W O R D S
F R O M T H E R I G H T - S I D E by C. S. Franklyn Sr.
-- a personal documentary on living with Right-Brain Dominance (RBD) copyright (c) 1994- 2001 all rights reserved
P R O L O G U E I N D E X
I have lived with a learning problem involving Right/Left Brain phenomenon from childhood until I was fifty years old. Young people never understand why they do not or cannot learn. If the adults do not understand it -- parents and teachers -- the problem becomes one of growing frustration. It can be a lonely, haunting experience! I am certain that my experience is not unique: millions of youngsters are having the same problem today! They are this country's "invisible children" - the non-learners!
Children who suffer from this problem usually fall farther and farther behind in school. Figuratively speaking, important building blocks are not being set in-place in what I call The Learning Wall. As the loss of learning increases, the adolescent finally "drops out", first, out of school. Then, sadly, for many in this complex, demanding world, they drop out of Life.
The fundamental problem of reaching one's Intellectual potential and Happiness itself, begins here at this very early age. In the closing years of my Life, I want to revisit this learning difficulty, hopefully, as a means of helping others who have, or even now, suffer from a mental development anomaly that I call Negative Dominance Transition Syndrome (NDTS). The overall field of study is best described as Right-Brain Dominance. It is related to how we, as children, mature, especially during the period when we are in the 3rd through 5th grades. I will try to peel away another layer of the unknown regarding child development, an inquiry begun by Swiss scientist Jean Piaget who is considered the founder of child psychology.
SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM
NDTS is far too common in a Nation that spends more tax money "in the name of Education" than any other nation in the World! First, NDTS is a personal tragedy caused by Ignorance and Neglect on the part of our Education System! Secondly, it is a national dilemma that remains unsolved. In a Constitutional Republic in which the People decide the Nation's Present and Future course, we cannot afford dysfunctional citizens. Our form of government depends upon an educated population in order that it can function properly and fairly!
I reject the theory that many youngsters are unable to learn. Yet from the time thousands of young people begin the third grade, symptoms of NDTS begin to reveal themselves. But they go on undetected and untreated! The issue involves how our young people are taught and, peripherally, the kind of people who immigrate into this country and their success in our Society. Our Culture is predominantly slanted toward a Left-Modality which means that a large number of non-Learners who are Right-Brain Dominant are lost in this Left-Mode world. This problem is a developmental disability that has for seventy years been getting worse and worse because learning experts refuse to recognize it!
At least half the students leaving our schools today have few, if any, useful skills. It does not take a genius to understand that as adults they can become a national liability measured in terms of welfare dollars. With a global economy changing America's needs for a hi-tech workforce, our ability to absorb ill-prepared, often incompetent workers is seriously limited, if not ended. America's wastefulness in terms of its human resources must come to an end! We have been solving this shortage of competent people by importing better trained people from other countries!
There are serious challenges and finger pointing on both sides of this problem. Many school officials assume the pupil does not want to learn or is not ready to learn. And many capable, young people are in that category. But how can we be sure we are dealing with a youngster who "can't" or one that "wont" learn? Many times, a lack of motivation is truly a pathological quirk in the maturing process of the child. That is what I suffered from but I could not write this book to tell of my experience until I became familiar with the work of Jean Piaget and his wife. Piaget's work was poorly reported in this country at the time he was writing his many books. It was, in fact, intentionally neglected by scholars in this country who were focused on a new theory called Behaviorism.
So far, the child, its parents, the school and the Department of Education in Washington have not solved the dilemma of the Non-Learners. Politics has tainted the Federal government so badly that no one trusts it to address the problem. They have their own pet theories which are often tainted by political ideology! We are in a stalemate!
Now, I must ask: "Does anyone care?"
child without a father and an invalid mother crippled by MS,
my future seemed very bleak. Without basic skills, how would I make a
living? For that reason, I fought my inability to learn by inventing
tricks to help me understand and then remember. Many things were
but in a distorted way. Accuracy in arithmetic was always erratic. It
forever to finish a test or do an assignment. Had I not been
a school located on the campus of a teacher's college, the story of my
Life would have been a lot different -- worse, that is! If had gone to the city
school, I would have been a dropout and a runaway by age fifteen.
