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The brain consists of the right and the left hemispheres. These are quite different in relation to how the brain processes information. In each and every person, there exists a dominant hemisphere which controls and carries out most of the brain’s activities. However, there is a consensus that both the right and left hemispheres carry out specific duties in normal case scenarios (Deutsch, 2001). Each person’s way of thinking is highly influenced by his or her brain’s dominant side. A person whose left hemisphere is dominant is likely to be highly analytical, logical and objective. On the other hand, a person whose right hemisphere is dominant is likely to be thoughtful, intuitive and subjective. However, the brain is not dichotomous. It works in a more cohesive and objective manner when the two halves are in synchronization. This essay shall address the customary duties of both the right and the left hemispheres in relation to learning.
Differences between the Right and the Left Hemispheres
In relation to learning and mode of consciousness, there are several outstanding differences that this essay shall focus on. First, the left hemisphere approaches information in a linear manner while the right hemisphere approaches information on a holistic view. The left hemisphere processes information in an organized linear way whereby it combines parts and pieces of information, and links them into a ‘whole’ mass of data. In addition, it organizes this data in a logical, sequential format. On the other hand, the right hemisphere obtains information and attempts to break it down in order for it to be understood. It first processes the answer, whereby it figures out the extent of the problem and the required solution. Then, it concentrates on the finer details.
Hence, in learning, a person who relies more on the right hemisphere should first be made to understand the overall concept before concentrating on the finer details. For instance, a right brained person should read the background information or survey a chapter before attending a lesson. If the lecturer does not give an overview, it would be advisable to ask what the next lesson will be about and where to get the relevant information in order to adequately prepare for the next lesson. Predominantly, right-brained persons may have trouble outlining assignments, when asked to. They need a reason to do anything. Therefore, not only do such students need an overall concept of the matter at hand, but they also need to be informed why the issue is being undertaken. If these students are successfully handled, a lecturer needs to incorporate these facts (Mcgilchrist, 2010).
Secondly, the left hemisphere approaches issues in a sequential, orderly and pre-determined manner whereas the right hemisphere generates information and processes data in a random manner. The left hemisphere processes data in sequence. Thus, it is referred to, as a list maker. Such people enjoy making schedules and drawing daily plan of all other activities that should be undertaken. When these tasks are completed in this order, they derive pleasure in checking them off. In learning, they need to acquire information in bits and then progress in a logical sequence. For instance, they are good in spelling and pronunciation since it involves sequencing. In addition, such people are likely to perform quite well in arithmetic since it involves linear and sequential data processing, whereby the student follows specific steps.
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Right-brained students can carry out their tasks at random. They can move from one task to another without difficulties. They can easily accomplish various tasks without following a laid down procedure. For instance, a student whose right hemisphere is dominant may choose to tackle assignments without giving priority to the deadline. Therefore, it results in lateness and related penalties. It is advisable, that such students should make a schedule of all activities and assign weights according to their importance and deadlines. In addition, they should pay more attention on details and instructions. Some problems, such as spelling and arithmetic, necessitate the use of a dictionary and practice. Always proof spell your assignment before handing it over for assessment. In addition, the right hemisphere is highly color sensitive. This can aid students in detecting errors made in their tasks, especially those involving sequences.
Thirdly, people with dominant left hemispheres are more likely to comprehend issues if they are presented in form of symbols. On the other hand, those whose right hemispheres are dominant prefer approaching data from a concrete perspective which involves moving, touching and doing. The left hemisphere processes and decodes symbols easily. It is rare to find any academic pursuit without symbols such as mathematic notations, words, and letters. Linguistics and mathematics endeavors are easily solved by such persons. They are able to memorize vocabulary words or mathematical formulas. On the other hand, the right hemisphere prefers concrete data in order to understand the main object. Hence, these students find it hard to learn phonics. They see words as they are. The right side of the brain creates many opportunities, when involving realistic events whenever possible. Using illustrations as to demonstrate various problems, such as in mathematics, simplifies the learning process for these students.
In addition, persons whose brains are predominantly left approach information from a logical point of view. On the other hand, those whose right hemispheres are dominant prefer intuition. When a student whose brain is predominantly left reads or listens, they gather information so that they can draw a logical conclusion. Thus, a decision is made from an analysis of logic. If the student’s dominant side is the right hemisphere, intuition, rather than logic, guides the decision-making process. The student may be aware of the correct answer to a mathematical problem, but unsure of how to calculate the answer. Therefore, reasoning starts from the answer and then progresses to how the answer is calculated. For instance, in a quiz, students with dominant right hemispheres may know the correct answer. However, their counterparts concentrate on the methodology rather than on the solution. In writing, the left hemisphere concentrates on mechanics such as punctuation, spelling and agreement while the right side leans more on meaning and coherence (Gibson, 2010).
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Students, who have dominant left hemispheres, express themselves quite well. Right-brained students have difficulty expressing what they want, especially in writing. For instance, while issuing directions, left-brained individuals give clear details. However, individuals, who predominantly rely on the right hemisphere, give blurred details that involve gesticulation in an attempt to illustrate to a recipient. This shows that students who predominantly rely on the right hemisphere have to visualize what they are required to express. It is important to write down all information in order to remember it. The lecturer should also avail avenues through which such students can demonstrate what they have learnt so far.
Finally, students whose left hemispheres are dominant are likely to accept reality and try to outmaneuver through situations from a logical standpoint. Hence, they are time conscious (temporal) and do not fail to meet the laid-down deadlines. On the other hand, students whose right hemispheres are more dominant base their actions on fantasy when confronted with extraordinary situations. Therefore, they are non-temporal and have no sense of time. The left side of the brain acquires and stores information in a logical format unlike the right hemisphere which generates information at random. Such individuals can adjust to any environment when necessary. They try to follow the set rules. If there were no rules, they would probably formulate their own rules, so as to create a guideline. For instance, deadlines are taken seriously and there is no room for excuses. On the other hand, students, whose right hemispheres are dominant, attempt to change their environment in order to suit them. They feel that deadlines can be postponed to suit their situations. Such students should first undertake reality checks on the consequences of their decisions, rather than adopt a strategy that would otherwise lead them into deep trouble. Although such orientation is seemingly a disadvantage, there are various merits associated with the right hemisphere. Such students are highly creative. For instance, a student, who wants to learn about the digestive system, may visualize a piece of food as him/her. In addition, the right side of the brain processes and stores emotions, which aids in memorizing various things taught (Dew, 1996).
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In conclusion, both the right and left hemispheres have several merits and demerits. However, there are distinct patterns that can be observed. Most education systems approach learning from a logical sequential perspective, which serves the purposes of students who have a dominant left hemisphere. Students, whose right hemispheres are dominant, feel neglected and may not be able to adapt to these environments. Hence, a tutor should not only merge his lectures with demonstrations, but also encourage participation from all the students. Students should also learn to adopt strategies that incorporate both hemispheres. For instance, while the right hemisphere is highly creative, it should adopt logic and sequence, a strategy which can only be adopted by utilizing the left hemisphere.
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