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this page yourself
The following sections are excerpts, not in any
particular order, from an upcoming book by Michael Shestov of a chapter entitled, "SupremeLearning Typing, Writing and Spelling".
What kind of sponge are you?
Let error-free rule!
Disciplined error correction
A particular kind
Getting off the merry-go-round
of error proliferation
A key that is the key to non-learning
A myth of mastering
foreign or native languages and typing
How to contact us or purchase
kind of sponge are you?
As you can
see, I'm sitting here in front of a computer. What is a computer to you? Is it
a number-crunching machine? An aid to writing papers and documents? A video game
interface? Maybe your gate to the Internet? Or is it just a big -- expensive
-- typewriter and calculator? I ask, because I have noticed that most computer
owners do not use their computers in very many ways; they often have one or two
uses and leave it at that -- all the while using a miniscule amount of the computer's
Some people spend hours upon hours, for
example, surfing the World Wide Web. Though the Web can be an undeniably good informational
resource, it also can be a huge source of frustration. All of us who surf, know how much time it can
take to find just the right piece of information we're after. But I instead want to concentrate
right now on what happens when pertinent information is retrieved.
Take a moment to recall all
the times you've accessed Web information. How much do you recall now? And if you don't recall much
now, what was the point of your spending so much time to track it down in the first place? Do you
know why this phenomenon occurs? You might surmise, but let me lead you in the right direction.
Picture a sponge being
applied to a puddle of liquid. That sponge, quickly and easily, soaks up and holds that liquid. The
sponge, with the liquid, can then be moved to another location, and at any time, the liquid can be
drawn out of it.
But now, what if we had an
object that were identical to our sponge, and just as porous, only instead of being made of an
absorbent material, it were made of wood? Sure, the liquid would permeate through our wooden
"sponge", but it would not be retained, nor would it then be transferable to another
Most of us are more like that wooden
sponge than the absorbent sponge.
Just like the wooden sponge, which liquid
can go all throughout, we also can take in large quantities of information. But unlike that
absorbent sponge, we do not retain that information; we haven't actually learned that information,
and thus cannot use it later. Adults are, unfortunately, especially incapable of mimicking the
absorbent sponge, to any significant degree.
Why have we been created more like a piece
of wood than a sponge? Why are our brains seemingly going to waste?
The answer lies in what
has formed our brains since very early on: our teaching systems.
typing program that accompanies some SupremeLearning audio- and videotapes will
inevitably lead to better speaking and writing -- literally day-by-day. You don't
need a fancy program with lots of features that have nothing to do with learning.
In fact, using fancy features without having the fundamentals as described here
will actually hurt more than help.
With the SupremeLearning typing program,
created by Gin I. Paris, a user is not allowed to proceed with writing if even a single error has
occurred. This is whether the error was noticed or unnoticed. The software stops you mid-sentence
and mid-word until you type correctly. The unnoticed errors now become very noticed. When you can't
continue, you get a special kind of idiosyncrasy -- a sort of disgust for not being able to do what
you think you should be able to do. Eventually you develop a whole motor skill of being
disgusted with creating unnoticed errors. You, no more, want even a slight possibility of leaving
mistakes unnoticed. You begin to catch the errors before they are caused. And the phenomenon spreads
to other areas such as the noticing of errors in others' reading and speaking.
In other words, this
program's exercise creates a strong negative attitude towards any mistake in written, as well as
spoken, speech. In addition, this SupremeLearning "rule" turns any person into a natural
excellent proofreader. You've heard of Garbage In / Garbage Out? Now we finally have Quality In /
But there's more. In Gin I.
Paris's program, a whole line must be repeated if even one single "small" mistake has been
made -- even at the very end of the line. Your computer will not take bribes; your computer will not
allow you to offer any rationalizations; your computer is boss. But a boss that you welcome, if you
want to better your learning and even your whole approach to life.
Using the SupremeLearning
typing program simultaneously with the video- and audiocassettes of the basic SupremeLearning course
is simple and does the job of helping you eliminate the Backspace Approach. But it also develops a
kind of "finger memory", which serves, essentially, as an additional organ of sense.
