Some children dominate the right side of the brain. They are creative. They think outside the box. They dance and make art. They generally don’t like math.
Other children dominate the left side of the brain. They take things apart to find out how they work. They like order. They think about things and ask a lot of questions. Mathematics is usually his favorite subject.
There is nothing wrong with this, except that school is generally a dominant institution on the left side of the brain, especially as children progress through high school and then college. Although we are getting better at teaching individual differences in elementary school, teaching the left brain is still the norm in secondary school.
The teaching of the left brain is linear. Lists to learn and memorize. The teachers speak. Children write it. The teachers have a plan. The children follow the plan. Whoa there. You just lost all those right-brained kids. Now they get bad grades. They are labeled with a learning disability. They might get in trouble. Someone probably thinks they have ADHD.
And teachers report that there are more and more children with mastery of the right brain in their classrooms. So how will these kids succeed in high school and college? What if they want to go to medical school, law school, maybe become engineers? How can we help them?
Learning to use the whole brain solves the problem. Learn to decrease the dominance of the right hemisphere or the left hemisphere to use both sides equally. So what does this mean? And how do you do it?
First, let’s first take a look at how the frontal lobes of the brain’s neocortex work. This is the part of the brain that is just behind the forehead. The left and right sides are connected by a fibrous band in the middle called the “corpus callosum.” To use both sides of the brain, neurons on the left side must be connected to neurons on the right side. In other words, the electrical charge between the brain cells has to pass through the corpus callosum. OK, that’s the theory part.
Now for the action part. How do you get this neural pattern? How are these synapses reached through the corpus callosum? It really is quite simple. Every time it crosses the midline of your body, it creates neural patterns between the left and right side. Children who are proficient in the right hemisphere of the brain can now use more of the left hemisphere. And children with a dominant left hemisphere are able to use the right hemisphere more.
Just make them move. Walk while swinging your arms. Skipping. Playing ball. Dance. In a hurry. Since moving is key, we may be seeing more children with dominant right brains because children are less active.
Have the children do the Brain Gym cross crawl. It’s like marching in place. You can do it sitting or standing. Raise your right leg and touch your knee with your left elbow. Now raise your left leg and tap with your right elbow. How many variations of this can you and your children come up with? Make sure to use music. Makes it more fun. How slow can you do it? It slowly gives you more brain integration and better balance.
Now, after all, those kids who master the right brain can get through math. Children with a dominant left brain can show their creative and artistic side. Children with ADHD are more focused. And everyone is having fun.