Phineas Gage's field day
September 22, 2010
Left/Right Brain Theory is Bunk, by Daniel Willingham, Washington Post, September 20, 2010.
There is no link between creative processes and any particular brain structure, says Psychological Bulletin. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t worry, because Daniel Willingham will translate: left/right brain theory is bunk. As Willingham explains, this theory avers that one’s logic and quantitative skills originate in the brain’s left hemisphere, while one’s artistic skills and emotions come from the right one. But how does this relate to education? Left/right brain theory is behind the partially discredited “learning styles” pedagogical theory—which states that students' “learning styles” (or whether they are left- or right-brain dominant) dictate whether they will be any good at math or art. In practice, this means teachers spend a lot of time worrying whether Suzie should learn the material orally, visually, kinesthetically, etc., rather than focusing on the material itself—and blaming non-mastery on the style of teaching instead of the rigor of the content. But, now that the theory behind the theory is also bunk, let’s hope we can retire the concept of “learning styles” permanently.