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Right-Brained Learners in a

Left-Brained Classroom
Heres to the kids who are different,
Kids who dont always get As,
Kids who have ears
Twice the size of their peers,
And noses that go on for days,
Heres to the kids who are different,
Kids who bloom later that some,
Kids who dont fit,
But who bloom later than some,
Kids who dont fit,
But who never say quit,
Who dance to a different drum,
Heres to the kids who are different,
Kids with the mischievous streak,
For when they have grown,
As history has shown,
Its their difference that makes them unique.
~Digby Wolfe

http://www.ncwiseowl.org/kscope/TeacherHut/Teachley/index.html
Brain Research

Brains have been the subject of research as


long as anyone can remember. We do know that
brains are universal. Every society has the same
number of right or left brains.

The brain is not divided equally. The left side is


larger and that is why so many people are right
handed. However, being right handed does not
mean that you are left-brained.
Are you left brained or right
brained?
In general, the left and right hemispheres of your brain
process information in different ways. We tend to process
information using our dominant side. However, the
learning and thinking process is enhanced when both side
of the brain participate in a balanced manner. This means
strengthening your less dominate hemisphere of the brain.

Take a dominance test.


Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World p. 49
Right Brain/Left Brain

Cross eyes
Look at Center
Watch the cross on the third circle. Every few seconds, it will change from a
horizontal line to a vertical line and back. This is because the hemispheres of
your brain are alternating in dominance for this activity. When the right
hemisphere is dominant you see the blue circle and vertical line on top;
when the left hemisphere is dominant, the red circle and horizontal line are
on top.
Right Brain/Left Brain
As you probably know, our brains have two
hemisphere's, the left and right. We use both sides of
our brain to solve problems, make decisions and
learn things, but for most of us one side dominates.
Some people prefer to approach things very
analytically and logically, focusing on detail, working
in a linear fashion.
Others prefer a more global, holistic approach,
synthesising many pieces of information
simultaneously, using intuition and imagination to
generate ideas and links.
Left Brain Learning Style
If you are left brain dominant,
then you probably like to work
through learning step by step.

You prefer resources that guide


you through learning in sizable
chunks and you'll be happier
breaking down your learning into
an ordered series of goals and
tasks. You work best with other
people who are systematic and
focused.
Right Brain Learning Style
If you are right brain dominant, you
will prefer learning resources that
give you the big picture, such as
case studies, and examples of
good practice.

You will prefer to start work on a


broad goal or project, and fill in the
detail, the specific skills you need
as you go. You will probably learn
well from observing, discussing and
sharing experiences with
colleagues.
Sequential Vs. Random
Left Brained
List maker
Daily planning
Make master schedules
Complete tasks in order
Pleasure in checking things off
Good speller because it involves
sequence
Follow directions
Sequential Vs. Random
Right-Brained
Random approach
Flit from one task to another
Get it done without addressed priorities
Assignments may be late or incomplete because they
were working on something else
Ready to rebel when asked to make schedule of week
Must make lists to survive because of random nature of
brain
Spelling makes them cringe
Must make special effort to read directions
Color sensitive-try using colors to learn sequence
1st green, 2nd blue, last red or imagine sequence
Linear Vs. Holistic
Left Brained
Part to whole
Takes pieces, lines them up, arranges in
order then draws conclusions
Linear Vs. Holistic
Right Brained
Whole to part: Start with answer, see the big
picture first not the details
Difficulty following lecture unless they have the
big picture first
Important to read/know background information
before lecture: Teacher must give overview
Have trouble outlining: Write paper first then
outline later because it is required
Needs to know why you are doing something
Symbolic Vs. Concrete
Left Brained
No trouble processing symbols
Comfortable with mathematical endeavors
Memorize vocabulary words or math
formulas
Symbolic Vs. Concrete
Right Brained
Things must be concrete
Need to see, feel, touch the real object
Have trouble learning to read using
phonics
Need opportunities for hands-on activities
Draw out math problems
Must illustrate notes
Logical Vs. Intuitive
Left Brained
Linear
Sequential
Logical
Use information piece by piece
Look for pieces to draw logical
conclusions
Writing mechanics: spelling, agreement,
punctuation
Logical Vs. Intuitive
Right Brained

Intuition
Know right answer to math problem but
not sure how you got it
May start with answer and work
backwards
Gut feeling on quizzes as to which
answers are correct-usually right
Verbal Vs. Nonverbal

