Laotians use Japanese abacus to develop thinking skills The Japanese abacus, a great gadget to develop thinking skills is not new to Laos as EDF-Lao or Education Development Foundation of Laos introduced it to schoolchildren in 2006.
Miss Sojiwajn Serthsri, from the Bangkok-based Institute of Promotion of Science and Technology told the KPL News reporter that this instrument helps school pupils to concentrate as they have to think when they use the Japanese abacus.
However, those who train for long hours on the abacus can operate at a rather fantastic speed because they had already internalized the thinking concepts of the Japanese abacus system so much so that they can beat the space age calculator. .
To ensure that the it is strongly entrenched in Laos, EDF-Laos is taking the step of training Laotians to become trainers of abacus teachers and so they will spawn abacus teachers.
Miss Sojiwajn is now teaching 14 Lao school teachers from Vientiane and Khammouan provinces to become trainers of Japanese abacus teachers.
When they complete this five-day course, funded by EDF-Laos, held at Ministry of Education Guesthouse in Vientiane, they would be tasked to train their colleagues to become abacus teachers.Presently,15 schools in Laos teach pupils on how to use the Japanese abacus but when the present batch of school teachers complete their training for trainers course one can expect to see many more schools offering such a course.
Also, one can expect a rapid surge in the popularity of this gadget, as Miss Sojiwajn said that the young primary school children in Laos have a liking for the abacus because they can touch and feel it and they generally find it easy to learn.
On the other hand, the Thai teacher said that to attain a complete mastery of the Japanese abacus one has to be disciplined, hardworking and to be prepared for a slow and uphill slog.
I spent 10 months in Japan just to master this gadget and each day I would work on the Japanese abacus for as long as 13 hours, she added.
One of the ways of spurring usage and interest in this ancient gadget is to organize Japanese abacus competitions in Laos and this is likely to be held when there is a critical mass of users, said Miss Sojiwajn.
Last but not least this gadget is for all to learn to use to develop their thinking skills and so even the old have the mental capability to learn its functions and to enjoy the thrill of thinking lucidly.