The Left-Brain Teacher and Student

The Left-Brain Teacher
Teachers with left-brain strengths generally prefer to teach using lecture and discussion. To incorporate sequence, they put outlines on the board or overhead, and they like to adhere to prepared time schedules. They give problems to the students to solve independently. Teachers with left-brain preferences assign more research and writing than their right-brain peers. A reasonably quiet, structured classroom is preferred. The classroom tends to be clean, with items in their place.

The Left-Brain Student


Left-brain students prefer to work alone. They like to read independently and incorporate research into their papers. They favor a quiet classroom without a lot of distraction. Dorothy scores “strong left” on a brain preference test for children. Though Dorothy is not learning disabled, her right hemisphere is significantly weaker than her left. She has great difficulty understanding lessons with a visual-spatial orientation. Dorothy is also a perfectionist. When the fourth-grade teacher initiates an art project, Dorothy believes that she cannot do the work successfully. She is afraid to fail and consequently becomes nauseous. Seeing the nurse accomplishes two things: It gets her away from an unpleasant situation and gives her time to regroup herself prior to Reading time.

Let’s say, for example, that you are introducing a unit on the solar system. Here are some left-brain teaching techniques that will help Dorothy and other strong to moderate left-brain students feel engaged during your lesson:

  • Write an outline of the lesson on the board. Students with left-brain strengths appreciate sequence.
  • Go ahead and lecture! These students love to listen to an expert and take notes.
  • Discuss vocabulary words. Students like Dorothy have a large vocabulary and are interested in words. Make a crossword puzzle on the Solar System.
  • Discuss the big concepts involved in the creation of the universe, how the solar system was formed, and so on. Left-brain students love to think about and discuss abstract concepts.
  • Assign individual assignments so students may work alone.
  • Ask the students to write a research paper on the solar system that includes both detail and conceptual analysis.
  • Keep the room relatively quiet and orderly. Many students with left-brain strengths prefer not to hear other conversations when working on a stimulating project.

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