ERIC Number: ED354963
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Left Brain/Right Brain Theory: Implications for Developmental Math Instruction.
Kitchens, Anita N.; And Others
Review of Research in Developmental Education, v8 n3 1991
Perhaps the most dramatic failure in postsecondary education has been in the teaching of mathematical skills. The different functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain require different approaches to education. Due to their emphasis on language and verbal processing, schools have failed to give adequate stimulation to the right side of the brain and thus tend to discriminate against right brain (RB) dominant students. Many students show a preferred RB (intuitive) thinking style and consequently have struggled in school because their thinking style did not conform to typical left brain (LB) or logic-based instruction and testing. LB dominant students were generally successful in algebra, while RB students tended to succeed in classes involving trigonometry, conics, vectors, and complex numbers. Findings of one study show that in a beginning calculus course, 70% of unsuccessful students were LB, even though there was no significant difference in successful LB versus RB students. Although there has been research which casts doubt upon the validity of the LB/RB distinction, it is clear that students approach problem solving from either an intuitive or logical point of view, and educators must accommodate both learning styles. Instructors must teach students the difference between LB and RB styles of thinking. They should show how different thinking styles could have led to negative classroom experiences which in turn could be at least partly responsible for a difficulty in learning math. A list of 25 references is included. (MAB)
Descriptors: Brain Hemisphere Functions, Cognitive Style, College Students, Higher Education, Lateral Dominance, Mathematics Anxiety, Mathematics Education, Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics Skills, Theory Practice Relationship, Thinking Skills
Managing Editor, Review of Research in Developmental Education (RRIDE), National Center for Developmental Education, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608 ($9.50/year subscription).
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Appalachian State Univ., Boone, NC. Center for Developmental Education.