Furthermore, this paper will present literature demonstrating that 'right-brain children living in a left-brain world' are, at present, severely disadvantaged within the classroom environment. Firstly, a brief outline of hemispheric characteristics will be outlined. Secondly the negative impacts of a 'left-brain' curriculum on the right-brain child shall be highlighted. Next, suggested changes to the curriculum that will enable more inclusive learning shall be provided. Finally, a conclusion shall synthesize the main arguments, and show that changes to teaching practices can contribute to a curriculum that engages and supports all student learning styles.
There is a general consensus that each hemisphere of the brain performs characteristic activities (Gallagher, 2001). For example, the left hemisphere is stated to do more logical thinking, and to focus on verbal and analytical processing. The left-brain seems to activate when a person is paying attention to the details of information and when working with numbers. It is also considered to be the language dominant hemisphere, which takes a linear approach to information and so sequentially orders its input in a logical manner. The left-brain is also argued to be the more realistically focused hemisphere. In contrast, the right hemisphere is stated to do more of creative thinking, such as finding and relationships in information. The right-brain is considered to be more visual-spatial focused, be interested in 'the bigger picture' (Gestalt), and to have an intuitive and divergent thinking style. Hence, it appears that each hemisphere can be attributed a set of thinking strategies that are specific to the brain region.
Cognitive theories have pointed to the direct influence these hemispheric functions have on the learning processes of the student. They also point out that the majority of school curriculum is 'left-brain' orientated (van der Jagt, 2003). Students are expected to listen and take in information, to read, write and verbally present their understanding of new knowledge, and standardized assessments require that students read a question and answer it with the one correct answer. As such, school curriculum places its emphasis on words, and so draws on the learning abilities of the left-brain. Furthermore, there is an orientation toward convergent ways of thinking, with new information being delivered to the student in a step-by-step manner, and being encouraged to logical reason and analyze new knowledge in an objective way, to reach a final correct answer. It is evident that the prioritizing of left-brain strategies over those of the right-brain severely disadvantages the right-brain student in their ability to learn.
The negative consequences for the right-brain student can have long-lasting effects on their psychosocial and learning development (Gallagher, 2001; van der Jagt, 2003). Firstly, the right-brain student tends to perceive themselves as an inadequate learner, and may find that they are diagnosed as having a learning dysfunction, or being told by parents and teachers that they are lazy or less intelligent in comparison with other students. As