Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth

Share Cognitive Science Implications for Teaching Mathematics
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Another misunderstanding is that differences in brain-hemispheric dominance can explain differences among learners. This is the so-called left-brain right-brain effect and it is complete nonsense.  It serves mainly to push learners into boxes and to provide an excuse for poor performance or complete avoidance of a learning task.  This myth is familiar to, and even endorsed by, most mathematics instructors.  Early in their travels through our public school system, students are pushed into one of two boxes:

(Box A) those who are good at mathematics

(Box B) those who are not good at mathematics

In the 1970’s I was co-developer of a remedial mathematics program (CSBM) with an enrollment of 3000 students per semester.  CSBM and its position in the list of university requirements forced the students to step outside Box B.  CSBM was a mastery-based program with high standards and strict controls.  Although almost all these students were considered (by them and their teachers) to be right-brained, 97% eventually succeeded at an 85% level.

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