Believe me, no one else is talking about these things; that's because they don't understand the
importance of error-free work being performed the first time! And it certainly hasn't been used by
anyone to master a language. But you can start now!
Why do we need to pay so much attention to
seemingly "insignificant" errors? Let's look at it again. When a child has been corrected,
the next time that child will more likely remember not to repeat the same kind of mistake again. But
when an adult makes a mistake and isn't punished for doing so, the next time, under similar
circumstances, they will repeat that mistake on a motor skill level -- subconsciously. And there
will consequently be no effective learning.
For example, consider an adult who gets
used to writing the word "correctly", instead of "correct", by typing
"correctly" and every time erasing the letters "ly" with the "help" of
the Backspace. Certainly there will be many situations when they will keep writing an incorrect
version instead of the correct one; the "ly" suffix is common. If they don't feel sorry
for it -- a strong enough sorry -- that attitude will propagate. Extra "ly"s will be typed
all over the place. I declare that that attitude should be nipped in the bud, stopped in its
tracks, put out to pasture!
We all know
how easy it is to use the Backspace key to remove your last mistyped characters.
But who wants to take the easy way out when so many things are at stake? If
you want to get better overall, you need to stop using the traditional usage
of the Backspace key, and re-focus your attention on a new unconventional way.
When you know you've made a typo, don't
just push the Backspace for the last mistyped characters and continue on your merry way of writing!
If you do, that same exact mistake will -- almost certainly -- be repeated. In fact, the more you
make the same mistake, the more you are training your brain to want to make that same mistake --
subconsciously, of course. So even when your conscious mind decides it doesn't want to make
mistakes, your subconscious mind, will very often win out.
Now that you've heard this from me, you
can test this phenomenon on your own. You can take note of some errors that you make, either in
typing or in handwriting, and try to notice that when you do catch your errors, you have a tendency
to make the same errors over and over.
This doesn't just happen with typing; it
happens with walking into things, putting the wrong key in the keyhole, and even doing the wrong
dance step. Did anyone catch President Clinton in his 2000 State of the Union address mistakenly
saying that Vice President Gore was working to make communities more "liberal"? He meant
to say "livable". But even that obvious embarrassment wasn't enough to prevent the
President from -- again, not 2 minutes later -- saying, work to make communities
more "liberal" instead of "livable"! Once an error, always an error, unless
you somehow stop the propagation! Just having the will to do so is not enough.
Repeated enough, your subconscious mind
will be so used to individual mistakes that you have allowed to be made, that even
during proofreading sessions later, your subconscious mind will oftentimes purposefully not catch
that same error. That is, of course, since the mistake was treated as, okay, it is also considered
okay during proofreading. Taking the Backspace Approach causes each individual error to propagate
itself throughout future documents that you will create -- something like the computer viruses
that go undetected and propagate themselves unnoticed.
A practice that you can put into place
immediately is, rather than using the Backspace key on just the error, at the very least, instead,
use it to erase the mistyped characters, plus a few of the correctly typed characters immediately
preceding the mistyped characters. Then, retype the correctly typed characters and the now-corrected
To have a disciplined brain, you need to
punish it for making mistakes. In the normal sense, it seems worse to have to retype more than
"necessary". It is certainly a punishment to have to re-read, re-process, and re-type the
same text, especially the text that you had originally typed correctly. Your brain thinks it wants
to hurry and get the job done. What could be worse punishment than having to re-type already
correctly-written text just because of a single small error? The punishment doesn't seem to fit the
But it was that hurry by your brain that
caused the problem in the first place. By forcing yourself to type extra characters, not just the
ones in error, your brain rethinks the connection between all the characters, and rethinks,
subconsciously, how not-so-good-after-all it was to hurry through potentially problematic areas.
Retyping more characters than were in error, naturally causes your brain to concentrate more on the
correct letter-symbol combination. Your brain would like to not have to retype extra characters in
the future, so it begins to do everything possible to never repeat the same mistake again!
The only way to use keyboarding for
self-development, as, for example, speeding up the process of mastering a language, is, as we have
learned, to write every word error-free. Let me say the following, dramatically, but
truthfully: it would be better to type one page in American English error-free than 500 pages with
unnoticed errors. The latter way will ruin your chances of improving your vocabulary, which must
instead be based on excellent spelling ability.
