Right, Left, Right, Left

This sub-forum contains discussions by the community on tuition centres/enrichment services that specialise in Brain Training & Thinking Skills.

Right, Left, Right, Left

Postby clarabella » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:30 am

Good morning everyone

I spent a good bit of the weekend wondering about right brain development, after enduring hours of my BIL extolling the virtues of right brain 'training'. I don't know anything about it, so here's what I don't quite get: Singapore schools are pretty 'left-brain' institutions, right? As far as I understand, they are all about being logical, sequential, analytical, and detail-oriented. So, if children are being directed to train their right hemisphere abilities extensively (that's what I was told), wouldn't it create learning styles that are at odds with the education system here?

My ds1 is, naturally, a very visual-spatial kind of learner and I have been told by teachers that he is predominantly a right-brain person. I can foresee him having difficulty in primary school (he's now in K2); it's clear to me that his learning style is not going to go down well with most teachers, so, frankly, I wonder why many parents are keen on right brain development.

TIA for your thoughts!

clarabella
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Postby Wesim » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:08 pm

I think the MOE is trying to implement an all rounded (right & left brain) education. Have not done a MOE-education-system-research yet, becos my girl is 23mths and the system keeps on changing. She is with Little Neuro Tree now and they are more into the whole brain.

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Postby clarabella » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:03 pm

Wesim wrote:I think the MOE is trying to implement an all rounded (right & left brain) education. Have not done a MOE-education-system-research yet, becos my girl is 23mths and the system keeps on changing. She is with Little Neuro Tree now and they are more into the whole brain.


Hi Wesim
Thanks! My BIL was going on and on about Little Neuro Tree and right brain; I think he misled me lah (or maybe he's misled hehe), didn't mention that they are into synthesizing left and right.

So, dear parents, any tips on developing the LEFT hemisphere?

clarabella
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Postby mintcc » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:06 pm

I was initially lure to shichida by the building photo memory portion. But I realise they have a number of activities that are left brain school work kind of things. But right brain or left brain, or what MOE's direction is, being a visual learner being good at rightbrain skills can be beneficial for general learning and problem solving in the real world.

So far DS seems to have pretty good memory and intuition...and seems to like to do homework. mummy is the lazy one. But anyway back to developing left brain...it really depends on which of the task we are referring to ...here's a list of left brain and right brain functions. May be we can try to fill in activities that help with the respective functions?

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
-uses logic - Read Stories when the child ask why why why? Give them the logical explaination
-detail oriented Point out detials of every day things, Play spot the difference
-facts rule Encyclopedias are a good start
-words and language Read alot, talk to them like an adult, don't be afraid to introduce new terms.
-present and past Talk to them about what they do yesterday, today lastweek, tomorrow ect ,
-math and science Counting games, explain or show them how things work
-can comprehend Tell them a story and ask them to tell you the story in their own words.
-knowing
-acknowledges
-order/pattern perception show them the steps of doing things. e.g. Make something together from a reciepe. Pattern games.
-knows object name point to objects and tell them the names read books about every day things, go to supermarket and shopping and point things out to them
-reality based
-forms strategies
-practical
-safe

RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
-uses feeling
-"big picture" oriented
-imagination rules
-symbols and images
-present and future
-philosophy & religion
-can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
-believes
-appreciates
-spatial perception
-knows object function
-fantasy based
-presents possibilities
-impetuous
-risk taking

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Postby clarabella » Fri May 01, 2009 4:00 pm

Hi mincy
Thanks so much for your input! I think it's a great idea to list the activities that help with developing both left and right hemispheres. Will try to contribute some thoughts soon... after my exams which are guaranteed to kill many of my brain cells :(

clarabella
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Postby jedamum » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:24 pm

my P1 is pretty weak at mental calculations/visualisation. his dad said that it may be cos he is a visual person. we have been emphasizing on clear workings for his math exercises, so is that inhibiting his mental calculations abilities?
any activities/books to recommend?
TIA.

jedamum
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Postby mrswongtuition » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:55 pm

//Editor's note: Topic selected for Portal publication.

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 Mincy's posts 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.
Example:
Normally I would just do this:
140 - 5 x 8 + 50 - 40 x 2
= 140 - 40 + 50 - 80
= 70

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
= 70


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).

mrswongtuition
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Postby clarabella » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:56 pm

mrswongtuition wrote: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'.


Oh, that's exactly what I do too! So nice to meet another adult who learns in the same way, hee.
Just recently, my coursemates were telling me how they think 'flipping notes in the mind' is the weirdest way ever to retrieve information. When we had open-book exams, they brought in pages and pages of beautiful notes along the lines of Pts 1. 1a. 1a-1 etc. They were totally scandalised when I waved my few (albeit huge) pieces of mind-maps at them!

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Postby EN » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:14 pm

mrswongtuition wrote:
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'.


Oh, that's exactly what I do too! So nice to meet another adult who learns in the same way, hee.
Just recently, my coursemates were telling me how they think 'flipping notes in the mind' is the weirdest way ever to retrieve information. When we had open-book exams, they brought in pages and pages of beautiful notes along the lines of Pts 1. 1a. 1a-1 etc. They were totally scandalised when I waved my few (albeit huge) pieces of mind-maps at them!


Nice! I thought I was the weird one out. The only difference is that I didn't realize it that I have photographic memory. I have flashes of physic book pages when I was sitting for my 'O' level. May be extreme stress makes me that way? Suddenly I understand the concept while sitting for exam. :lol:

EN
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Postby EN » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:20 pm

Nice post Mincy.

No wonder my children difference are like night and day.

EN
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