Abacus Education

The first time I encountered a juku was when I returned with my 上智大学学生寮 roommate (I spent my 3rd year in university on exchange at Sophia) to his home in Shimane Prefecture. Shinji’s parents ran an abacus juku. I thought to myself, “An abacus juku? In 1991? In Japan, where the pocket calculator was invented in the 1960s? How bizzare!”

Over the years, I have visited the 瀬川塾 many times and have been fascinated and impressed by the success that abacus education can have with some kids. Children who enjoy computation (I was one of those myself) can get a real kick out of the speed with which the abacus lets them perform calculations, especially once they graduate to methods where they’re only visualizing the abacus not actually using it.

My former roommate is now involved in a larger-scale effort to introduce the abacus more formally into math education, not as a calculator, but rather as one more way to introduce elementary school students to different math concepts. See Shinji’s blog for more information on SSKClub and their efforts.

3 responses to “Abacus Education

  1. Pingback: Most-Read Blog Posts of 2011 | Jukupedia • Shadowing Education • 塾ペディア

  2. Pingback: Abacus Instruction in Vancouver | Jukupedia • Shadowing Education • 塾ペディア

  3. Abacus training is initiated in a child with a set of rules. Initially the child learns to use the Abacus tool proficiently to give the correct answer. Gradually the child is taught to use the visualization skill and imagine an abacus, while the actual tool is removed. The child is then taught to calculate normally like they would do on abacus, but this time they will use the visualized abacus. Slowly as the time progresses the child confidently does larger digit calculations with speed and accuracy, without the aid of any tool.

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