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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 of self-dictation

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

Errors proliferate beyond yourself

How to contact us or purchase courses

What 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 power.

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 place.

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.

Let error-free rule!

The SupremeLearning 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 / Quality Out.

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!

Disciplined error correction

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 mistyped characters.

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 crime.

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.

A particular kind of self-dictation

Developing 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 at all!

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.

Getting off the merro-go-round of error proliferation

Oh yes, 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 sad reality.

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.

A key that is the key to non-learning

We have 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 professional programmers.

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 life.

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?

A myth of mastering foreign or native languages and typing

After all 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 little consequence?

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 effects.

Errors 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 stronger.

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 "upgrades".

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 later.

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