Do you suspect your child is a right-brained learner? Right-brained children have a unique way of taking in and processing information. They possess amazing gifts and talents, and the more we understand and harness those strengths, the more successful we will be in teaching them. This blog describes right-brained learners and their most common characteristics. Last week's blog answers the question, What is Right-Brained Learning? This would be great background reading to this blog.
Right-Brained and Left-Brained Children Process Opposite from Each Other
The Learning Spectrum describes the learning strengths of children based on their natural wiring, and details both what is easy for them and what is difficult. The Spectrum stretches from far left (logic, left-brained, auditory/sequential learners) to far right (gestalt, right-brained, visual/spatial, kinesthetic learners). All children fall somewhere on this Spectrum.
Children on the far left are strongly auditory/sequential in their learning strengths. Children on the far right are strongly visual/spatial and kinesthetic. Children in the middle more easily access both hemispheres but prefer either logic or gestalt processing. There are so many overlaps in tendencies, and much about brain development also depends on the child’s personal experiences.
The Dominance Factor
In her book, The Dominance Factor, Carla Hannaford, neurophysiologist and education guru, has identified 15 unique profiles (of 32) in which the gestalt or right hemisphere of the brain is dominant. While no two children learn exactly the same way, it is very helpful to study the most common characteristics of right-brained learners so we can identify what these children have in common when it comes to strengths and challenges in learning.
What Do We Mean by Right-Brained Learning?
Read the blog: What is Right-Brained Learning?
Watch the video!
Common Characteristics of Right-Brained Learners
The Strengths of Right-Brained Learners
Right-brained children possess a giftedness that makes them suited to imagining new solutions, inventing new designs, and seeing the big picture. Right-brained learners are creative, inventive, imaginative, and often gifted in the arts, music, or sports.
They have the ability to learn instantly and visually when they have access to images, graphs, maps, and organizers of information. This method of learning and remembering is far more efficient and effective than trying to use repetition, review, memorization, or drill. When we link new content to visual aids, we are helping right-brained learners strengthen their less dominant hemisphere.
As you read through this list, see if you can find your child described in it.
Right-brained children are often kinesthetic learners
- Learn best through movement
- Need to move while processing new information, but with very little external stimulation that would distract
- Must be able to see, hear, move, and/or verbalize the whole context before learning details
- Need to learn kinesthetically or tactilely to process learning
- Need to physically process what they are learning
Right-Brained children are visual learners
- Will focus on the whole picture
- Will see the whole picture but might have difficulty breaking it down into a sequence of words in order to express what they see (images are global while speech is linear and sequential)
- Think in pictures, not words
- Exhibits good memory for images and whole concepts
- Might need to close eyes or turn head away from teacher in order to process learning
Right-brained learners & structure of lessons
- Need to see the whole/global view in order to learn
- Prefer not to have step-by-step directions
- Works best when understanding the desired end product, and intuitively does what is appropriate
- Learns best with 3-D, hands-on work
- Benefits from seeing examples of what is required
- Metaphors and other associations help when learning
Right-brained learners & emotion
- Needs relevance to their lives
- Is often highly intuitive
- Needs quiet time alone, especially when processing new information
- Quickly grasps the main idea
- Picks up on the intention and emotion of the teacher while learning
Challenges right-brained learners may face
- Might have trouble explaining how they arrived at an answer once they have solved it (such as in math problems when directed to show their work)
- Might reverse or transpose letters or numbers.
- Although they might quickly grasp the main idea, they may have great difficulty in communicating the details in a linear way (logical sequence of steps).
- May have difficulty with penmanship.
- May have difficulty listening to a lesson unless they are able to look away or shut their eyes.
- Might have difficulty with fine motor activities.
- May have a difficult time processing new learning and committing it to memory unless they have time to reflect without visual or verbal stimulation
Right-Brained Dominant Children Under Stress
A right-brained child exhibiting any of these behaviors is letting you know they are feeling stressed out and need help.
Right-brained learners under stress:
- May exhibit clumsy movements
- May "freeze" or may become emotional
- Seeing and hearing details may become difficult
- May have difficulty communicating verbally
- May have difficulty listening and remembering
- Communication between hemispheres may shut down
Think of it as though the child is swamped like a flooded car engine. If your car engine floods, it doesn't help to keep on hitting the gas pedal, rather, you need to just open the hood and let some time pass.
Similarly, to help children in stress, please give them time to regroup, remove the perceived threat, stop the task that became overwhelming, and reassure them that they are just fine and that you understand.
Do You Need Resources Designed for Right-Brained Learners?
If you need suggestions for successfully teaching right-brained learners, you have come to the right place! We are happy to help. Just reach out and one of our team will answer your questions.
Read more about right-brained learning
Find products especially designed for your tactile and kinesthetic learners
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