Career Path

Nurturing natural abilities

by Judy Chan

Johson Chang, founder and chief specialist
Neuroacademi Limited
Photo: Edde Ngan

While early childhood specialists continue to ponder the nature-versus-nurture debate, there is no doubt about the phenomenal capacity of the human brain.

After obtaining a master's degree in business administration in the UK, Johson Chang directed his studies and experience to the field of right-brain education and childhood learning in different countries, including the UK, US and Japan.

Going from the premise that close to 70 per cent of a child's learning capacity develops during the first six years of life and that right-brain learning strategies can maximise children's potential, Mr Chang founded Neuroacademi Limited in 2007, introducing a series of home-teaching materials related to this theory.

He has since developed his interest in researching and designing right-brain education material into a successful business.

Early learning

Having invented the world's first IT platform to provide an education curriculum for children under six, Mr Chang regularly lectures at the School of Continuing and Professional studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Mead Johnson Club and childhood-education seminars.

"Multiple intelligence is an essential prerequisite for excellence in the new millennium," he notes. The theory is that the brain has two distinct sides, or hemispheres: the left and the right, each responsible for different functions.

"The right brain is believed to be more 'visual', processing information in an intuitive manner, first scanning the whole picture, then the detail. This is believed to be the part of the brain that focuses on creativity and emotions," Mr Chang explains. "The left one is more 'verbal' and 'logical', analysing data in a sequential way, starting from individual parts before moving to the whole picture."

Ideal environment

In addition to providing professional solutions for parents assisting with their children's learning, Neuroacademi also devises teaching methodology and materials for right-brain learning.

Mr Chang's team of experts includes overseas and local specialists in right-brain education, child and educational psychologists, neurophysiologists, paediatricians, counsellors, lecturers, pre-school education experts, finance professionals and instructors.

"It gives me great satisfaction to help parents that are passionate about their children's development. Our aim is to support 'supermums' and 'superdads' through a curriculum based on more than 50 years of research," Mr Chang stresses. "Our experts communicate closely with parents to ensure the materials are used effectively by the family."

Since small children spend more time at home than they do anywhere else, parental involvement can positively influence their education, Mr Chang believes, describing parents as "resources" towards their children's achievements.

He feels that, with the right attitude, time and teaching materials, combined with guidance and support, parents can create the ideal learning environment.

"The insight that right-brain learning at the right age can lead to happy growth and smart children makes me more passionate about early childhood development," Mr Chang emphasises.

The existing Neuroacademi curriculum is monitored closely, and product development is ongoing, he says. This includes material covering six core subjects — Chinese, English, Mathematics, encyclopaedia, foreign languages and music — which Mr Chang says is based on scientifically researched teaching theory, bearing in mind the biological development of babies and young children. "Attractive packaging is not our prime concern," he stresses.

Working parents should strike a balance between work and home, Mr Chang believes. Personally, he delegates work to consultants where possible in order to spend time with his own family.

Advances in technology mean that work can be done out of the office, and he enjoys being able to catch up with work while on holiday with his family.

Graduates today have the ability to take control of their future careers, Mr Chang observes, advising young newcomers to the employment market to keep abreast of industry trends.

He notes however that companies must provide a nurturing environment so as to drive staff performance and advancement. "Employees on the other hand, will need patience, persistence and common sense in the face of stiff competition," he says.

Taken from Career Times 30 October 2009, p. B8
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