Move over Shichida and Kumon schools, in with Algo method??? Just as I was beginning to think that Japan no longer had anything new to offer by way of maverick educational methods, along comes the ALGO method and ALGO method aligned schools. Parents are only marginally less fickle when it comes to picking schools and educational programs than with choosing fashion products.
In essence, the ALGO method is being picked up as the “in” thing for plumping the brains of the dwindling brat population in Japan. The ALGO club schools tout right brain techniques in the context of content-based and structured schools, plus abacus, plus Indian style math, plus, plus.
Juku or afterschool cramschools have been the first to integrate the Algo Club programs into their own. However, finally here today are the new schools that are springing up and offering in one place what many parents have really wanted for a long time, but who have had to ferry their kids here and there for bits and pieces of the best educational programs.
ALGO is a teaching method used throughout Japan. ALGO is a teaching system that was developed in Japan with the goals of improving mathematical ability and logical thinking.
Background: It was developed in response to the Children’s Maths Olympics, and enjoys the support of the inaugural Maths Olympics champion, Peter Frankle. Following the Meiji Restoration and the opening of the country, many Meiji leaders were able to learn the English language in a remarkably short time. One reason for this is that when they were young, they studied Chinese in such a way as to promote specific, language-related synapse development in the brain. Later in life, when they began to study English, these synapse connections greatly expedited this learning process. Algo Club schools use similar techniques to promote the development of the right side of the brain. It is important not just in learning English, but for a child overall development.
THE E-TERAKOYA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL in Hiroo
Maison Douce Minami-azabu No.308
3-5-13 Minami-azabu, Minato-ku
Tokyo, Japan 106-0047
Offering kindergarten half-day or fullday classes.
The curriculum can be viewed at this page.
The school offers the ALGO CLUB method, cooking art, Japanese and Japanese Culture, Science, Abacus, Indian style math.
THE ALGO CLUB IN ENGLISH is a fairly new school that opened in Futako-Tamagawa on 1st February 2006 incorporating ALGO CLUB, Right Brain Exercises and Mathematics, all in English.
Both the schools are dedicated to teaching not only English or mathematics, but a whole new way of thinking. This school uses a variety of games, exercises, and puzzles in order to stimulate brain development in children. These activities all have an underlying mathematical and/or logical structure. They are taught completely in English, so children are able to immerse themselves in the language. Many right-brained techniques and photographic memory training are also used. school uses a variety of ALGO materials in our lessons. As mentioned, these are primarily mathematical problems. However, they are more than simple addition and subtraction. These problems require a logical approach in order to solve them, and it is this method of thinking that we aim to nurture. The activities include mathematical worksheets, number games, 2D and 3D shape recognition and mapping, as well as numerous smaller activities. Due to a lack of exercise, many children lack core strength and their posture often suffers. They find it difficult to sit straight for extended periods. Also, children need energy in order to study properly. An Eastern medical specialist has developed simple stretching exercises designed to improve core strength in children and revitalize their energy.
Address: Room 202, Manoa Building no.3, 3-20-2 Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Phone/Fax – 03-370…
Find specific directions and map at here
An excerpt of a news article on the popularity of Algo Club programs from Daily Yomiuri is posted below:
In preparing children to study math, could puzzles be the solution?
Divided into groups of four, a classroom full of children were playing a game in which they had to deduce the numbers printed on cards held by their classmates. At another point in the class they tried puzzles that called for arranging flat objects or building specified forms from cubes. The children never showed signs of getting bored as they played eight kinds of “mathematical games” during the 90-minute class.
So went an “Algo Club” class recently observed by The Yomiuri Shimbun. Intended mainly for 5-year-olds through third-year primary school students, Algo Club is a mathematical training program aimed at helping children develop thinking ability, concentration, perseverance and manners. The developers of the material include Peter Frankle, a Japan-based Hungarian mathematician and street entertainer.
Juku cram schools can offer the Algo Club program under license from a Tokyo-based company of the same name, with about 90 locations nationwide currently holding classes.
The class described above was held at Hiroshima-based juku cram school chain Rijo Gakuin’s Hiroshima center. The chain mainly offers preparatory programs for middle school entrance exams.
“Mathematical puzzles are tough, but interesting,” said Yutaro Miura, 9, one of the children in the class.
“Even before coming here, my son loved puzzles,” his mother, Atsuko, 35, added. “But after taking Algo Club classes, he seems to be able to progress through trial and error.”
Juku cram schools usually offer preparatory programs for middle school entrance exams, starting with fourth-year primary school students, because by that time children develop the concentration necessary to process studies as scheduled. However, some cram schools teach the younger students what the older ones are supposed to learn, claiming that this kind of early teaching is necessary to help them fully acquire the knowledge they are taught.
But Rijo Gakuin head Katsumi Kadotani, 48, thinks otherwise.
“I’ve long believed that as long as primary school students learn how to think or stay focused during their younger grades rather than merely cramming in knowledge, they can keep developing [their abilities] as they move into higher grades,” he said. “However, I couldn’t find any suitable teaching approach for younger ones to meet that aim.”
Soon after Algo Club became available in 2005, therefore, Kadotani decided to offer the program at his own juku chain. When it offered trial classes the following year, it attracted more than 200 children–twice as many as expected.
“Parents of today’s primary school students themselves developed their calculation skills at juku, but from their own experience they know that calculation is just part of overall scholastic ability,” Kadotani pointed out. “Now that more and more parents have only one child, they are taking a harder look at juku, trying desperately to find the one that can really help their children’s scholastic performance.”
The results of the Program for International Student Assessment conducted in 2006 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that Japanese children had fallen in the rankings in both science and mathematical literacy. The results are among several indicators that have prompted many to argue that Japanese children nowadays lack thinking power.
Consequently, parents are experiencing growing anxiety over their children’s scholastic abilities, and this is an apparent factor behind the popularity of Algo Club.
Meanwhile, Yotsuya Otsuka, a major Tokyo-based chain specializing in preparatory programs for middle school entrance exams, has also decided to introduce Algo Club at six of its centers beginning this month.
Nonetheless, Algo Club has just a three-year history. It will need much more time to judge the real advantage–whether the puzzle-based program for children up to third grade will be able to help them develop not only skills to pass entrance exams, but also thinking skills useful for their whole life.
(Apr. 3, 2008)
Source: Educational Renaissance / Gaudia challenges Kumon Daily Yomiuri Apr. 3, 2008