In the beginning, I tried to write everything in "mirror image" or backwards. Over a period ending at age 16, my performance appeared to be normal. However, arithmetic and reading were accomplished by secret methods that I hid from my teachers. Throughout my life, I have insisted on people making sketches and pictures to help me understand what they were talking about. I have always distrusted words because I sense people seldom ever communicate well -- neither with me or with others!. Words have too many meanings and colorations. Their meaning is also easily changed by people who learn the language "in the street" rather than in a formal learning environment. This is more true in the USA than any other country! We are an undisciplined Society and it became a nightmare after the Civil Rights Movement was unwisely implemented. It was a long overdue, good, decent and fair program but it was horribly administered by Black and White politicians in Washington. The damage is almost irreparable in many districts!
By the time I was in high school, I appeared to achieve higher academic standing. But my good grades were earned at a very high cost in Time spent on homework. My study habits were methodical and required a complex system of visualization and multi-sensory cognition to retain new information. Everything required intense review and practice.
Though not understood for many years, my problem was related to a Dominant Right-lobe of the brain. Having used it to create graphic systems to deal with simple arithmetic, I had become dependent on my Creative side of the brain to manage and process ALL learning experience. None of this was evident to me for many years. Only on reflection and study of new information from neuroscience and psychology have I put the pieces of this puzzle together -- after I !retired at age 68.
Now, I am ready to share what I have learned -- for whatever it is worth. During this study, I learned about Jean Piaget and how he provided the first theories on the the step-by-step process by which a child's mind matures. My hypothesis on NDTS tries to clarify and amplify what Piaget first observed but did not fully explain.
NOTHING IS LEARNED UNTIL IT IS UNDERSTOOD!
One important characteristic in 'my problem' was that I could not learn by "rote", the process of mechanical memorization. Rote has been the major process for learning in our schools since their beginning. In my case, I had to "understand" something before I could actually learn (i.e., retain) it. I inherently rejected mimicry or "parroting". Names of things had to have a literal meaning so they could serve as useful mnemonic guideposts. Rote is a Left-brain process. To "understand then learn" something, both brain hemispheres must participate in the process. My conclusion eventually came down to this fundamental premise: we must 1) develop learning programs that address the learning needs of the Right-side or right-lobe of the Brain; or 2) develop ways to switch children who are locked in Right-Brain Dominance (RBD).
When I told a teacher that I did not "understand" the lesson, a "brighter" pupil would be assigned to help me. My classmate often "helped" me by telling me that I didn't have to "understand", but rather "remember". Not much help, really, but it was obvious I was not handling information the same as my classmates. The sixth, seventh grades were devastating! In the eighth grade, I began to refine my peculiar way of learning and I began to achieve better grades. But I had to spend 2-3 times the effort compared to others. No one knew that, however! Not even my Mother.
My classmates seemed quite satisfied to not understand what was happening. What they learned by rote was retained long enough for them to pass tests. That did not seem to be why I attended school.
As an avid builder of model planes, boats and small radios, science became my "best" subject. When I began Algebra with its more abstract content, I began to succeed more and more. Though the phenomenon I suffered was not even identified in 1930, I now know that I was a Right Mode Oriented (RMO) child. In retrospect, all the elements of my problem now fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. But what a journey it has been for me!
THE PROBLEM UP CLOSE
After a long and varied career in business and industry -- including teaching in high school and the Air Force -- I know this problem is common in many families. Schools, concentrating more on IQ and many other theories regarding poor performance, have not yet discovered that thousands of young people have the same problem I have described.
But there is good news for pupils and parents concerned with such learning difficulties. RMO pupils should be identified as early as possible so they can get help when it is most needed. Otherwise, the building blocks put in place during the first through fifth grade will be missing. The foundation upon which future learning depends will be weak and incomplete. See THE LEARNING WALL (not included here).
For some time, researchers have been studying how the human brain functions. It is the least studied, and therefore, the least understood organ in the human body. Learning, as a process of acquiring, storing and retrieving information is becoming better understood, however. But it is a slow process. Useful information on how the human brain functions may be decades away. Understanding how Mentality grows and develops appears to be an "untouchable" subject -- much the same as IQ testing and the like. Nothing is more important today, in my judgment, than understanding the physiology of how human beings learn. Dr. Piaget spent his entire life studying how children and juveniles learn.
Further, the challenge of the undiscovered Human Mind will only begin when political and intellectual leaders realize that we cannot solve our worldly dilemmas until we regard Human Mentality in a better light. The challenge easily exceeds today's adventures into interplanetary space. Yet the impact of understanding our Dualistic Minds will exceed anything accomplished thus far on this Earth!
When will we realize that Civilization -- now about five thousand years old -- cannot progress much farther without solving the inequality of our Minds? I firmly believe that we have reached a point in History where the Human Family is no longer capable of dealing with demands of the Future. While technology and science have moved forward, the human race has become less and less prepared to be the Stewards of the next Millennium!
