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August 28, 2012

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'Special-ability' class taught kids to cheat

A "special-ability" class is under police investigation as angry parents who paid more than 100,000 yuan (US$15,720) in tuition found their children were taught not to read without their eyes but how to cheat.

The training class held in a hotel in Qingpu District starting in mid-August and ending this past Saturday, convinced parents of 30 children, aged seven to 17, that they could teach special abilities by developing the children's right brain.

Dubbed as "Winning on Your Right Brain Training Class," organizers boasted that the children could learn to read books with their eyes covered and tell the pattern and number of a poker card with only a gentle touch on the card's back.

Talented children can learn even more such as "naturally seeing answers in their heads" when reading test papers, and learning the Chinese translation by only seeing a new English word, the organizer promised parents.

Teachers and organizers had all checked out from the hotel and couldn't be found yesterday as parents called police.

The 30 youngsters were reported to learn their "super powers" attentively in the hotel's hall during the 10-day-long training class.

But they learned in a weird way - all the students were seen reading their books but they read them extremely fast by turning all the pages in 20 seconds. After they finished "reading" the book, they started it all over again, reported Oriental Morning Post.

Some children were "reading" the books by turning their pages beside their ears, and some were not even looking at the books, the newspaper said.

Their 40-year-old teacher Lei Yaru would then asked them, "How many of you have seen the book pages glowing with light? And how many see pictures when turning the pages? And how many learn the stories?" The students raised their hands and most said they had seen the glowing light.

"As I turn the pages fast, the contents of the book appeared just like cartoons," said a 10-year-old boy, one of the "super power" students.

He told the newspaper that they learned the fast reading by first studying a yellow card with a blue circle.

Their tutor, Lei, explained that she believed everything including words has "certain waves" which would be received by the students after they were trained to use their right brain.

"The waves would be recorded in their brains in the forms of pictures so they can read without looking at the books," Lei told an undercover reporter who posed as a parent.

But one of the parents, Liu Junfeng, told the newspaper he found his 11-year-old girl didn't have any special abilities like seeing through poker cards, but she learned how to cheat him.

"I tested my girl by covering her eyes with a red cloth, but I found her rolling her eyeballs and secretly watching through a gap to tell the cards' patterns," said Liu. He said he tried again by covering the red cloth tightly and the girl failed to tell the right answer.

Many of the victimized parents are entrepreneurs who didn't blink at paying 100,000 yuan for their children to learn special abilities, said Liu.

"I found my son playing little tricks when fast-reading books and seeing through poker cards but he cried out loud, refusing to admit that he cheated," said a parent surnamed Yang. "I sent him to the class to develop his right brain but only to see him become dishonest," said Yang.

Lei said the class was held by Minhang Xinyu Education Training Center. Lei said she would go to Beijing yesterday to hold a similar class. But no registration records about the education center were found on the website of the local industrial and commercial bureau.

Qingpu police said that at least four parents have reported the training classes to them and they are investigating.


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