I have put this theory to
the test, not only with myself but with multitudes of others. The research shows
that taking extra small precautions as you work creates results in drastically
different quality later.
particular kind of self-dictation
good writing (also meaning keyboarding) habits is very important, of course.
It's not without reason that many Ministries of Foreign Affairs host courses
in typing along with the mastering of native and foreign languages. Speaking
and writing must be used together. But that combination doesn't necessarily help
most students to evenly excel in both disciplines. So I've tried to connect them
in the most logical way and I think that I've succeeded.
When people write, they should also use a
special kind of self-dictation. In fact, typing and/or writing will help the process of your
mastering American English only if you use this certain style of self-dictation. Acquiring this new
style will help bring back your early childhood photographic memory, which allowed you to remember,
for example, whole poems. (You recall -- too many ages ago -- how some things were very easy for you
back then, don't you?) This will abstractly add a new sensory organ -- one that helps you memorize,
retain, and recall data in any language.
You cannot learn American English, just by
(inferior quality) reading, self-dictation, and writing. If you speak or write incorrectly, even if
you're only slightly off, you're wasting your time. Even one missing or one extra letter can make
all the difference -- for the worse. And one misplaced stress can mean that no one understands you
Take the word moron. It's not a word if
you pronounce it "MOR-n" or "moor-RON". It's an actual word only if you
pronounce it with even stresses on both syllables: MOR-RON. Try saying it with a wrong stress to a
friend and see if they understand you.
No matter whether you are reading or
keyboarding, you must slow down and stay slowed down. You must copy the text and/or narrator's voice
very precisely, trying to do everything error-free the first time.
To ease that process, first you should see
the entire sentence on the PC screen, or listen to the entire sentence on the audio- or videotape,
and only then, when you understand what needs to be copied, should you start speaking or
writing. It's virtually impossible to avoid mistakes. But the letter and sound combinations being
repeated hundreds of times will help you do better and better. There's no need to speak loudly; just
murmur. And certainly don't try to type fast.
The more precise SupremeLearning recipe is
described in written instructions and materials and should be followed exactly.
Remember, till you have gone through
thousands of words you will not develop any significant intuition. You may claim you know a word
only when it is pronounced, or pronounced and written, error-free. So you generally should go
through all the audio and video materials 3 to 5 times, and only when you have very surely learned
the pronunciation, rhythm, and intonation of each (by listening and speaking simultaneously), should
you start your corresponding writing routines.
Try not to think what the
words mean. Doing that may increase the amount of repetitions required to develop
good oral skills and gain total command of your mouth muscles.
off the merro-go-round of error proliferation
errors can be a way of life. And considered the normal way of life! In Russia,
for example, a country of some of the world's best touch-typing courses,
there is a state quality standard: No dissertation author is allowed to bring
in their work with more than five errors per page. Typical in America, professionals
have a 3 percent limit of errors for overall work. In the context you and
I are thinking now, these rules may seem absurd, but it is unfortunately the
You've noticed, of course (or maybe you
haven't), that all novels are published with typos.
I don't want to scare you, but I still
should tell you that American English is the most difficult language in the world when it comes to
spelling and pronunciation. You have no hope of mastering it if your learning process is based from
the beginning on writing and speaking with errors, most especially if you are an adult. With that
kind of basis you are doomed to continue repeating errors. A habit is a habit -- or it wouldn't be a
habit, now would it? Making errors is like smoking or drinking. It's addictive.
At some point you'll have to come to the
realization that you can only break away from this merry-go-round development by using
SupremeLearning techniques or something else that stops the habit dead in its tracks (if anything
else does). How do you really learn American English? How do you make your brain finally feel sorry
for making an error? You need the basic SupremeLearning PC keyboarding software. Or, there are,
theoretically, other ways.
