Numerous example prove that people who learn Abacus Mental Arithmetic since childhood are more outstanding in intellect, academic and general behaviour. Because of the length of this article, I only cite some example. The famous Chen Yung-Chien graduated from the senior high school of Taiwan Normal University, and then entered the department of information management, Cheng-Chi University this year. His other senior high school classmates also entered the top university. Lo Yi-Chiung entered the mass communication department of Cheng_Chih University; Wu Ping-Chi entered the chemical engineering department in Taiwan University; Chen Che-Shen graduated from Chien Ko Senior High School, entered the medical department in Taiwan University; Lin Wun-Hsuan graduated from Chung Shan Girls Senior high School, entered the chemical engineering department in Taiwan University; Hwang Pei-Shu entered the accounting department in Taiwan University.
The Gradual Increase of Children who Join the Abacus Mental Arithmetic Evaluation Test
In recent years, with the spread of Abacus Mental Arithmetic training, more and more children join the field and have a good performance. Take for example, the evaluation test help by Children's Abacus Association more than 128,000 children participated in the test in 1993; 162,000 in 1994; 192,000 in 1995. All these show that the children who take part in the abacus evaluation test is on the rapid increase. The real number should be more than 300,000 if we take into consideration some similar tests held by other associations. It is a good phenomenon, which proves that Abacus Mental Arithmetic is widely favoured and supported by the society.
As the consciousness of numbers is gradually developed in children from one and a half to two years old, concrete items should further strengthen it, so that they know their association. At this stage, concrete items work as 'teaching aids'. Through constant exploration, practice and tries, children get the concept of numbers. The process goes from the concrete, semi-concrete to total abstract. The learning of abacus helps the understanding of natural science because it has concrete strings of balls to help thinking. 'The elevation of abacus' means the ability to calculate by concrete balls to the invisible, imagery or formal calculation, which then reaches the level of mental arithmetic. The learning of abacus has the same process as Piaget's and Burner's cognitive theory, which emphasizes the mental development from the concrete to the conceptual, formal and symbolic.
Obviously, Burner's theory, which also emphasizes the gradual development of intellect, is deeply influenced by Piaget's stage theory. That is, comprehension and assimilation of knowledge are most important in every stage of learning. Human wisdom and potentiality can keep growing without the limit of age. In other words, it is environment that will either slow down or expedite the development of intellect. The so-called 'readiness' of learning does not totally rely on physical maturity. Therefore, teachers should not waste time in waiting for the biological maturity. When children are equipped with certain knowledge and great opportunity to lead them into another stage of learning. Burner therefore advocates the early inspiration of wisdom and learning, which helps unearth talent, shortens the unnecessary time of learning and accomplishes the learning goal
It is indeed exhilarating for the educators to see the wide support of Abacus Mental Arithmetic training, which contributes a lot to the development of intellect.
YANG CHU-HUNG, professor of Taichung Institute of Commerce, Taiwan