intelligence - Intelligence has been defined in many different ways including as one's capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, planning, creativity, and problem solving.
We seem to prefer using one side of our brain over the other. You may have heard people even say they are a right brain thinker or a left-brain thinker. In fact, there is a Left Brain vs Right Brain Dominance Theory. According to this theory, each hemisphere of the brain is responsible for different types of thinking. Left-brained thinkers tend to be more logical, analytical and objective. They are considered to be good at tasks that require logic, language and analytical thinking. Critical thinking, using numbers and reasoning are their strong suits. Right-brained thinkers are intuitive, thoughtful and subjective. They are creative and expressive. Right brained thinkers are good at expressing their emotions, recognizing faces, colors and images. Do we really use only one half of our brain? Is our thinking and learning this black and white? Is this theory myth or fact?
Researchers have demonstrated that this theory is a myth. Over the years with ongoing research and studies being carried out on the brain, we now understand more about how the brain works and our ideas and understanding have evolved. The Left Brain vs Right Brain is a myth, although a fun one to explore. We now know that the two sides of the brain work harmoniously, making learning stronger. We know that the two hemispheres communicate with each other via the corpus callosum. "It's absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention on the right. But people don't tend to have a stronger left or right brained network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection," states Dr. Jeff Anderson, lead author of a study performed at the University of Utah.
What I find intriguing as an educator, is how the left brain thinkers and the right brain thinkers learn. Here are some learning characteristics of both:
Left brain thinkers:
read standing up
logical - skilled in math and science
precise - researchers, document
realistic - prefer non-fiction
preference for classical music
rarely absent minded
Right brain thinkers:
reads lying down
skilled at sports
psychic - interested in the unexplained
prefers rock music
Here is where it gets really interesting. Left hemisphere learners learn best when taught using linear, sequential, reality based and symbolic instructional methods. Right hemisphere users learn best with holistic, random, fantasy oriented and concrete instruction. So now here is the question? How do we foster the use of both hemispheres when learning? How do we make the conversation stronger between the two hemispheres to promote more concrete higher levels of learning?
There are strategies and techniques that every teacher can implement in the classroom. The good news is that there are things that you can do at home as well to encourage this stronger communication. Give each of them a try and observe what happens with your child's learning.
Tips to increase your child's intelligence:
Games that force your child to literally cross over the middle of their body ie: marching while slapping the left hand on the right knee. Play music while doing so.
Pencil push ups
"What If" Game
Learn to Relax
The goal is to have fun. Provide simple movement activities that require both sides of the brain in order to successfully complete.
(Developing Your Child's Intelligence Brain Balance Dr. Robert Melillo and Sherianna Boyle. Brain Balance Tips for "Full Brain Workout".)