Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Left or Right?

Left Brain. Right Brain. Visual Learner. How do you learn? Better question? How do your students learn? In trying to embrace 21st Century Skills initiatives, be sure you have the answer!

Any of my former students who happen to be reading this blog will probably smile. If they can think back to a few years ago, they will remember that these questions were presented to them within the first week of school! As their teacher, I wanted to make them aware of how they receive information. I also wanted to know how I could best reach them with my curriculum! In the process of answering these questions, they learned a lot about themselves. I, on the other hand, was able to get a better handle on what type of approach I needed to use when teaching the content of my courses.

When you really think about it, learning styles are pretty interesting. As one common teacher quote puts it… "all students are gifts, some are just opened before others". What does that mean? My personal interpretation is that it takes trial and error, different teachers and different subjects to finally reach a student and help them turn on the personal light bulb that helps them “get it”. Get what, you ask? Get what we are trying to teach them. Some students seem to “get it” immediately. For others, we just need to be patient and figure out which path to take. My personal belief is that ALL students can learn… and learn abundantly. We just have to find out how they best receive the information and how we can make it relate to them. Students are consumers of sorts and as teachers, we have to put some effort into helping them “buy in” to what we are trying to sell… knowledge that they will need and can actually use.

How do you learn? Do some self-reflection. For starters, check out this site and take the quiz. You will be amazed at your results! The quiz only takes about 10 minutes.

-Recognize and remember names
-Respond to verbal instructions
-Dislike improvising
-Solve problems systematically
-Logical problem solvers
-Responsive to logical appeals
-Deal with one problem at a time
-Produce logical ideas
-Seldom use metaphors
-Give information verbally
-Depend on words for meanings

-Artistic, Visual, humorous
-Recognize and remember faces
-Respond to visual instructions
-Like to improvise
-Solve problems playfully
-Intuitive problem solvers
-Responsive to emotional appeals
-Deal with several problems
-Produce creative ideas
-Often use metaphors
-Give information with movement
-Interpret body language

(Lists courtesy of

What are some of the “recognized” types of learning styles? Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical, Logical, Social and Solitary! Check out this overview for great explanations.

What more information? Check out this site… - This article gives a GREAT explanation of right and left-brain teaching and right and left-brain learning! Want to learn even more? Visit

As a regular writer/contributor of this blog… anyone care which type I am? Last time I checked … I was a pretty even split down the middle between left and right-brained. This has been the case for several years now. But, as I age, I see the scales tipping a bit towards left-brain dominance.

Believe it, or not… learning styles have a huge impact on how your students will receive your curriculum, even with the exciting and engaging incorporation of 21st Century Skills! Project-based learning might just be the best approach to caputure your students' true creativity and talent in expressing what they've learned in your class! Regardless, make sure that your content provides the technological tools necessary for them to succeed in this society... and make sure they understand, fully, what you are trying to teach. Need some ideas to get started? Not a problem! Technology in the classroom can address all kinds of subjects, goals and learning styles! Contact us to find out how!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is not a matter of if you are Left or Right, but how and what you do with what you have. After reading "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel H. Pink you are led to believe that even if you tend to be "Left", you have to acknowledge your "Right" to keep up with the way the world is changing.

I not only need to look at student learning styles to make sure they "get it" but also how to push them into coming out of their comfort zone (as well as mine) to learn and look at things in a different way. Gina M.