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Whole Brain Learning

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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".


More "Whole Brain" Techniques and Activities

Using Music in the Classroom
Six years ago researchers reported that people scored better on a standard IQ test after listening to Mozart. You would be surprised at how much music can also help English learners.

Helpful Drawing Hints
"A picture paints a thousand words" - Easy techniques to make quick sketches that will help any artistically challenged teacher - like myself! - use drawings on the board to encourage and stimulate class discussions.

Using Colored Pens
The use of colored pens to help the right brain remember patterns. Each time you use the pen it reinforces the learning process.

Brain Gym
The brain is an organ and can be physically stimulated to improve learning. Use these simple exercises to help your students concentrate better and improve their learning abilities.

Suggestopedia: Lesson Plan
Introduction and lesson plan to a "concert" using the suggestopedia approach to effective/affective learning.

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  5. ESL EFL Teaching Technique
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  7. Whole brain learning, suggestopedia and NLP - Overview of various brain functions

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