Math Helps for Right Brained Learner and Beyond

Math Helps for the Right Brained Learner and Beyond…

  • Use graph paper to assist with visual spatial issues
  • Use kinesthetic teaching methods (movement while learning) such as:  stress balls; exercise balls; allow students to stand; throw a ball or other movement while learning new concepts or repetitive info such as math facts
  • Allow gum chewing especially during testing to enhance emotional grounding (stimulates the sphenoid nerve bundle at the roof of the mouth)
  • Cover all but the problem the student is working on.  Right brained students tend to see the big picture (every problem on the page) and therefore become overwhelmed and shut down into fight/flight mode.  By only allowing them to see one problem at a time you will help them chunk down the work
  • Give the why and how.  Right brained students need to see emotional relevance to self in order to retain information.  They like to know WHY they need to know the information and HOW they will use it in the future.  Also utilizing other senses is a great way for them to recall long term. Example, teach fractions by cooking.
  • Repetition.  Right brained learners require repetition in learning especially in the subject of math. Out of sight out of mind for them so keep recalling information until it is automatic and reflexive.
  • Calm down the fight/flight Vagus nerve response that right brain students tend to go into during testing or concepts that are hard to grasp.  While in this “fear brain” they will react somatically (physically) rather than think responsively.  This can be done be doing exercises before testing or class instruction.  When you see a student begin to “shut down”, physical movement is the quickest way to “re boot” their computer and get them back up into the rational brain.
  • Consider the student’s Dominant Learning Profile (Dr. Carla Hannaford).  For example, a left eye dominant student will read from right to left rather left to right which can make reading English a challenge.  It also results in transversals and reversals of numbers.  The hand / eye exercises will assist with that issue as well.

 

 

Jaynee Hodgkins Brain Integration Specialist JMHodgkins@msn.com Effective October, 2010

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Example Profile: Left Brain Learner

Profile of a Left Brained Learner

Jaynee Hodgkins, Brain Integration Specialist

  • Very detail oriented
  • Tends to stay focused on what they are interested in
  • Tend to be auditory learners (this can change depending on their dominant learning profile, ie. If Student is both an auditory and visual learner)
  • A logical linear thinker who appreciates mathematics more than writing.  Will tend to not like writing stories and may become very frustrated during writing projects if stuck in left brain.  May have trouble coming up with ideas and expressing thoughts and feelings on paper.
  • Under stress, communication may be shut down (expressive and receptive)
  • Has the ability to follow step by step instructions
  • May have trouble seeing the “big picture” or coming up with big ideas for projects.  May get stuck on the details (ie. “can’t see the forest for the trees”).
  • Time Conscious
  • When under stress may try harder with lots of effort but with no joy, comprehension or understanding
  • Verbal learner who needs to talk,  process, analyze to learn
  • Tends to print
  • Takes notes

 

Tips for parents and teachers working with the left brained learner

The typical left brained student may be a very good student for some things such as math and computers.  Oftentimes they have difficulty expressing themselves in writing and they may become very frustrated with writing projects and have trouble “shutting down” on tests that require essay answers.  Boys who are started in academics at a very young age before they are ready for more left brained and fine motor skills, may get stuck in left brained “try” mode for school and typically writing issues show up between 3rd and 5th grade.  Highly intelligent, easily frustrated, these learners can find relief by sitting on an exercise ball to stimulate the inner ear (especially during writing exercises and homework).  Encouraging water and giving them a picture as a prompt can also help them communicate in writing more efficiently.

 

If the Student is not a completely left brained learner because he is mixed dominant (left hand/right eye) he may be more visual.  He is therefore more of a visual learner than auditory under stress and will appreciate pictures/charts/posters etc.

Student may benefit from sitting either further back or on the side where his movement doesn’t disturb others.  Moving is a way for students to “attend” by stimulating the vestibular inner ear.  When calm, helping him explore ambiguity, emotions and movement can help him see things from a whole picture perspective.

“Positive enjoyable sensory-motor experiences will help develop the skills necessary to emotionally interact and fully access imagination, creativity and introspection.”  (The Dominance Factor by Carla Hannaford, PhD.)

Student would benefit from seeing and hearing the details in order to learn because he is both an auditory and a visual learner.  “Because his dominant left hand is connected to the kinesthetic gestalt hemisphere, he may need to move, touch and manually explore in order to organize and express information”.  Throwing a ball while practicing math facts or spelling words can help.

  • Help Student learn math facts and spelling words, vocabulary etc. by utilizing flash cards in the upper left field of vision while he says the item aloud.  He can thereby take a mental snapshot of the information and it becomes more reflexive.
  • Put visual cues/steps/lists up for him to see
  • In class, allowing him to put up a cubbie or an office during class work will help minimize distraction.  If he is working with a group of students and becomes distracted by them, you may want to set up a sign whereby you know he needs less distraction ie.  He goes back to his seat and works quietly alone.
  • 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
  • In elementary school allow him to sit on an exercise ball at his desk to stimulate the inner ear (provides focus and emotional grounding)
  • 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.
  • 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. left handed and right eyed) this can cause reversals in reading and writing as well as how they understand instructions given (in other words it can cause confusion)
  • Physically active, non-competitive activities that cross the midline of the body will help integrate this learner and provide stress relief (marital arts, swimming, soccer, knitting)
  • Student exhibits some Sensory Integration Dysfunction which is demonstrable by louder noises and frenetic activity.  BIT will help his “filters” come back to a homeostatic place.  A great resource is “The Out of Sync Child” by Carol Kranowitz
  • See Bibliography for more ideas

Jaynee Hodgkins, RN BSN pHn

JMHodgkins@msn.com 303-883-6109

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?