Right Brain

Our education system stresses much on logical and analytical process which is originated from Left brain. Can we combine it with the randomness and intuitive approach of right brain? After all we teach inclusivity then why to leave right brain in lurch?

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind a faithful servant. It is paradoxical that in the context of modern life we have begun to worship the servant and defile the divine.”

Albert Einstein

Isn’t it amazing that so many years ago, Einstein, a scientist and ostensibly a Left brain user, should have realized the hidden wealth of the Right brain or as he calls it, ‘the intuitive mind’? The Left brain is the seat of logical, analytical processes. It approaches a given task in a sequential and reality based way. The right brain on the other hand is intuitive, random and holistic. It is the seat of fantasy and emotion and other non-verbal, non-temporal processes.

Perhaps because speech and language are located in the left brain (for 98% of human beings), the analytical left brain has come to be worshipped. The efficacy of teaching increases if the left brain approach is complemented by a Right brain one.

Take the case of ‘Percentages and Fractions’ – The children bake a cake – and right from buying material at a percentage cost to proportion of ingredients to how much cake each will get – throughout they worked with percentages and fractions! And not only was the activity ‘enjoyable and involving’ but it also demonstrated the workings and applications in daily life

When teaching is done through such a brain inclusive rather than brain exclusive approach there are sudden jumps in comprehension. For learning to have a deeper impact, it is necessary for the student to be able to understand the ‘parts’ as well as see the ‘whole’.

Letting the analytical Left-brain suppress the intuitive Right brain is like going through life with one eye closed. Of course we will be able to ‘see’ but somewhere the ‘wholeness’ of the picture will escape us. Problem solving, decision making, critical thinking and exploration of meaning reply on this two pronged approach.

Fantasy and Analogy are powerful right brain tools and help a child make the necessary connections and interconnections. Teaching a child to tap into the right brain is relatively simple and we can provide a host of opportunities within the home itself. Essentially it is all about guiding the child to perceive and process information differently from the traditional way. Also, by giving the child a task that the left brain will reject and will therefore have to be taken on by the right brain.

Can the child learn about plants by imagining himself to be a seed and doing a visualized walk through? Can the child learn how a cycle works by comparing it with human limb? Can we enhance learning experience by drawing, by dancing, using music and using manipulative?

And what will this “whole brain” learning lead to? Tomorrow demands people who see the ‘big picture’, who play by their hunches and who arrive at creative solutions. Children who are trained today to be in their ‘Right Minds’!

By Sangeeta Bahuguna