You can learn to avoid errors without the
SupremeLearning software program even with handwriting. You know the main rule by now, don't you: no
mistake must go unpunished! The quality assurance of writing by hand is complicated to do on your
own, but it is possible. Most people would, at the very least, need a supervisor to help them point
out their mistakes. Because, as we've learned, it's the mistakes that are produced unknowingly that
are the main culprits. So if you do have such a teacher, tutor, or other helper, when you make
mistakes, they must point them out to you, and you must correct them immediately. You correct all
mistakes as you go, and consequently you slow down the actual speed of your writing until the level
where you can totally control the quality of the job performed is reached.
Remember: never write faster than the
speed that allows you to do so error-free.
Of course it's going to be hard. Breaking
any habit would be. Your brain will tell you to go faster all the time. But the retraining of your
brain to hate making errors will allow you to little by little gain handwriting, or
keyboarding, speed -- a speed based on error-free work.
Though using a method of error-free
handwriting is possible, and using the SupremeLearning error-free learning program with any number
of fingers is better, the fastest and most efficient way of copying the SupremeLearning texts is
with the SupremeLearning program and 10 fingers.
(The subject of learning to touch-type
(which means typing without looking at your fingers) by spending 120 hours elsewhere, or just 10 ten
hours with me, is really another whole subject.)
Without any doubt, the SupremeLearning
formula -- saying things perfectly and writing them down or typing them error-free
-- works just fine. You only need to follow these simple instructions.
key that is the key to non-learning
plenty of time to discuss all the various aspects of the traditional teaching
systems in this and other books. Let's now look at just one example, the example
of typing. The traditional systems that are used to teach touch-typing (which
is typing without looking at the keyboard) are considered to be very complex.
One reason they are complex is because of
a particular super special function that representatives of the computer industry saw fit to add to
the previous process of typing -- a function that does not exist on good old typewriters. That is,
the seemingly simple button of the Backspace.
The problems that this little
innocent-seeming and helpful-acting key has produced are countless. The ramifications of this
ostensibly error-fixing button are of significant magnitude, yet no one seems at all aware of the
phenomenon. I certainly do not hear any of my colleagues speaking of this key as anything other than
a grand helpmate. Maybe they will begin now that I've brought it up. I know this may sound quite
gloomy, and possibly even unbelievable, but let's look at the inevitable consequences of the
introduction of this key and what it means to human beings, whether they be only average users or
In the beginning of the century, a person
who could type (the typist being a combination of a secretary and an editor) could receive a salary,
high enough to easily support a large family. When I say "a person who could type", I mean
that they produced quality output. What does quality output mean? It means no errors. Typing with
errors meant either having errors in the end results, or having to re-do the typing, which in turn
meant that the speed of creating the final results was lowered significantly. The typist/editor was
"punished" for making mistakes.
(Now, keep in mind that, also then, the
general methods of teaching were not working all that well.) So a typist could keep their quality
high, if they typed without errors in the first place. The savvy typist learned, somehow, to do
this. That, my friends, was a very intriguing human being from the point of view of one in this day
and age -- it was a person who could produce error-free results the first time. That tact of
approaching typing projects, while keeping in mind the goal of producing no errors from the
beginning, no doubt propagated throughout the rest of their projects and even their whole lives.
When you think error-free, you are a whole other person from one who accepts errors as a way of
What about this Backspace? What did it do?
It began allowing the phenomenon of typing with errors to become a natural event. Many of those
so-called natural events, put together, generates a whole new breed of typists: people who approach
typing, and consequently other projects and their lives, with a casual, if not haphazard, approach
to errors. They might say, "We don't need to type error-free because we can always back up and
fix anything." When humans were no longer being punished for errors, the quality of first-time
data creating, data entry, and data processing dropped drastically.
Whereas any kind of work that involved
using your fingers, eyes, ears, or speech with computer-like qualities had always required a
prolonged period of time, now, anyone could begin doing it right off the bat. The quality of
the new generation's work, however, suffered the consequences.
If you use that "Backspace
Approach" and your body and mind get used to its always being available, it makes it absolutely
impossible to assure the end quality of any intellectual product. Because now you've trained
yourself, possibly with the help of others, to not worry about doing things correctly.
