Video Credit: AsiaWire
This footage seen over 10 million times shows pupils flipping through books at a ‘quantum speed reading’ class which claims to teach children how to read 100,000 words in five minutes.
Experts weighing in on the growing trend – marketed to parents whose children find themselves in increasingly competitive environments – have called the technique “nonsense”.
The course offered by the Xinzhitong education centre in Chinese capital Beijing is one of at least half a dozen charging desperate parents a sum of up to 50,000 RMB (5,500 GBP) for similar lessons throughout the country.
One school outside of the capital charged an eye-watering 269,000 RMB (29,590 GBP) to teach the skill, reports said.
Promotional material used by the Beijing centre says its 72-hour courses are suitable for children between the ages of 10 and 16.
By the end of the course, which helps focus and train the brain’s right hemisphere, it says its pupils will be able to read a 100,000-word book in just five minutes.
But sceptical members of the public and now experts have shot down the school’s wild claims, after footage showed its pupils seemingly randomly flipping through a thick book, some barely even looking at the pages.
Images on social media even showed schoolchildren flipping through material while blindfolded.
Xinzhitong’s promotional material claims that the speed reading lessons are based on a technique developed by Japanese teacher Yumiko Tobitani, whose 2006 work Quantum Speed Reading: Awakening Your Child’s Mind is available online through platforms such as Amazon.
In videos still live on YouTube, Tobitani explains: “When you flip the pages of the book, images start to appear that help you understand its contents.
“Another wonderful thing is that even if the text is written in French, German or English, it would be translated to your own language, and connects to images so that you can understand the book immediately.”
A spokeswoman for Xinzhitong’s parent company, Beijing Xinzhitong Qiguang Education Technology Co Ltd, has tried to deny accusations it was misleading children and parents.
She said the quantum speed reading course offered by the subsidiary education centre was not authorised, but the parent company’s own social media feed advertised similar lessons last month.
Xiong Bingqi, with with Chinese think tank 21st Century Education Research Institute, told local media the speed reading training was groundless and had “no scientific basis”.
University of Science and Technology of China Professor Yuan Lanfeng called the lessons “utter nonsense”.
Both experts said the courses were designed to take advantage of desperate parents, and sought to deceive the public by using “scientific jargon”.
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