The Left And Right Brain Theory

The human brain is divided into two: the right brain and the left brain. The Herrmann brain dominance theory provides good details on how both divisions of the brain co-ordinate and also gives the functions of each side of the brain. The theory was developed by William Herrmann while leading management at the general electric company. In his model, Herrmann identified four different modes of thinking. The first mode of thinking according to the theory which is analytical thinking involves activities such as collecting data, judging ideas based on facts and logical reasoning.

The second mode of thinking is sequential thinking and involves activities such as following direction and structured problem solving. The third type of thinking involves listening and expressing ideas as well as group interaction and is known as interpersonal thinking. The last type of thinking is the imaginative thinking in which individuals look at the bigger picture. (Voges, 2005). The theory thus suggests that people develop a thinking preference. Analytical techniques are associated with the left brain while intuitive understanding is associated with the right brain.

A person may therefore be dominant in analytical style of thinking but be weaker in interpersonal style of thinking meaning that the person’s left brain is dominant. According to the theory however, all people use all styles but to varying degrees. (De Boer, 2001) Brain hemispheres develop symmetrically meaning that the functions that develop on one side of the brain also develop on the other side. A child who suffers brain injury before attaining the age of four years can utilize the other side of the brain for basic functions.

However, the child will not grow normally. This is what happens in children otherwise known as alpha or right brained children. (Barbara, 1982). Most theories of curriculum consider cognition, maturation and development, concepts and skills, thinking skills and the philosophy of education. Most core subjects have moved toward student centered experiential and constructivists learning strategies. Constructivism is a theory the nature of knowledge with the belief that knowledge is created by people and influenced by among other things their values and culture.

In curriculum therefore, the teacher is expected to pose problems that will challenge the student’s conception of reality. The doctrine of the theory supported by brain research makes it necessary to have major changes in the design and implementation of the curriculum of social studies. It is important to recognize that a child actively develops his /her own meanings from what he/she observes in the community. Change of curriculum in a manner that reflects this aspect would reflect the complex nature of meaning making.

This theory supported by the brain dominance theory is very important in offering many social studies teachers a chance to make inquiry teachings a reality. This is because, the dominance theory clearly stipulates that there is a part of the brain charged with the responsibility of acquiring meanings and children therefore should be left to make interpretations on their own albeit under the guidance of teachers(Gibson & Roberta 2004). According to Carla Hannaford, learning is not all in our heads. Understanding and use of connections between the body and mind is the key to extensive learning.

Carla also emphasizes the importance of teaching, valuing and developing the whole child. Both sides of the brain are balanced when children are involved in activities such as crawling because Carla argues that learning begins with movement in response to stimulus and then create a context to understand the sensory input. Just as the constructivist theory, understanding has to be made by the children them selves through the coordination of the brain hemispheres, and not just forced on a child. (Carla ,1995)

When a child is reading, it is true that not all words are read correctly and many mistakes are made in the process. An interactive form of learning which involves discussions and hands on experiment where learners try and fail and keep on trying until they get the right thing is very vital in enhancing the child’s reading capabilities. This form of learning falls in the third form of thinking according to the Herrmann’s theory. To help the child further his/her reading capabilities, it is also important that procedural learning be applied.

This form of learning involves methodical step by step testing of what is being learnt. This means that the teacher will ask a child to read out some words that had earlier been taught. The constant reference to earlier works and readings will help the child to fully learn. Procedural learning falls in the second category of thinking according to Herrmann’s dominance theory and thus the opposite side of the interactive learning theory. (De Boer, 2001)

It is important to note that even if the dominance theory suggests that people have one side of their brains dominant over the other, comprehensive learning is all about the use of the entire brain. The use of all quadrants as categorized in the dominance theory is the only way to help achieve a students full potential. REFERENCE: De Boer Ann – Louis. “The value of HBDI in facilitating effective teaching and learning in criminology. ” Acta criminologica vol 14(1)2001. Acessed 21st May 2008 from http://www. hbdi. co. za/deboervdb. pdf . Voges, A.

“research on how adults learn” University of Pretoria. (2005)accessed 21st may 2008 from http://upetd. up. ac. za/thesis/available/etd-08112005-153748/unrestricted/02chapter2. pdf Barbara, M. (1982). Unicorns are real A right brained approach to learning. jalmar press. Gibson, S. Roberta, M. (2004) “What Constructivist Theory and Brain Research May Offer Social Studies” constructive curriculum theory. Accessed 21st May 2008 from http://cc. ctu. edu. tw/~geek/Constructivist%20Curriculum%20Model. htm Carla, H. (1995) Smart moves. Great ocean publishers

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