Left Brain Right Brain


Little trouble expressing Know what they mean
themselves in words but often have trouble
finding right words.
Reality-Based Vs. Fantasy-Oriented
Left Brained Right Brained
Deals with the way things are Try to change environment
reality Not aware anything wrong
Adjust to things Need constant feedback and reality
Want to know rules and follow checks
them. If none, want to make up Must keep careful record of
rules to follow. assignments and tests
Know consequences of not Creative
turning in assignment or failing a Focus on emotion
test
These are just some of the
differences that exist between the
left and right hemispheres, but you
can see a pattern.
Because left brain strategies are
the ones used most often in the
classroom, right brain students
sometimes feel inadequate.
However, you now know that you
can be flexible and adapt material
to the right side of your brain.
Likewise, those of you who are
predominantly left brain know that it
would be wise to use both sides of
the brain and employ some right
brain strategies.
Learning Styles
Left brains learn by hearing. They
find the lecture system just fine.

Right brains need to see


something done--show me, to
feel, and to actually experience
the process--then, they
remember. Lecture style is a
challenge for a right brain.
Planning
Lefts plan days in advance and are
prepared for weekends, parties, and going
to the movies.

Rights decide things on the spur of the


moment.
Neatness
Lefts usually have a tidy personal space and
know where things are.
Neatness
Rights have a "piling" system that they use
quite often. They sometimes say, "Don't
touch my piles. I know where everything is."
Other rooms in a right brain's world may be
neat and tidy, but the personal space rarely
is.
Testing
Lefts memorize well. They can remember dates
and facts easily. On tests they do quite well.

Rights remember images and patterns. They


can see the picture of that soldier next to the
cannon, remember details in his uniform, know
what season of the year it is, and they know the
date is below--but what is that date?

Lefts usually do better on tests even if both left


and right brains have the same I.Q.
Impulse Control

Lefts can control their behavior easier. If a left


has an eraser thrown at him, he first checks the
location of the teacher. If the teacher is looking
at him, he does not touch the eraser.

A right will "not" look to see where the teacher is,


pick up the eraser, throw it back at the person
that threw it at him and get caught.
Punctuality
Lefts will be on time and even early for
everything. They are the ones in the theatre
before anyone else gets there.

Rights, on the other hand, are usually only on


time for the most important things. Rights are
likely to be on time for church if in the choir. If
not in the choir, it is probably optional to be
on time.
Gestures
Lefts speak with few gestures and are not
very animated. Their voice does not
fluctuate much.

Rights can not talk without using the hands.


Their facial expression and voice may both
be quite animated and entertaining.
L.D. vs. A.G.
"LD, Learning Disabled, students are not that much
different from AG, Academically Gifted. The difference is
that the AG students have learned to play the school
game." LD students know that it is a game and refuse to
play or have not figured out how to play because of their
disability. AG students know that it is a game but will play
because they want to be successful in the world. IQ is
often the same.

Because half of the students are right brained,


teachers must teach to many modalities and not
just the one--lecture.
Approaching A Project
Left brains naturally arrange the various
steps in order and begin with the first one.

Right brains prefer the ricochet method.


They select steps without any obvious
order--doing what comes to mind at the
moment. Both get the job done but in
different ways.
Recall
Left brains can go to a party, meet 12 new people,
and remember their names the next day.

The right brained person will not remember the


names but will remember what they were wearing,
the couch they were sitting on, the room they were
in, how their hair was done, and possibly what
they were talking about. Everything but the name.
Famous Right Brains:
The Right Brains
Among Us Are Many
Albert Einstein
Leonardo Da Vinci
Jonas Salk
Educators are typically left-brained-detailed and
auditory processors. Many students are right brained
and do poorly in these classrooms. We need to alter
the teaching methods using various activities.
We need to remember all of the Bloom quadrants.
Its T I M E
Technology
Integrated into
Meaningful
Experiences

Add an element of
fun and
engagement.
Technology Resources
Handhelds-Palms or iTouch
GPS- Geocaching
Classroom Response Systems
CPS/QuizWorks/Eggspert
Discovery Education-online video resources
Airliners or Tablets
Google Earth and Google Sky
Movie Maker
PhotoStory
Inspiration
Animoto
Webquests
Wikis
Blogs
Storyline Online
Podcasts
SmartBoards
Digital Storytelling
Jane Houde
Instructional Technology Facilitator
Buncombe County Schools

jane.milner@bcsemail.org
828-255-5990
Resources
Right Brain Initiative
Brain Connections
Brain Dominance-Hemispheric Dominance Inventory
Test

StopWatch
Angel Fire Test - paper copy
The Brain Explorer- **better test**
Creativity Test