Sensei Shares Insights: Japanese Abacus Teachers, COVID, Patience, Failure

Thanks to Zoom, I was able to join 236 other Abacus teachers in Japan for a great session about the benefits of Abacus. There was so much information to share that we were together for more than four hours!

There were some very well-known teachers who lectured and answered questions. These teachers have raised the youngest top Dan students by first grade. These teachers start Abacus programs with students as young as 3 years old and teach 50 students at one time. Impressive!

They shared their techniques for creating the fastest and most accurate students who compete at a national level.

There are a few things I agree with and would like to share with you:

1. To gain skills, a student should practice Abacus for at least three years — longer is better to retain those skills.

2. How fast they reach the highest level is not the key to retaining the Anzan skill for the rest of their lives. It takes time to go to a higher level, but staying longer and continuing to practice guarantees they will keep the skill for the rest of their lives.

3. Parent support is the key to success, especially for younger children. Make them practice every day and help them learn to like it. That will make them improve faster.

4. Average Japanese students practice Abacus for about four to six hours each week.

I hope you can take a moment to consider how you can guide your children’s future with Abacus/Anzan.

Here are some other things I would like you to consider:

Effect of Covid

I have observed common post-COVID syndromes in children and adults.

Many children have lost social skills, including politeness and greetings to each other.

Many parents are rushing to get things done so quickly.

We all used Amazon and online orders during COVID, which was very practical and helpful. Browsing. Checkout. Received. If you don’t like it, click Return and done — no human interaction.

Do you remember real life is more complicated than this, with more joy and genuine communication with respect and humility?

Teach Patience

Please give your children one thing at a time to make sure your child enjoys and keeps practicing.

They may not like it all the time, but it teaches them to be patient to learn.

Please don’t rush to make them learn multiple things at one time or one after another.

A Word About Failure

Failing an exam is not failure. School gives kids a lesson to prepare for a test. Life gives us tests to fail, which teaches us a lesson.

Time Is An Important Gift

I hope all of you have a great summer after two years of isolated life. Make sure to please spend time with your children (and not spend money). Every minute is a present that will be history if you look at your phone while your children are playing and want you to play with them. Please don’t waste your time by not spending time with your children.

Be wise and love yourself and your children.

And appreciate your parents, please.

~ Sensei Miwako

Nothing fuels the fire for math than discovering you can be a math genius! If you’re not sure Abacus will help your child, sign up for a free preview of our online Abacus Classes – there’s no obligation to register! Come meet with us, watch some kids in action, calculating at the speed of light! We guarantee you will have fun watching these little geniuses.




JAMS is proud to be the only Abacus math school in Portland and in the State of Oregon certified by the League of Soroban of Americas. Since 2001, we have dedicated to Abacus & Anzan instruction and to building a strong foundation of Mental Mathematics along with lifelong skills. JAMS empowers children to achieve academic success, so they will grow in areas that go well beyond the classroom. JAMS parents can expect their child to improve in 5 different areas: concentration, discipline, problem-solving, time management, and confidence. This is the teaching approach at JAMS since opening its doors.