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The children trained in mental arithmetic in abacus method imagine abacus especially the row & sliders while doing mental arithmetic. Every time a number is either called out or shown, the trained child keeps the number as a slider/s-image in the mind. When a subsequent number is called out either to add, subtract, multiply or divide, the child using the formulae manipulates the slider on the respective rows and arrives at the answer and that answer again appears as a slider/s image in the mind. This slider/s image is retained and the subsequent number or numbers if called out are again worked upon to arrive at the answer and retained as an image by further manipulation of sliders in the respective rows and sliders. Thus it goes on as the child keeps computing using the slider/s matrix.

One queer thing keeps happening while Abacus trained child does mental arithmetic by the image of abacus. Invariably children keep moving their fingers in the air while doing this method of mental computation. Why do they do so? In fact, the straightforward answer is that the child is working on an abacus only, but it is an imagined abacus – rather an image of abacus. The flying fingers move the sliders before its eyes. These sliders are visible to the child but invisible to others. Contrarily, some children do not fly the working fingers and only look at the sliders and manipulate them mentally. I.e. when a slider in the 10s rows is value added, it is imagined to have been done and the image thus attained is retained till further sliders are added or subtracted, as the case may be. There is no big difference between the two different practices. The first child is only imagining the sliders the second child is imagining even the moving of the sliders. Here the imagination takes a further step and hence the child computing without flying the fingers is a step stronger in the imagining skills. The child working with the flying fingers is never of course wrong.

There is a further variation within the students who are working with flying fingers in the air. The one which does with the minimal action is slightly better and stronger in imaging as the child has a better mind control compared to the other. The child who does very violent manipulation has the fear of losing the image of the sliders and hence does violent finger flying to catch up with the fading image before it disappears. Greater the fear of losing the sight of the imagined slider/s image more violent will be the fingers flying in the air. In fact these children have to be appreciated for their strong objective of aiming at the accuracy with the limitations they have in image capture, manipulation and retention.

To summarize, we need to conclusively say that none of the children are wrong in their practices, as the different practices portray different levels of imaging skills. One is able to imagine the sliders only and that too only for too short a time and hence gropes in the air violently; the second is able to imagine the sliders and also work with the fingers to manipulate the imagined sliders. The best practice in this, of course, is that of the student who not only imagines the sliders but also imagines the manipulation. To the question who is the right, the answer is “all are right” if the objective is to arrive at the correct answer. But to the question who is the best, the answer of course is “the best is the one who is able to imagine not only the beads but also the manipulation”. The best abacus exponent is the one who has the best levels of concentration whose image formation, manipulation and retention are strong. He is 1-up in comparison with the one who aims at the sheer arithmetic objective which is “correct answer”. Yes if you look the score all are equal, but yet if you look the skill the ‘still’ manipulator who does everything mentally is of course is the best// #IndianAbacusBasheer

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