Example Profile: Right Brained Learner

Profile of a Right Brained Learner

Jaynee Hodgkins, Brain Integration Specialist

  • Sees the big picture, misses details.
  • Needs help chunking down assignments and projects.  Needs help in life skills with same approach (ie. organizing room and check book)
  • Needs to understand the emotional relevance to themselves in order to learn (why do I need to know this?)
  • Although they learn visually, they don’t have a great visual memory (so they forget math facts and spelling words and need repetition)
  • Oftentimes self medicate with caffeine or other substance to integrate their thinking
  • Typically kinesthetic learners (need to move to learn best and to focus)
  • Oftentimes tilt their chairs or stand up to stimulate the vestibular inner ear in order to better concentrate and attend
  • Typically visually distracted so seeing a window or kids messing around makes it hard to concentrate.  Also have struggles seeing and hearing at the same time (can’t concentrate on what you are saying while watching at the same time)
  • Right brain learners need more repetition.
  • This learner has difficulty organizing their life and  homework because they see the big picture and get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start
  • They can become overwhelmed during testing situation and revert to fight/flight (where no rational thought is going on) because they see entire test.  Having them hide all but one question from themselves will help
  • If student is mixed dominant (ie. Right handed and left eyed) this can cause reversals in reading and writing as well as how they understand instructions given (in other words it can cause confusion)
  • In non stressed environment they can communicate but as they get stressed communication can become “shut down”.  Physical movement (a walk, a drink of water) can help them reboot quicker to be able to think rationally.





Tips for parents and teachers working with the right brained learner

The typical student seen in special education is the child who is right brained, kinesthetic with poor focus.  Oftentimes they do great once out of school in fields where they can be big picture thinkers or very kinesthetic (emergency medicine, fire fighters, artistic careers, construction, culinary).  Working with this profile of a student can be very challenging in a left brain linear academic system and also for life skills.


  • This learner appreciates metaphors and examples
  • Appreciates getting to “do” something as part of learning process
  • Appreciate “why” they need to know this information and how they will use it in life
  • In elementary school allow them to sit on an exercise ball at their desk to stimulate the inner ear (provides focus and emotional grounding)
  • In middle school they may need to stand at their desk or utilize things like stress balls.  There are also mats they can sit on that help them “move” without being a nuisance.  At home, parents can allow student to sit on ball during homework
  • Allow them to sit in back or along the side so their fidgeting doesn’t distract others
  • Allow them to sit on the side of the room that is their dominant eye with access to their dominant ear
  • Don’t face them towards windows or distracting students if possible
  • Help them learn math facts and spelling words, vocabulary etc. by utilizing flash cards in the upper left field of vision while they say the item aloud.  Right brain learners need more repetition.
  • Instructions given orally would be better if included a visual handout or visual cue
  • If the learner has auditory processing issues in relation to writing, they have a lot of trouble taking notes given orally.  Lectures can be difficult for these kids if the lecture doesn’t include many of the senses
  • On writing or other school projects parents can assist student by talking them through the big picture the student has expressed, and teaching them how to outline and chunk the work down.  Teacher awareness of this weakness can help partner in this goal
  • Parents should consider offering tutoring in LA and mathematics during the summer so that information is not lost.  For these learners it becomes “out of sight out of mind” and they need more repetition
  • In class, allowing student to put up a cubbie or an office during class work will help minimize distraction
  • Parents can encourage exercises at home that reverse the fight/flight or “deer in the headlights” process that happen for these kids.  Teachers can encourage water and breaks or other tools that work for that student
  • Other ideas that work?


  1. Melissa said,

    September 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    This is such a concise and well-worded description of how to understand, appreciate and help a right-brained learner! Thank you!

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