People learn in many different ways, but do you ever wonder why that is. Why are we so different and learn so differently? The brain is the answer to that question. The brain gives us what we need to determine what and who we are as people. Because of the human brain’s complexity, professors and teachers are starting to see that one way of teaching is not always the best way from everyone. “Each child processes new information in ways are related to environmental, emotional, sociological, physiological, and psychological elements” (Green, 1999, p. 684).
When it comes to the process of learning and thinking, the average person has two sides of the brain that determines how they learn. The two main halves of our brain are the right brain and the left brain hemispheres. Each hemisphere performs different functions and communicates information differently. One hemisphere is not more important than the other but they do determine how we see things and interpret them in our mind. With the left brain hemisphere, the characteristics are mathematical and analytical and with the right hemisphere the characteristics are more creative and imaginative.
The brain is very complex to understand. Once we learn how the left side brain learns and how the right side brain learns, then we can better develop a way of learning for all types of students and people. The left side hemisphere of the brain include characteristics such as language skills, mathematical concepts, analytical skills, and logic and reasoning. Those individuals that have this brain hemisphere dominance are good with letters, numbers and words (Sousa, 1995, p. 88). The concepts of learning for the left side brain hemisphere is based on step by step instructions.
A person who is dominant on their left side hemisphere learns better by having a plan to follow with organization. Learning facts and solving problems are some of the many ways to teach people with a dominant left side. Those people do not like surprises and they don’t like to learn courses that have no connection to the real world. They tend to want to deal with things the way they are in real life, not in a fantasy world. Left side learners are affected by their environment and have a hard time adapting to changes in their environment.
Some of the other things that left side dominant learners are good at over the right side is they are better at memorizing facts and doing hands on work. They are list people and process things in a linear manner. Everything must be in sequential order to make things easier to learn. This is why math comes so easy for them because that is all math is a sequential order of steps to get to a solution. Left side learners do have trouble expressing themselves in words which makes the right side learner more dominant in that area. The right side hemisphere of the brain is quite different.
The right side dominant people prefer to discover the possibilities and are good at grasping new concepts. They are more comfortable with abstractions and do not like courses that involve a lot of memorizing and routine calculations. The right side learner usually needs background information before a lecture or to have an abstraction before they read a book or chapter. This helps them better prepare for their class or what they are about to begin. They want to see, feel, or touch the real object. They have a need for things to be concrete, not theory.
The right side learner does not like repetition unlike the left side learner. They need to see words and how a formula works in order to grasp the concept of how it works. Creative arts, music, and facial recognition are the dominant portions for the right side learner. Because they are color sensitive, right side learners try to use color to learn sequence. For example how to get to the grocery store from where they live. They would try to match up places and how they looked to where they might need to turn or go to. It is known as the Artist Brain because it is in charge of creative talents.
Since both sides of the brain are not equal in the way that a person learns things, each side serve their purpose. For everyone, one side of their brain is more dominant than the other but no one is just right side or left side alone. “When learning is new, difficult, or stressful we prefer to learn in a certain way” (Hopper, 2007, p. 2) . Both sides of the brain are needed to function and communicate with each other through the corpus callosum which sends messages back and forth to each other between the right and left hemispheres. So now that we know that not everyone learns the same
due to the left or the right hemisphere being more dominant than the other for those people, how do we become better teachers to provide a better learning environment for both sides. “While brain research alone can’t tell us how to teach people, understanding the brain leads to uncovering underlying learning mechanisms” (Worden, Hinton, & Fischer, 2011, p. 10). With this understanding of how both sides of the brain work, teachers and researchers can better train and teach students how to do things based on what side brain they use the most. There should not be just one way of learning something.
Teachers have a hard job, but with knowledge and understanding they can better equip today’s leaders with the right tools to success. In conclusion, both sides of the brain are powerful in their own ways. The left side hemisphere learn by logical process and right side hemisphere learns by more creative ways. With understanding what each side does and how both sides might work together, we can come up with better ideas on how to teach students better for all types of learners. There is no one right way to teach someone something. It is finding that way to get them to understand things that poses as a challenge for us today.
Each side serve their purpose and help each other along the way. With this understanding, we can become better teachers for the average person to the mentally disabled. References Green, F. E. (1999). Brain and Learning Research: Implications for Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners. Education, 119(4), 682. Hopper, C. (2007). Learning Styles. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from Learning Styles: http://frank. mtsu. edu/~studskl/hd/learn. html. Sousa, D. R. (1995). How the brain learns. Reston, VA: NASSP. Worden, J. M. , Hinton, C. , & Fischer, K. W. (2011). What Does the Brain Have to Do with Learning?. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(8), 8-13.