Why you should privilege the right brain of your students

First, our educational settings are such that the student’s left hemisphere of the brain is privileged at the expense of the right hemisphere in the thinking brain or neocortex.

The left hemisphere is logic, linear, practical and deals with the step by step process, speech, numbers, details of the picture whereas the right hemisphere is creative, musical, intuitive and deals with feelings, the whole picture at once, global thinking.

In a nutshell, the left brain appeals to a linear thinker and the right brain to a global thinker.

Both sides of the brain are needed but the right side cannot be left in the dark if successful learning is to happen.

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An example of a linear language approach would be the Grammar-Translation method.

You present a list of grammar rules and vocabulary to the students, then you demonstrate how to use them, then you ask the students to perform the miracle you have just demonstrated.

An example of the global thinking is the Task-Based approach.

You introduce a meaningful end product so the students know right from the start that their learning efforts will gear towards that goal, you present a variety of priming tasks which will engage them into extracting the linguistic material they need for the end goal, you throw them into the deep end and they start answering the question posed by the end goal, you interrupt them and get them to work on a linguistic point they need to master to come up with a better end goal and then you get them to return to their end goal but without making the mistake that has just been worked on.

As you can see, the Task-Based approach is about the whole picture and end goal and its delivery will happen through the bringing into action of their own cognitive resources.

Sure, there is a linearity in the sequencing of the tasks but it is a successful application of global thinking at its best.

Recommendation:

  • Bring global thinking into the picture through the Task-Based approach!
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