Words of inspiration from our founder Toru Kumon
Toru Kumon, the founder of the Kumon Method, left us with an abundance of valuable messages that we continue to place great importance on.
In this section of the website we would like to introduce readers to some extracts from the inspiring messages that Toru Kumon delivered to Kumon Instructors and staff since the company was founded. Indeed, we continue to share the mission and values prescribed by Toru Kumon, and place great importance on them in our daily work. This has been vital to ensuring that Kumon has, for over half a century, continued to be the company that it is to this day.
- Children are born with unlimited potential. Every child can excel by developing his or her ability through study at the just-right level. That is the reason I say: “Give it a try! Or you will never discover your true potential.”
- There is never good enough, there must always be something better – there is no progress when we think: “This is good enough.” Even if you currently do not have confidence in yourself, you should have confidence in the you of tomorrow, believing you will be able to instruct better tomorrow by continuing to learn today. As a Kumon Instructor it is priceless to realise that you are unfinished and to always strive to improve.
- Achieving the greatest results with the least amount of effort – high efficiency, or producing the greatest results in the shortest possible amount of time, is a fundamental idea of the Kumon Method. The Kumon worksheets improve learning efficiency by omitting insignificant details, which allows us to achieve greater goals than if we were to try to include all of the content that is covered in the school curriculum.
- Advancing beyond school grade level – the primary strength of the Kumon Method is, above all, advancing beyond school grade level. The Kumon Method is not only for improving students’ performance in their maths, native, and foreign language classes. Rather, by experiencing and learning how to self-learn through their study of those subjects, children are able to cultivate the ability to independently learn what they want to learn without always needing to be taught. Kumon is an education method which enables students to become independent people. We want our students to advance beyond school grade level and experience for themselves how it is possible to study new material through self-learning.
- It is not the child who is at fault – the Kumon Method is based on the conviction that it is not the child who is at fault. We have to discover each child’s potential and then provide the just-right level of study. By doing this, not only parents and teachers, but also, more importantly, the children themselves will be surprised at their unexpected growth and develop confidence in their ability. This is what the Kumon Method is all about.
- Learning from children – even though students are sending signals to Instructors that they aren’t able to solve a problem using the way they were shown, Instructors will never notice these signals unless they are looking for them and have the ability to recognise them. Unless efforts are made to instruct children at their just-right levels, Instructors will never become capable of learning from children.
- Study at the just-right level – the primary strength of the Kumon Method is that it offers study at the just-right level through individualised instruction tailored to each child’s ability. The abilities of children are constantly changing so it is important to determine what is just right at each stage of their development. When children are not provided with the just-right level of study, they may begin to feel that it is their own fault if they do not do well in their studies, which can have very negative implications for their futures. If only children could study at their just-right levels, then they would naturally develop their abilities in an enjoyable way and to a much greater degree.
- Self-learning – for children to make progress it is more effective to meet their desire to grow than for adults to force them to advance by trying to cram everything into their heads. There is a limit to how much you can force a child to study but the potential for growth through self-learning is endless.
- Education should be individualised – human beings all have different levels of ability. If we were to take a class of 40 students, we would find that their levels of prowess in different areas would vary from the most capable (1st) to the least capable (40th). Therefore, instead of the traditional class format, wherein students are restricted by their school grade or age, we set out to provide individualised education that is perfectly tailored to each student’s level of ability as we believe that this is the best way of developing every student’s ability to the maximum. Without being restricted by school grade level, we can enable capable students to advance two, three, four or even more years ahead in their study. At the same time, for less-capable students, we start their study at three or four years below their current school grade level. They soon catch up and then surpass their school grade level.
- Fostering students who continue to read even after graduating from university – the true value of the Kumon Method is that it enables students to attain the mindset required for self-learning, and to acquire enough self-learning experience so that it becomes a habit. We allow children to experience the joy of self-learning and advancing on their own. We hope they will then continue learning by themselves even after going out into the real world, and grow up into people who are proactive in everything they do.