Shichida, Heguru, Right-Brain Scams

Updated 23-Sep-2023

Shichida, Heguru and other so-called "right-brain" learning methods, to put it plainly, have no evidence for their efficacy, and in large part the theoretical statements they make about how the brain and learning works are largely discredited by current learning and brain development research.

These kinds of so-called "schools" should be considered scams for the middle-class and wealthy parents who are largely themselves ignorant about how learning works, and are unable to critically appraise the claims of these schools. At base there is the anxiety of parents for their children to do well, and a willingness to latch onto fantastical claims and pony up from hundreds to thousands of dollars for these kinds of classes.

In some cases, there is actual damage done to children as the focus is so much on performance and achievement rather than exploration and engagement in general.

In actual fact, these systems are largely the complete opposite of Montessori, which has strong evidence and is one of the few types of early childhood development program that is research-based (another excellent example is Tools of the Mind.

Right-Brain vs. Montessori

  • Teacher-directed vs. Child-directed
  • Learning material without any research base, vs. research-based learning material
  • Drill and rote learning vs. material manipulation and exploration
  • Predominantly single pace-classrooms vs. predominantly individual pace-classrooms
  • Fantastical claims about every child being a potential genius vs. credible claims about every child being able to achieve self-development and above-average test scores
  • Focus on performance vs. focus on contentment

Critical Reception of Shichida and Heguru

There is very little critical reception of Shichida and Heguru, critical in terms of looking for evidence of claims, both positively and negatively. Essentially these methods and schools thrive in the gullible markets of Asian education hopes and aspirations of credulous, first generation middle-class parents who themselves have deficient education, and live in societies where magical thinking is still very much the norm.

Articles which show some Skepticism about Shichida

Gullible Parents, Wishful Thinking, and Websites that Make Money off of Them

How to Spot Fraud regarding Education Claims

The biggest clues to fraudulent education and learning claims are what is missing, and of course what is highlighted in place of the missing. Like with Sherlock Holmes it is the dog who doesn't bark that should be noted.

What you don't see in fraudulent claims

  • No reference to any scholarly or research articles or books
  • No association with research groups or organizations (other than one's own self-appointed research groups or non-research academic groups)
  • Lack of use of scientific or scholarly terms

Where the focus is for fraudulent claims

  • Media coverage (of any kind)
  • Photos or video of conferences or meetings
  • Single case examples of success taken as the norm
  • Non-scientific, non-experimental performances of individuals
  • Awards of various kinds from various (non-scientific) organizations

These are part and parcel the accoutrements of status in the ream of education and professional development, and practiced to the extreme in Asian countries and cultures. Some organizations and self-promoters go to the extent of inventing their own awards, and then having a group award it to their members. A sure-fire piece of Asian-style public relations.

Media Coverage of Shichida Method Classes

Below is partially skeptical media coverage of Shichida classes in Australia, though I still think this is not nearly critical enough, no investigation of claims, just airtime to air them, sad.