WHAT WE KNOW NOW: VERY LITTLE
The "dual" nature of the human brain has been described for some decades. Now, a body of knowledge exists -- much of it theoretical -- on how the brain handles information and data. The brain has two separate but interconnected hemispheres. And these two halves have dedicated sensory inputs and respond to similar perceptions or stimuli in different ways. The Left side is where numbers and letters are processed -- the stuff obtained from the "conscious" or Man-made world. The Right side is intuitive, it can visualize things and will handle visual/spatial relationships like drawing and art and tonal information used to produce music or recognise unique sounds.
These two brain lobes are like two very different departments, yet they must be able to work together. They are like Siamese twins. They possess two distinctly different forms of memory capability and it is by developing this capacity that leads us to true intellectual "understanding" or "grasp" of information no matter what its form may be. How we manage, interrelate and manipulate this storehouse of information is another matter, however. It is dependent upon how well the Right side of the brain has developed. These are the RMOs -- the Right Mode Operators.
Is it possible that we actually have two brains rather than one? We have two of many other things in our anatomy. To the extent that the Left and Right lobes are receptive to different kinds of input (i.e., different kinds of information), we do have two brains. All of which makes sense when we later conclude that most people in the World are "half-brained". In performing certain activity, both brains must agree or be coordinated. Without this safeguard, one might find oneself trying to walk in two different directions at the same time! Not a good thing!
Pioneering work in this field (early 1950s) by Professor Roger W. Sperry at the California Institute of Technology, began our understanding of what is called the Left and Right brain phenomena. As one reads about this research, it becomes clear -- to me, at least -- that hundreds of thousands of children have been unable to learn because they are Right-side Dominant thinkers. They see (i.e., sense and detect) the world in a language that is graphic, aural and iconical. It thrives on symbols, not language forms which suggests the Right-brain functions similar to that of an animal. To a Right-brained child words have very limited impact or meaning. Another name of a medical scientist who made major contributions toward understanding the brain was Wilder Penfield (1891-1976) Wilder Penfield
The children I speak of are not dumb or stupid. Educators have been dialing the wrong number and sending the wrong messages to them. Teaching designed for the Left hemisphere often confuses the Right hemisphere. Most American schools have paid little attention to the Creative child who is "locked" into Right-side dominant learning -- as I was until age fifty.
In fact, until learning and subject matter became organized, most people in the world used the Right-side of their brains extensively. Egyptian hieroglyphics and the story they tell, for example, are the creations of brilliant Right Mode Oriented (RMO) people! Even today in our modern society, minority children learn very little formal knowledge, but they achieve unusual success in the arts and the entertainment fields. Their power and skill comes from their Right-brain.
CRITICAL BRAIN SHIFT THE KEY
Today, educators are forcing parents to medicate many children so they will behave like the Left-side dominant children. Imagination and Creativity -- already at a premium in our Nation -- continues to be badly served because a large percentage of them do not make a critical "brain-shift". That "brain-shift" appears to occur in the normal child in the third and fourth year of school. The so-called "precocious child" is one who makes that shift in the 1st or 2nd grades. Some are so much more capable than their contemporaries that schools advance them a full grade -- often to the detriment of the child's learning a few years later. Many parents read to their youngsters and engage their minds with educational objects, all of which tends to hasten the time they begin to switch to using their Left-Brain. Families who have interesting conversations at the supper table provide an important enrichment to each child, which provides important stimuli to move the young child through its early "preoperational" stage.
As a follow-up to the above, I direct your attention to the conclusions made by Jean Piaget (1896-1980), a Swiss who is considered the Father of Child Psychology. He worked closely with Dr. Binet in Paris on developing Standardized Tests for young pupils. My school used these same tests frequently.
His work concluded that there is a natural progression of learning that every human being passes through in the period we call Childhood. By the 7th (age) year, the normal child begins to learn less through symbols and graphics, and they begin to deal with rudimentary ideas and concepts. Normally, the maturing Mind begins to "operate" or "think". At this point, the Left Brain has acquired enough language and communications tools to begin to function. This is the very same period my study revealed there is a "brain switching" phenomenon! The child at risk is the one whose brain does not shift! Interestingly, the strong willed child will tend to process all new information through his/her Right Brain. To achieve this they will "innovate" and "adapt" using various tricks and crutches that consume time and interfere with normal memorization.
