Monday, February 06, 2006

Chapter One - Right Brain Rising

As far as I am concerned, we could park right here and spend lots of time on "brain research" - particularly as it relates to education and learning. I really enjoy learning about the functions of various parts of the brain. I remember being facinated by Betty Edwards's book years ago (like 21 years ago) and using her work to teach 6th graders in Eatonville how to draw. That was back when brain research was brand new to me, and I think fairly new to the world of educators.

What are your thoughts and experiences with Pink's identification of "four key differences" between the right and left hemispheres of our brain?
1. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body;
the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body.
2. The left hemisphere is sequential;
the right hemisphere is simultaneous.
3. The left hemisphere specializes in text;
the right hemisphere specializes in context.
4. The left hemisphere analyzes the details;
the right hemisphere synthesizes the big picture.
At our last Elementary Arts Network meeting, folks were sharing some of their behaviors (quirks maybe) which demonstrated a preferred, or dominant "R-Directed" line of thinking versus a preferred, or dominant "L-Directed" line of thinking. Anyone willing to share some of their own behaviors (or those of an un-named student, spouse or significant other) which exemplifies an "attitude of life that is characteristic" of one side of the brain?


Blogger Anna Peterson said...

I also have been fascinated by brain research for many years; my master's project was using the arts to teach geometry. When I consider my own right-left orientation, I wonder if one side is more predominant at different times. For example, I alphabetize the spices in my cupboard so they are easy to find. On the other hand, I'm a global learner: give me the big picture and rationale before the details.

5:04 PM

Blogger deb munson said...

If this actually appears as a comment then I have succeeded in using my left brain today!!

It is a struggle for me, but my husband taught me a valuable lesson when he assured me that even I - the creative woman who seeks adventure and loves to color outside the lines - could learn to play the tuba.

I accomplished this by having an excellent instructor and learning "one note at a time".

I challenge myself to take on left brain activities. Emphasis on the "challenge" aspect, but I am also blessed with a right brain personality that celebrates mistakes as learning opportunities.

artfully yours,
deb munson

1:02 PM

Blogger Betsy's Blog said...

I have so many quirks it would take me too many keystrokes to list them all. So I am going off topic.
As I was driving to work this morning thinking about brain research and how all those wonderful little gray cells work together to keep me on the road (some brains have to work harder than others-PINK HOUSES ARE DANGEROUS)I saw "the Dude-who-walks-backward" in downtown Puyallup. And I started wondering "What would his MRI look like?" As my brain cells were cookin' along I contemplated "Will there be a time in the near future when doctors can successfully replace areas of the brain that are not working?" We live in amazing times.
It is Valentine's Day! There was a fun post about love (lust), motherly love and your brain at:

2:43 PM

Blogger Jo Ann Noel said...

The four key differences fascinated me. As I was reading, I couldn't help but think back to my childhood and handwriting lessons. I am left-handed, always have been and always will be. My second grade teacher thought that I should be right-handed and tried to convince me, and my parents, that I should change. I often thought how much this might have affected me and my ability to write etc. had I been forced to change. As my analytical, logical, handling of words ... is the right hemisphere of my brain, I feel that my language arts, reading, writing life would have been much more difficult had I not been able to stay left-handed. Brain research is not only fascinating but confirming.

3:56 PM

Blogger Donna Kling Knudson said...

My thoughts on myself and this first chapter are about "the big picture." I know I can drive people nuts when I'm working with them becuase I am always thinking about the big picture - the end result - and I know the details will fall in place as we go. In creating a grade level program, I see the end result, and know some how I'll figure out the steps as we go.

The other way this creeps into my day to day living (and irks those around me) is in giving or receiving directions - as in driving directions. if someone says, "go out of the parking lot and turn right - they've already lost me." I need to know the general area , i.e. "you're going to be going towards Seattle, or California". Okay, maybe more like, "the north end". But then I have that goal in my head, i make each little turn and what not fit that goal. If I start with the details, I don't know what to do next.

I know, very strange.

2:01 PM

Blogger dave said...

To build on what Anna P. said about right-left orientation, I can definitely see that in certain aspects of my life I am far more left-brain than right-brained and in others the opposite is true, definitely more to the left. I hope, and I don't think, that I am locked in to being a predominantly left-brainer for the rest of my life. I wonder if we can exercise the non-dominant sides of our brains to strengthen that type of thinking. A few years ago I would have said I was left brain all the way- organized, linear, step-by-step, etc. As I reflect on my behaviors over the last couple of years I see that I have begun to exhibit more right-brain type thinking and behavior. I don't know exactly what has contributed to this change, perhaps parenthood? Entering my 30's? Gray hair? Traumatic head injury? I am hopeful that I will continue to build and strengthen my right-brain so that as the need for right-brainers increases, I'm not left organizing my spices.

9:15 AM

Blogger Brenda Starr said...

As I continue to read this book, I am interested to see how our collective thinking will be incorporated into the work that we do in the Puyallup School District.

In what ways will our classrooms be transformed to provide engaging learning opportunities all students?

How will teachers craft learning experiences that help students gain R-Directed aptitudes?

I'm looking forward to changing my mind.

9:31 PM


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