Are you more careful in
preparing for examinations when you know you only get one shot and that's it,
or when you know you can take the exam over again and again? And which of these
two situations has an overall better outcome of results and your time spent:
studying and preparing very hard before your one exam? Or studying somewhat and
preparing a bit before your first exam, then studying a bit more and preparing
a bit more for a second exam, and so on?
myth of mastering foreign or native languages and typing
is said and done, how can computer keyboarding speed up the process of mastering
a foreign or native language? Does our learned Backspace Approach matter? I ask,
because there is a large variety of programs on the market today that promise
to allow you to learn a foreign language with the help of typing. But I declare:
typing, or writing by hand for that matter, native or foreign words will
help you master a language only if you do it on a totally error-free basis. But
note that no so-called language-learning experts are saying this.
The Backspace Approach has badly damaged
the process of mastering a language. If you feel comfortable saying things wrong the first time,
knowing you can fix your errors of speech later, why not go ahead and feel comfortable saying things
wrong the second time? How many times will it take before you don't feel comfortable saying things
wrong? Or are you actually teaching your brain, albeit unconsciously, that saying things wrong is of
I often give lectures to people dealing
with computers, professionally, and the Backspace Approach problem is routinely explained. I admit
that I can speak for sometimes forty-five minutes on the topic and still have trouble helping half
of my audience members understand how dangerous the Backspace actually is.
The idea is really pretty
simple, so once you get past the seeming oddness of it, you will not only understand
the Backspace Approach, but also understand many negative, related cause and
proliferate beyond yourself
Most of us form that "great"
habit of leaving unnoticed errors early in life, and it becomes more deeply
rooted as time passes. Our reliance on "Uncle Ben" or "Sister Martha" doing
our proofreading -- sometime after the "work" has been performed -- only gets
We enter into the workforce and our habit
proliferates further, for now we are grouped with others of the same habit. And we have impact on
people other than ourselves because we begin manufacturing products and services for the public. A
software house, full of error-prone software engineers and managers, hardly thinks twice about
developing and distributing a software package with known errors, for they know it is expected -- by
in-house company employees and the general public -- that they will be working frantically to fix
the software "bugs" for months on end.
Why take the time and make the effort to
fix errors before dispatching the software packages to users, when you can become known for
generating a new computer application every few months or so, and always fix bugs later? It's a
widespread expected process, industry-wide, isn't it? One firm of which I'm aware gets a new program
out the door about every month and then spends up to 6 months mopping up the aftermath of bugs. They
think nothing of it!
Oh, it can also be good for business --
these errors. You can make more than chunk change by charging for bug fixing and software
But one day -- mark my words -- the public
is going to wake up and smell the coffee. They will begin to demand quality products on the first go
'round. But don't misinterpret my blame. Those software engineers and managers, and other company
product and service developers are not to blame as a class. For those people, are you. They sell
less than the best quality items to you, and you sell other less than the best quality
items back to them. Everyone is a client for another. We all play different roles at different
times. And we're all in this together. It's going to take a revolution in attitude towards quality
-- bad quality to be precise -- that makes the difference. Such a revolution is possible.
A few logical calculations can get you
started. Not paying enough attention to quality assurance during the initial stage of a document or
program creation, can lead you to later paying a much higher price.
Let's first take one more example. Say a
person has written a holiday greeting letter describing the past year's family events and the next
year's hopes and expectations, and they replicate this letter a hundredfold to send to family and
friends. The writer knows the letter is only lighthearted and not terribly significant so doesn't
worry that a few errors in it are not caught. They were lazy in searching for errors; so what!?
But don't you see that the
few errors are now, in reality, a few times a hundred errors? And an underlying
simultaneous belief is that when writing a serious paper, maybe scholarly, in
the future, they will then spend the necessary time to really concentrate and
be error-free. I say these expectations are unfounded. As already discussed,
the unpunished seemingly insignificant errors will have an invincible tendency
to reappear later, no matter how hard that person will try to concentrate. Slowing
down to concentrate later doesn't have the desired effect when a slowed-down,
concentrated effort is not a normal part of the brain's way of doing things.
A person who has rarely or never written, even copied from someone else, a standard
page, error-free, is not capable of writing error-free, best-quality documents
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