time. As Bill O Brien, psychologist, remarks, “The greatest unexplored territory in the world is the space between our ears!” A lot of research has been undertaken on this subject already, especially on how the brain functions in little children. Thanks to nearly 40 years of research, there is now a new approach that is being advocated.

Tony Buzan, a researcher says, “At the moment the child is born, it is already brilliant. It picks up language much better than a doctor of philosophy in any subject in only two years and is a master of it by the three or four”. According to Gordon Dryden, research has proved it beyond doubt one develops 50 per cent of one’s ability to learn in the first four years of one’s life and the other 30 per cent of that ability before one turns eight”. In fact, the latest research shows that babies can actually hear in the last month of pregnancy. The sounds are a little muffled though, since it travels through the mother’s body to the baby’s ears. Remember how Abhimanyu, in the Mahabharat, is supposed to have learnt how to get out of the “Chakravhyu” while still in his mother’s womb as he listened to Krishna explain the war strategy. This clearly brings out that it is not an entirely a 20th century concept after all.

Given these facts, it makes sense to start early formal learning giving children a head start, especially and when the process of learning comes to them naturally. Glenn Doman says, “Babies love to learn. In fact, they prefer it to eating food”. In an era of information technology, where we are constantly bombarded with something new every minute, it is not possible to know every thing. But the environment that we live in is a highly competitive one. It is necessary to update oneself constantly. Glenn Doman recommends, “If you teach children to love to learn, then they can learn anything they want to”. Hence, the way children are taught is very important, so that it fosters their love for learning.

Howard Gardner in his book, Frames Of Mind lists seven intelligence centers namely linguistic (reading, writing, speaking), logical (math, science, history, geography), kinesthetic, (music, sport, dance), spatial/virtual (art, skill needed in driving/flying), intra–personal (self esteem), and interpersonal (relationships with others). Unfortunately, most schools concentrate on only the first i.e. the linguistic center.

According to research conducted by Glenn Doman and his associates, mathematics and language could be taught to the youngest child with ease by using the visual pathway, this could be called learning visual facts. Words are facts. They are representations of an object of action and could be learned just as easily as drawing or a photograph which is also a representation. In his book, How To Teach Your Child To Read, he remarks, “No one is surprised when a child recognizes a picture of a cat but we are very surprised if she or he recognizes the word cat”.

The same is true for mathematics. Numerals alone are confusing abstractions. That is why 95% adults hate maths and don’t understand it. Numbers could be learnt visually (e.g. a field of dots) rather than conceptually and this makes complete sense to a child. The child can amaze us with his/her ability to develop such a strong understanding of numbers.

Buckmister Fuller, a well known educator, opines, “All children are born geniuses and we spend the first six years of their lives degeniuzising them. Obviously, we’ve gone wrong somewhere. Most schools have a very structured method of teaching and the emphasis is more on performance in tests rather than learning per se. To teach a child is a delightful gift, to test him is to demand a payment in advance. Glenn Doman in his book observes, “Testing is the opposite of learning”. Tests stress more on finding out what the child knows than what the child actually knows. According to Dr. R S Ghosh, a consultant for Education World Wide Online, “Reverse Psychology” could be used to find out what the child knows. For example, “If there are two children, Ramesh and Ruma in a room, and there is a picture of the flag of Australia, you tell Ruma, you don’t tell me the answer, I am going to ask Ramesh to which country the flag belongs, Ruma would be eager to answer just because she has been asked not to provide the answer. This is an indirect way to find out whether the child actually knows”.

According to Jean Marzollo and Janice Lloyd, both experts on education and early childhood specialists, in their book, Learning Through Play say, “Play is learning and even more play is the most effective kind of learning.” Therefore, the key, is “Turning play into a learning experience, and making sure all learning is fun”, according to Gordon Drysden, in his book, The Learning Revolution. Your child is like an iceberg, 10 per cent on the surface, i.e. the physical and 90% under the water in other words the intellectual, emotional and spiritual self. Parents should spend time directly proportionate these attributes to nurture these unseen aspects of the child. So, if you are convinced that your children should have a head start in life, make sure they’re having a ball while they are at it.

October 4, 2018