It would make sense that every mind processes information the same, right?
How could it be that one brain could easily grasp a math problem or a science experiment when another can’t?
The prevailing thought – for a long time – was that a poor student just didn’t have the intellectual capacity. We now know that’s not the case.
A deeper understanding of left brain learning and right brain learning has changed all of that. And THIS is where the benefits of arts integrated education come strongly into play.
Left Brain Thinkers Versus Right Brain Thinkers
Actually, it’s rather misleading to say “versus,” as though they should be pit-ted against one another. They actually have equal merit and society needs both. Yet, the traditional educational system is rigged to favor left brainers – mostly because they’re the majority.
And those who work well with logic and linear thinking will thrive in a “traditional” education environment. These are the students who are able to pay attention, learn the lessons as delivered and score well on tests. While they aren’t necessarily left brain dominant, they’re able to operate from that side of the brain enough to perform well in school.
Those who do not operate successfully in this traditional system tend to be strongly right brain dominant. Although equally competent and intelligent, they APPEAR unfocused, inattentive and more interested in daydreaming. This is precisely what it looks like to be right brain dominant in a left brain world of education. The student guided solely by a creative mind cannot thrive in this environment because they learn in a very different way. (So much for no child left behind.)
Frustrated Students Equals Frustrated Parents
It’s completely normal for parents to feel frustrated when their child doesn’t seem to grasp learning. Particularly if they did well in school. The go-to is to assume that their child simply isn’t trying hard enough – that if s/he would just get his or head out of the clouds, all would be well. It’s human nature for them to doubt what they haven’t experienced themselves. It’s also human nature for them to urge their differently-wired children to try harder to think and process the way they naturally do.
But it’s just not that simple. In fact, it’s impossible. And it only makes right brain thinkers feel marginalized and, in some cases, unintelligent.
Fortunately, brain researchers and educators have broadened their under-standing of the right brain/left brain differences and what each one requires to be stimulated.
They’re also becoming more aware that traditional educational systems have difficulties meeting the unique challenges and needs of those who are right brain dominant. All of this has fostered the creation of arts integrated education.
Arts Integration Education Allows the Right Brain Dominant to Thrive
Simply put, the way a right brain dominant student processes information is entirely different from those who are able to access left brain learning.
Children who are right brain dominant often show higher levels of creativity and language skills earlier in life. And while these are often celebrated in toddlers and very young children, these positive attributes start to look like disorganization and inability to focus once they reach school age.
But traditional education methods are, well, boring for right brained thinkers and learners.
Right brain processors find meaning in patterns. They learn best when they’re able to snap a mental picture of the material they’re expected to learn. So the key is getting ALL the information in a format they can look at and remember.
Of course, there’s more to it than that.
Another component to this is the understanding that if they don’t learn something the first time through, repeating the exact same lesson – a common technique in teaching – isn’t going to make it magically “stick.” It’s not that right brainers aren’t listening, but rather they’re unable to process. So educators must develop a new way to deliver the information all at once.
From there, students can learn by doing rather than observing.
What Right Brain Dominant Thinkers Need
Those with a creative mind learn best through exploration and experimentation. They NEED hands-on activities that allow them to grasp the bigger picture. Right brain thinkers don’t focus on a goal, as they tend to be more visual-spatial than linear.
So while a left brain thinker is going to love (or at least tolerate) piecing together the many steps of a long mathematical problem, a right brain thinker is going to quickly bore and soon tune out. But if given a practical hands-on application, they’re far more likely to grasp it.
So, for example, history lessons may be better understood if written into stories or music. Or maybe geometric principles make more sense when applied through design or even dance.
In fact, involving the body in movement – whether dance, playing an instrument, painting, etc. – is another important factor for right brain thinkers. What they do with their bodies, they remember in their brains.
So right brain learners are completely capable of learning traditional academic subjects. They just require different inroads. But once they’ve found those roads, they can travel far and wide.
Does Your Creative Child Struggle with School?
Life can be challenging for those who are right brain dominant. They can feel marginalized, misunderstood and weird. Especially as young adults.
But arts integrated education gives them the opportunity to be heard, be understood and be part of something. It gives them the chance to learn, to grow and to express themselves without being shut down.
And most of all, it gives them the skills and confidence to go on to create amazing things into adulthood – without having to give up an ounce of who they really are.
If you think an arts integrated education could help your child, we’d love to talk with you. Contact us today!