Please read the following from Probe the Brain from A SCIENCE ODYSSEY/ WGBH/PBS
Piaget describes stages of cognitive development
1923 - 1952
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) always considered himself a
natural scientist, not a psychologist. As a boy he quickly
gave up play and pretended to take refuge in "work" --
exploring internal combustion engines, studying fossils,
shells, and birds. "I have always detested any
departure from reality, an attitude which I relate to my
mother's poor mental health," he recalled.
Strangely enough, after his successful undergraduate and
graduate studies concentrating on mollusks, he began to
work with children and did so for the rest of his life.
His godfather had introduced him to philosophy and he
found it so compelling that he decided "to consecrate my
life to the biological explanation of knowledge."
After his education in Switzerland, he worked in France
for Théodore Simon, Alfred Binet's collaborator, where
he helped standardize tests for gauging the reasoning
abilities of five-to-eight-year-old Parisians. He
was fascinated with finding that at a certain age,
children could solve a particular reasoning problem, but,
more than that, at an earlier age, they nearly always
gave the same wrong answer. He set to work to find out
Over the next 60 years, in numerous prestigious
academic posts, he continued to talk with children, play
with them, ask them questions, and try to understand
their thinking. Gradually he pieced together a
"blueprint" for normal cognitive development in children,
and presented findings that were amazing for their
simplicity, insight, and endurance to the test of time.
Interestingly, he found if he showed a baby a toy, but
then covered the toy with his hat, the baby would
forget about the toy -- if the baby was younger than
nine months old. At about nine months of age, most
babies understood that though it was hidden, the toy
Piaget found four major developmental stages (with many
subdivisions). For the first year and a half or two years
of life, infants are only aware of sensorimotor
experience, and do not connect it to things outside of
themselves. They do not know how things will react, and
so are always experimenting -- shaking things, putting
them in their mouths, throwing -- to learn by trial and
error. The stage from 18-24 months to 7 years Piaget
called preoperational, where children can think about
things in terms. They can pretend, verbalize,
and understand past and future. Still, cause-and-effect,
time, comparison, and other complex ideas are out of
their reach. From 7 to 12 years, children gain new
competence in thinking and are aware of events
outside of their lives. But tackling a
problem with several variables in a systematic way
is unusual at this age. From 12 years old and up, people
are able to think about abstract relationships (as in
algebra), understand methodology, formulate
hypotheses, and think about possibilities and
abstractions like 'justice'.
Piaget is widely recognized as the greatest developmental
psychologist of the century. His ideas have been refined
and added to, but they remain the foundation of child
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My mentor, Dr. Allen D. Patterson once commented: " Many pupils do not understand the lesson, but very few have the courage to tell the teacher. That's why we give tests -- just to find out. I don't have to give you tests, Charles, because you already know you don't understand it." Of course, he was teasing me. I still had to do all the quizzes! Sometimes, giants come in small packages! He was a true educator/developer and a life-long friend. A capable cellist, I am sure he had an intuitive understanding of youngsters who are RMOs.
Unfortunately, in that day, those tests did not measure what the pupil understood. It did measure what the pupil remembered -- the pupil's short term memory system which is little more than "flash" buffer system, not unlike that used by parrots.
There are three phases by which information/data is manipulated and learned. Phase one requires that we "detect and demodulate" the new information. Phase Two requires that the essence of that information be committed to "memory and repeated: termed Recall". The Third Phase requires the assimilation or joining of that information with the child's existing "base" of knowledge and skills. When these three phases are complete, we can say new information has been "learned'. If, however, we do not recall it and especially if we never use the information in a practical way, it will fade away. If there is no motivation to understand or use this new information it disappears very fast. The committing of information or knowledge into the human brain so that it may be useful, is not only a magical thing -- it is also the most misunderstood. It is the key to learning! And this is the huge, mysterious cavern we must begin to explore in this book!
Tests and quizzes given in American schools have changed over the past hundred years from those that tried to measure "understanding" to those that test "memorized" answers. Subjective to Objective testing has occurred because teachers are unwilling or cannot spend the time to correct subjective types of tests. Measuring accurately what a child learns is as important as teaching itself. To do this effectively, testing should be done by properly trained evaluators, not by teachers. Modern industry and businesses have learned that the person who makes the product cannot objectively evaluate it for its quality and compliance to a standard or a specification. Our schools must accept this fact and recognize that the first step toward changing the learning experience is to let teachers teach and give the job of examination and evaluation to other specialists! This will be a huge leap forward when that premise is implemented. Why? Because it means your child will have the advantage of two people's objective opinion and knowledge of their performance!
have learned to "play the game" with multiple
choice and true/false testing. It is the American way of doing things:
cheat! -- even though cheating does not serve their best interests.
the enlightened children understand that they are the losers when they
But that is barely ten percent of those who attend our schools!
