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A Right Brain Learner Stuck in a Left Brain Curriculum
By Dianne Craft
HSLDA Special Needs Coordinator

 

Right Brain Learner Photo

You may have noticed that your children have totally different learning styles. Your left brain child tends to like workbooks and working on their own. The right-brainer, on the other hand, likes discussion, prefers projects to workbooks and tends to be a little higher maintenance during the school day, requiring more of your interaction time.

Since most curriculum teaches in a more left brain manner, focusing on auditory and sequential aspects, as well as writing, our children who are more right brain learners often feel left out, and even struggle with learning and retaining material using this same curriculum. Once we have identified the right-brainer who is struggling because they are stuck in a left brain curriculum, then we can tweak our teaching process to help these right brain children get in touch with the "smart part of themselves."

 

Common Characteristics of a Left Brain Learner:

  • Tends to seek structure in the school day.
  • Memorizes best by repetition (auditory or writing).
  • Likes to know the plan for each day, week, etc.
  • Tends to work well independently.
  • Likes to make lists, and check them off as tasks are completed.
  • Thinks things through with multiple pieces of evidence before coming to a conclusion.
  • Tends to find math interesting, and is very good at it.
  • Likes the predictability and conciseness of workbooks.
  • Can do well with self-paced and computer curricula.

Common Characteristics of a Right Brain Learner:

  • Likes spontaneous events, versus planned events each day. Seeks change.
  • Memorizes best by using meaning, color, pictures, story, emotion in material.
  • Does not plan ahead regularly.
  • Prefers much involvement with parent while doing daily lessons.
  • Does not do items sequentially, but skips around in his or her work.
  • Makes quantum leaps when learning. Figures things out from scanty evidence.
  • Finds math quite repetitive and somewhat boring.
  • Prefers projects and discussions rather than workbook learning.
  • Does not do well with self-paced or computer curriculum, but rather one that requires more parent and teacher involvement, such as unit studies, or any curriculum that is more hands-on and interactive with the adult.

Many right brain dominant children can adapt to left brain curriculum without much effort. If that is the case, then no changes need to be made for this child. However, if a child is struggling to be successful in learning, then some accommodations need to be made. Sometimes just putting the struggling child in a more right brain friendly curriculum, makes all the difference in the world in how easy their school day goes.

Other times a child needs a totally different strategy to make learning easy. That is when we turn to right brain teaching strategies.

Who Needs Right Brain Teaching Strategies?

  • Children who have underdeveloped memory skills.
  • Children who have an auditory processing glitch.
  • Children who have a focusing or attention issue.
  • Children who have a visual/motor (writing) glitch.
  • Children who dislike school work.
  • Children for whom the more common methods of teaching are not working.

Bio of Dianne Craft
Dianne Craft   Dianne Craft has over 35 years experience teaching bright, inquisitive children who are struggling with learning disabilities. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota in 1966 and a Master's Degree in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1990. Dianne lives in Centennial, Colorado with her CPA husband, Ron, and runs the private consultation practice, Child Diagnostics, Inc. www.diannecraft.org.
 
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