If we can really make use of the right brain, it could work to our advantage!
This is one very good reason to start thinking about how you can really communicate with and teach to the right brain.
Open the Whole brain learning exercise for an introduction to whole brain learning.
Then read the Whole brain learning resource to find out how whole brain learning affects what we do in the classroom.
Whole brain learning
So, how does whole brain learning affect what happens in the classroom?
The point we're trying to make here is that we can make learning more effective by making our activities 'whole-brain'. If in our activities we have something for the predominantly left-brained, the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learner, we are helping all our learners learn according to their preferred learning style.
Think about the following quote by George Isaac Brown on the subject of whole-brain learning:
"We have a mind. We have feelings. To separate the two is to deny all that we are. To integrate the two is to help us realise what we might be."
This means that in a lesson, with the older category of young learners - pre-teens or teenagers - there might be opportunities to analyse language structures.
This would appeal to our mainly left-brained learners. But in the same lesson we also need to create opportunities for the other learning styles.
So for visual learners you might include pictures, posters or graphs, the auditory learners would need some kind of sound or vocal input, while kinaesthetic learners need to do something. It's all a matter of balancing what you do in the class.
The following activity tries to show what a lesson looks like from the point of view of learners with different learning styles.
Read the following learner comments about a teacher and decide if the learner in each case is predominantly visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. Once you have decided, click Did you guess my learning style? to see if your guess is correct.
"I like it when my teacher uses pictures or games with bits of information on card or something. I especially like well-presented information on cards - they’re easy to learn from.
"There's one teacher, Ms. B, who loves talking but not writing on the blackboard. I hate that class and luckily I love reading so I go home and read on the topic. And even when she gives us instructions, she thinks that once she's said them then that's OK and everyone knows what to do. I have to ask my friends to go through them again with me."
Did you guess my learning style? That's right - I'm mainly a visual learner.
"Oh, I love Ms. B's class! She explains everything so clearly. Some of my friends say that she's a terrible teacher but I don't know what they are talking about!
"I love discussions and although I love speaking I think I'm really a good listener too. My friends think I'm good at impersonating the teachers and reading aloud. I'm not very good at maths and writing, though. That's because they're so quiet!"
Did you guess my learning style? That's right - I'm mainly an auditory learner.
"Ms. B's class is so boring! Talk! Talk! Talk! I mean she really knows how to put everyone in a class to sleep. And she’s always telling me to sit still, not to swing my legs when I am trying to understand something. Sometimes she asks us to read aloud but she doesn't like me to use my finger to follow the lines.
"I wish we could do things in class and not just sit still all the time!"
Did you guess my learning style? That's right - I'm mainly a kinaesthetic learner!
Research has shown that it is not really the quantity of input that is important in learning but what the learner does with it. This is a point worth keeping in mind while preparing a lesson.
Another point to remember when planning is your own learning style. If you, the teacher, have the same learning style as a few of your learners, then you will be more predisposed to help them with their learning.
But what about the rest of the students who have different learning styles? You have to include activities that will stimulate their learning style too. This will make you a more effective teacher.