There is a lot of articles out here stating you are either completely left brained (logical, analytical) or right brained (creative, intuitive); however, this is an exaggeration. Anyone with brain cells know that they can be both at any time doing any activity. For example, both hemisphere is needed when building a house. You need order, math, detail and analysis to know how you are going to build a safe and functional structure but also you need imagination, creativity and see the big picture to make the home decorative and unique to your needs and feelings of a home. There may be a dominance of using a particular hemisphere over the other but no one is 100% of only using either the left side or right side. Just like ying and yang, the opposites balance each other out to get the best of both worlds.
Our society does not treat both hemispheres equally. Schools praises and invests more money in the education of maths and sciences but not so much to literature and the arts. Thus, our children are being trained to be more left brained in processing information and neglect their right brained process of information that feeds their creativity, play, emotions, intuition and expression. The reason why they do this is because they are training children to be worker drones for the system (who funds their learning). They want your children to be engineers, accountants, administrators, system analyst, etc; basically robotic. They are taking away the idea of individualistic expression that forms architects, psychologists, managers; musicians, etc; result in diminishing thinking for yourself (which is subjective thinking and conceptualisation). There needs to be a balance and it has to be done by the involvement of the parents.
If you look at any revolution, it came from the architects, philosophers, artists, musicians, politicians, medicine, and pioneers. They were independent thinkers. They didn’t rely on data to break paradigms but it was their curiosity for change, self expression and asking “what ifs” that changed the cultural, social, religious and philosophical landscape. This is what is missing in children today. The way teachers are trained is left-brained information processing dominant which is learning formulas, facts, and data to regurgitate, bypassing any real innovative thinking. Therefore, they do not foster a creative environment, wide range of learning tools, encourage diversity or give positive reinforcement for thinking outside the box. Instead our kids are misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Anxiety Disorder and Dyslexia.
I want to demonstrate to you that your child needs balance of both hemisphere to be fully functioning student that can contribute to an field of interest or career. I am emphasising right-brained information processing for children to learn because it is been neglected (on purpose) at school where they spend majority of their waking lives. You may say all children are creative and imaginative but some children seem to see things from a bigger picture. You see this in children that naturally learn things in wholes rather than in parts, for example, a child might get a math concept like counting or estimations but struggle with math facts or showing their working. Also these children go by gut instinct are usually risk takers and you see this in play. In taking tests, these children prefer essay questions where they can give a full story and their interpretation of the question. These type of children tend to struggle in the classroom environment.
To help your child to be both rational and innovative you can supplement the school curriculum that is designed to teach a more left brain style. It isn’t hard but fun, easy, and will not break the bank! Here are few examples:
Any words that your child struggles to spell, write the correct spelling on cards and let them colour in the letter(s) that they should have included in the spelling to be correct. For example, they misspelled “basicly”, you give correct spelling “basically” and get them to colour in the letters “ally”. So it should look like: basically.
Also you can teach vocabulary by grouping words with images that helps them remember long term the use and meaning of words.
You can do number wheels to learn multiplication, click here. This helps the learner to see the bigger picture of the multiplication by forming patterns that they can get easily.
Division can be done with everday objects that the child favours like using lego bricks to illustrate there are 100 bricks and Timmy wants to give equal amounts for himself and his four friends, how many bricks do they get each? Let the child count 100 lego bricks then add the four friends and Timmy equalling 5 people that needs to share. Now let the child create 5 different spaces to represent the five people on the floor and give each person/space a brick each until all divided up then the child should be able to count 20 lego bricks in each space. Then write out the equation so the child can relate the problem he/she resolved to the maths, 100 ÷ 5=20. After a while they will be able to this in their imagination without the lego pieces. This makes symbols concrete to them, for example 5 groups of 20 give 100.
Sciences / Social sciences
Children should be encouraged to create posters, dioramas, experiments, and models along with learning and writing essays in these subject areas. This makes abstract thoughts more concrete, visual and hands on in making sense (mainly visually) of the information
This is an olden but golden technique, sing the information for facts and figures. Get the musical instruments out and make up catchy choruses that help the child retain data that they would forget naturally.
Also using charts, white/blackboards (you can get in dollar stores) and maps, you can get them to identify facts. Additionally, if a child is learning about a specific topic in a subject like China in geography, stick images on the map or board of landscapes, population and other interesting facts. This aids them to use their visual spatial skills.
To overcome long term memory loss, go through the material with the child using highlighters, colourful pens, and pencils to draw images that help the key information stick. You can even use specific colours for specific keywords or themes to help the child see the bigger picture of the facts, figures and data.
Also when planning, for example to prepare an answer for exam question, they can use mind maps that help trigger crucial information from key words for the subject in a specific and sequential way. For example:
There are many free online resources for each key stage to encourage right-brain learning that is designed to help the child explore their neglected hemisphere. You will see a difference in their academic achievements because of the extra supplementation you are giving your child to get the best and brightest from their self. It is also rewarding to spend time and learn things about how your child is developing.
Also, positive reinforcement at home for intuition, expression, creativity, imagination, arts, or other “right brained” traits should not be penalised as “stupid” or “irrational”. It is these kind of children that will change the world for better. They just need encouragement and room to see their full potential to do so.