Monday, 28 September 2015

Discovering right brain learning part 2: what is the difference between left and right brainers?

whats the difference between left and right brain learners?
Our brain is divided into 2 distinct halves. Each side being responsible for an array of different task which effect how our bodies move, how we think and feel and even how we learn.
The brain is criss-crossed to our body, with the right hemisphere controlling our body's left side, and the left hemisphere controlling the right.
So if you pick up your left hand to scratch your face; that's your right side of the brain working, and vice-versa.
Here, I want to look at how the different hemispheres effect the way we learn, to help understand how to better the way in which I'm facilitating my children's education inshaAllah.

difference between left and right brain learnersI've always been a strong believer in nurturing the different ways in which children learn best, and for the past 4 and a half years I thought I wasn't doing too bad in following my children's learning needs. I thought I understood that children respond to different teaching and learning styles, and I was up for figuring out what approaches worked best for each of them.
However, I don't seem to be doing as well as I anticipated, because my (almost) 7 year old still struggles a lot in her reading and writing skills....and I am out of ideas on how to climb this mountain! 

At this time of helplessness, I turn to the internet and begin searching for possible answers; being directed to books to read and seminar recordings to listen to. Searching and searching for some understanding, direction and clarity to our situation and what can I do to get better results bi'ithnillah!

This is the point in which I begin to realise that I am not as intuitive to my children's learning styles as I had myself believe after all these years. In my attempts to figure different ways of teaching or learning, I'm doing so still somewhat based on my own perceptions and not my girls.

Let me explain why-
To put it simply, the left brain is responsible for logical and sequential thought. It is the part of the brain where language is processed and understanding of phonics, maths and facts are based. Those who have a dominant left hemisphere, tend to be good listeners, able to give and follow instructions with ease. They are good organisers and benefit from working within structured approaches, and have a good rote short-term memory (able to memorise facts without having to understand its reasoning).

The right side of the brain on the other hand, handles more of our emotions; its the creative part of our minds, its intuitive, visual and artistic. Those who have a dominant right hemisphere are not so good at following instructions, have a poor rote or short-term memory, and have poor comprehension of time!
On a positive note however, they are incredibly creative, hands on and full of ideas. They work best through concrete, rather than the abstract (they need to know the "big picture" before working on the smaller details). They learn through doing and seeing.

This is a very brief summery of the differences between left and right brain learners...and indeed there is debate that the notion of left and right brain learner differences even exists. |With that being said, I will say there is a wealth of information about this online, written by people with a far greater knowledge, expertise and understanding than I do, so I won't do injustice to this topic attempting to re-explain what is already out there, so please do go and read further - my intent here is just to demonstrate how my understanding towards how children learn is changing.

With that being said, understanding the key differences in left and right brain learners, I have realised that I am probably a left brain learner and my youngest most defiantly is a right brained child! - and although I have always maintained to myself that I try new things and am open to my childrens individual learning needs, I feel that throughout my different trials of differing methods, I've been doing so at a level that I would respond to in my own learning rather than actually that of my child's...but didn't realise it!

In the final part to this mini series, I'll share how this new information is changing how we do things.  More than ever before, I feel I am empowered better to understand how my children learn best inshaAllah....for now at least anyway!
If you missed part 1, check it out {here}.

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