Exercise for the brain

Mir Hanjala Al Masud writes about the unique Aloha learning system which is helping students hone the creative and logical skills in more than 32 countries worldwide

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The human brain has two sides: right and left. The left side of the brain is responsible for logic, such as the skills required to process problems related to science and mathematics. On the other hand, the right hemisphere coordinates creativity, imagination and the arts.

Both hemispheres are connected by the corpus callosum and serve the body in different ways. But as a person grows up, his right hemisphere gradually becomes weak and the left side of brain gets stronger. It happens due to lack of activity. If anyone wants to keep both sides of the brain equally worked, s/he will need some extra-activity in his/her childhood, or we can say before s/he is 14-15 years old.

To help children get this extra-activity, Aloha School has been providing its unique services for several decades in more than 32 countries of the world. It has more than 3,500 centers in the world with approximately five million students.

This unique learning system has three steps: Finger Technique, Abacus, and the main and last step is Mental Arithmetic.

Through Finger Technique, children are trained to do addition and subtraction operation from 1 to 99 by using only their 10 fingers. After that they learn how to use abacus and by using abacus they can do complicated calculations such as big addition, subtraction, multiplication, division even root, square-root, decimal, percentage etc. with speed and accuracy.

In the last part they are told to imagine things they see in real life, and then to visualise an abacus. Thus they start to utilise fully their mental power and power of imagination.
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In the process, children tend to gain greater concentration, listening power, visualization skills, memory retention skills and hone their creative and imaginative power.

A student, who recently completed his Aloha Junior course, can do calculations very fast. ‘Maths is fun for me,’ the boy says.
The journey of Aloha in Bangladesh began when Md. Ali Haider Chowdhury, one of the founders of Aloha Bangladesh, had gone to India to serve Nestle India. During the summer vacation, his twin daughters studied in Aloha India.

‘I found Aloha so interesting and essential for children that I wanted to open a branch in Bangladesh,’ he reminisces. Then he applied for it. Fortunately he got the license from hundreds of other applicants.

‘When I got the license, I quit my job. It was quite challenging,’ he says. Then he launched a branch of Aloha International, calling it ‘Aloha Bangladesh’ in January, 2006.

Aloha Bangladesh now has 45 centres in Bangladesh with 25 of them in Dhaka. The management has an aim to open at least 1 centre in every district of Bangladesh within a very short time.

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Aloha Bangladesh has two courses; Junior and Senior. Junior course is divided into six levels within 18 months, and senior course is divided into eight levels within two years. Each level needs to be completed within three months. Each student gets four classes of two hours per month.

In most classrooms of Aloha, students get homework which they are expected to complete within the next six days. Homework, as students of Aloha Bangladesh tell us, is like meditation to them. ‘Some pupils can grasp as 60-minutes long lesson in just 20 minutes. This is due to the way their brains are being trained,’ says Chowdhury.

Aloha’s expenditure may not be affordable for all. But the school is soon going to launch a self-learning module around the beginning of next year. This module will provide a video of every class of Aloha School, and some books through which mothers will be guided on how to teach their children. Mothers are expected to at least have passed HSC examinations in order to grasp the contents of the module.