Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Whole Brain Learning

Overview - The Brain

The Right Brain - 2 and the Left Brain - 1

  • The left hemisphere (1) is concerned with logical and analytical skills
    An example of a left brain ESL EFL activity is the studying of first the simple past and the present perfect followed by an exercise in which students need to choose whether to use the simple past or present perfect. Example: Jim _______ (not/see) that film yet.
  • The right hemisphere (2) is the center of visual, rhythm, "artistic" abilities

    An example of a right brain ESL EFL activity would be an exercise in which students need to recognize patterns in a set of pictures. Example: Look at these four pictures. What do they seem to have in common? What is different? Using color coding when writing sentences in different tenses on the board.

The Reflex Brain - 3

  • Stimulated by activity, the reflex brain (3) makes sure the brain has the oxygen it needs to function well.

    An example of a reflex brain ESL EFL activity is any game that includes physical activity. Example: Acting out the present continuous in a guessing game.

The Limbic System - 4
  • Links memory with emotion and is stimulated by "self investment" i.e. personal involvement

    An example of a limbic brain (4) ESL EFL activity is any activity that requires personal emotional investment Example: Describe to your partner the most difficult decision you have ever had to make. NOTE In my opinion, this is an area in which teachers need to be very careful. Asking students to divulge personal secrets, while engaging them emotionally and possibly serving long term memory, can be very risky business!

The New Brain - 5
  • The new brain (5) is the area of the brain that creates new material

    An example of a new brain ESL EFL activity is any activity that asks students to take concepts learned and process the information to come up with new and unique uses. Example: Poetry and essay writing. Students are encouraged to extend their knowledge of English into creating something "new".


  1. HI Ms. Vanessa, How are you?

    Frankly speaking, science has never been my cup of tea but the way you have described the functions being performed by various parts of our brain induces me to study more about it. Thank you for posting this valuable information.



  2. Understanding how and where your brain processes language may or may not help you learn English. However, I can't help thinking that it makes learning more interesting.

    Actually, understanding the process can help you work out more effective study methods. It makes sense to use as much of your brain as possible.

    Next in "whole brain learning," test what part of your own brain you use the most: right brain or left braib.

    Hemispheric dominance test

  3. Hi Ms. Vanessa,

    I took the test and found that mostly I use my left side of the brain. It says :-

    "You responded as a right brained person to 5 questions, and you responded as a left brained person to 13questions. According to the Hemispheric Dominance test, you use your left brain the most".




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