Our global education system is set up to cater for left brain thinking and processing.
Left brain? The human brain is divided into two distinct cerebral hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum which give as right brain and left brain functions. The sides resemble each other but the functions of each side are distinctly different. While no one is only left brained or right brained, it is interesting to see in which hemisphere people primarily operate from.
The right hemisphere is commonly known to have functions and thought patterns associated with the arts – music, visual, intuition, feelings etc. These are your free spirits, out-of-the-box thinkers…also prone to a melancholic temperament due to the tendency to feel and experience life deeply. Many of them find the dominating left brained education system highly boring and uninspiring; act out and are therefore classified as the misfits and rebels due to their challenging natures and need to see the deeper meaning and value of life (especially in a contained left brain environment).
The left brain is more associated with logical reasoning and rationalizing. The scientist, mathematicians, and doctors are more prone to be dominantly operating from their left hemispheres.
As a holistic, remedial teacher I have many children in my classes who are diagnosed with ADHD/ADD – those that are movement seeking, sensory sensitive, easily distracted, seeking novelty and seem to think out-of-the-box in many cases. Those that may seem bored with the current education system. I am not disqualifying the diagnoses of the above; I am however stating a case for another type of ‘labeling’. A label that your brain has chosen and one which the education systems are not (all that) equipped or flexible for…
A different approach to cater for the WHOLE BRAIN child:
The Whole Brain Teaching Model is a framework that was developed by a physicist named Ned Hermann. Hermann discovered that there are primarily four ways in which the brain perceives and processes information. He then used this information to establish a business model known as the Whole Brain Model. This model was further explored and taught in South Africa by Kobus Neethling, who has identified many scholastic strategies in using this to optimally teach learners in the classroom.
At Shelanti Private School, this model has become an integral part of the curriculum. Each learner gets tested through a specialized computer program as well as observation, to see which brain quadrant they mainly operate from. Learners are then given a badge, which indicates to teachers and peers their preferred learning style i.e processing of information and handling of teamwork and emotion.
We dedicate class time to instruct the children on the brain preferences and how this influences the way they study, learn, interact and see the world. During group work, we strategically place kids with different quadrants together, as to stimulate all quadrants to optimally process and implement certain instructions – to complete a particular goal or vision.
The emotional awareness this has cultivated in our learners is remarkable. The tolerance which they display towards their peers due to this color quadrant labeling is astounding. The need for many right-brainers to study on the floor or sit in seemingly uncomfortable positions on their chairs, have given teachers the tools to treat each child according to what they need and not according to what they are dictated to want to need.
Yes, we do make it very clear that we ALL have ALL quadrants and using the dominant quadrant is not an excuse for certain behaviour or lack thereof, but rather an awareness of both student and teacher in how to optimally develop their full potential.
Many children who were classified as the trouble learners- the ADHD/ADD kids – find a kind of calm in the temperamental storm of themselves. This is due to space and knowledge they have been given to understand themselves better – having a place to allow themselves to come to a deeper self-awareness without the stigma attached to being a ‘non-conformist’ in an outdated system.