Being a teacher, tutor and mum, I’ve encountered this ‘right brain or left brain’ discussion many times.
My personal view:
Teachers in school do try to use a variety of teaching methods to ensure students with different learning styles will benefit from the lesson. Gone are the old days of chalkboard & textbooks. Welcome to the new generation of PowerPoints & videos. However, there are also limitations with 40 different students in each class.
‘Brain training’ may be good to stimulate your child’s mind, but I personally feel that there’s no need to make a big hoohaa over it by spending hundreds of dollars on it when there’s no scientific proof that it does increase a child’s academic or mental capabilities. I’ve attended many trial lessons with my boy and was rather ‘disappointed’ at the activities. The activities done can actually be carried out during normal play at home if parents are willing to make the resources (cards) or buy them. If you are not sure of what activities or resources to prepare, there are many books in the library with simple instructions and lessons planned out for parents. If you can’t read English, there are many Taiwanese books on this topic at Popular.
Don’t mistaken that I’m not encouraging parents to send your kids to classes, my boy attends many different enrichment classes but I personally feel that ‘brain training’ is something that can be done easily at home through incidental learning instead of during a structured lesson.
The activities in are exactly what I’ve been doing with my boy since he was born. It’s also a form of parent-child bonding & some activities can even be done in the car travelling from 1 place to another! My parents used to do it with my siblings & me to pass time (so that we do not fight in the car). It’s fun & they don’t realise that it’s a ‘lesson’!
Anyway, I feel that discovering the individual child’s learning style is more important than brain training.
If your child is a visual learning (like me), bright pictures/colours will help alot. Use of flashcards & posters around the house will definitely help.
I only ‘discovered’ my learning style in S3 when one of my teachers told me to try to close my eyes & visualise the textbook I’ve been studying from for over a year. I realise that I can actually picture the book in my mind & flip the book & search for info in my ‘virtual textbook’. From there, I actually decided to use different colours to write/highlight different types of information & organised everything using colours & colourful Post-It notes. It helped alot. Even at higher education, I was still using this method. People think that I’m mad when I close my eyes to focus during exams but only I know what I’m doing: I’m digging for answers in my brain. My parents did not send me for any brain training classes, it just came naturally & I learnt to tap on it.
I have a friend who is a audio learner. She remembers better when she listens to someone read information. How did she study? Pay attention in class & ask her mum to read her textbook to her. While others were busy writing notes during revision, she created audio notes. She read out important information/concepts and recorded them. Played them back to listen while she’s doing her homework and whenever she’s free. I find that her relationship with her mum is really very strong although she’s working in Aussie. She told me how she’ll still hear her mum reading to her when she misses her mum while working alone in Aussie.
My sis is someone who has no ‘logical thinking’. She has poor sequencing & this resulted in her poor calculations. She learnt to add & subtract through ‘rote learning’. Repetition & constant practices. She requires all workings to be worked out neatly, we can’t skip any steps when teaching her Maths. And at each step, there can only be 1 change.
Normally I would just do this:
140 – 5 x 8 + 50 – 40 x 2
= 140 – 40 + 50 – 80
With my sister:
140 – 5 x 8 + 50 – 40 x 2
= 140 – (5 x 8) + 50 – (40 x 2)
= 140 – 40 + 50 – (40 x 2)
= 140 – 40 + 50 – 80
= 100 + 50 – 80
= 150 – 80
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself as parents: What do you want for your child?
Do you want a brainy child who will be a Phd holder in future but does not have ‘heartware’ or family bonding? Or do you want an all rounded child, even if he/she may not be the top in our society?
Every parent’s expectations are different. As long as you know that you’ve given your best to your child by loving your child, that’s all that matters.
My expectation of myself as a parent is to give my boy the opportunity to explore & discover himself, thus the exposure to different learning opportunities in forms of enrichment classes (swimming, music, art, etc).