If we could teach honesty and objectivity before a child attended school, he or
she would be prepared to withstand the influence of those who promote cheating
as a way of Life.
Why were "subjective" tests difficult to grade? Actually, such tests require answers in writing -- sentences, paragraphs -- in other words in composition form. Pupils in general, even in high school today, cannot express themselves in this form. After a half page of writing, a teacher is often hard pressed to be sure the student knows the answer. Here, in fact, was an early clue to the first failure of our schools: poor use of the English language! The easy alternative was to go to multiple choice and true and false questions. And we did -- BIG TIME! The practice is very old!
During those years -- and especially during the schooling of the "baby boomers" (1960s) -- the process of exploiting the examination strategy (i.e., cheating) was developed into a grand scheme that has been adopted nationwide. Never has any other generation achieved such a high level of networking and communal cooperation in out-psyching educators and adults in general! That strategy has defined that group and its unique philosophy as to what is Right and Wrong in this world. By adopting the attitude to do "whatever it takes" to accomplish an objective they have effectively de-moralized the Nation, and, probably, the entire World! They are worse off for it! And, so are we!
Human beings, young and old, will do almost anything to cover up the fact that they do not "know" something. None of us aspire to be stupid. Ego protects us from embarrassment, often blindly. My concern for my Future outweighed this protection and I often admitted in class that I did not understand the lesson. To some classmates, it was a way of confirming my stupidity. To closer friends, they knew I was being brutally honest. Several even understood why. Every child wants to be as smart as his classmates. If not, why not? This a Free Country. Aren't we all equal? NOT!
machinations of our EGO and what it does to us,
young or old, are unbelievable, often wonderful and even catastrophic!
THE PROBLEM & THE DYSFUNCTION
A Right-side Dominant child uses the part of the brain that is served by the Left hand and the Left eye. For many years, there was a belief that when a naturally left-handed child was forced to use its right hand, behavioral difficulties would result, especially in the learning area. Like many old attitudes that are based upon empirical observation, or witchcraft, this belief now has some new credibility. In fact, the new realization that we have two brain entities supervising and directing our actions, leads us into a whole new world of possibilities -- and speculation. It especially begins to explain many, many things which we will discuss in the chapters that follow.
Why are some children Right-side Dominant so long? Why don't they "switch" to Left-side dominance during the first 3-4 years of school as formal learning continues?
CONSIDERING SINISTRALITY (BEING LEFT-HANDED)
I started as a left-handed child and was converted to right-handedness. All of our children were inclined to be left-handed but their Mother immediately overcame that tendency simply by repeatedly placing spoons and other objects in their right hand when they were infants.
Why are those who are Right-handed, with Left-side Dominance, considered the "normal" children?
It appears that most of us begin Life as Right-mode types. What triggers the switching from Right-mode to Left-mode? When does it happen?
If the left hand serves the Right brain hemisphere (the one that has the skill to handle graphics, art, etc), then it is understandable why the Left hand prefers to use the pencil. Sperry proved that the Left hand is the servant of the Right hemisphere. To a child, printing or writing is a kind of drawing or art. Everything begins as imitation, a simple act of replicating, copying or repeating what it sees or hears.
As the Left-brain learns words and reading, the two halves usually achieve a state of balance and cooperation. But when we force a child to write with his/her right hand, we create a conflict with a natural, logical response already within the brain. To instruct the Right hand to do something controlled by the Right-lobe, a "loopback" anomaly occurs. This means that signaling between the two hemispheres must take place through the connecting tissue called the Corpus Callosum. A shorter, more efficient path for signaling would be to let the Left hand do the writing! Aha! does this mean that the Left handed person is the more competent among us? Doubtful! Perhaps they are more inclined to be musical, artists, visionaries or dreamers?
The "balance", between the two hemisphere's, mentioned earlier, will not occur, however, when the Right-side insists on keeping control or remaining DOMINANT. What happens in that case, signaling instructions required to activate parts of the body which are directly wired to the the Left brain, must pass through a longer path. That process is not only slower, it is highly inefficient because the Left-hemisphere has difficulty understanding messages relayed through the Right-hemisphere. They do not speak the same language just as an analogue and digital computer do not speak the same language. Interpretation, interpolation or "interfacing" conversion elements are required.
Here lies the dilemma faced by the poor learner and many youngsters who are now improperly identified as ADHS (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Syndrome) pupils! Here again, our experts are treating the symptom, not the disease or the dysfunction. An early symptom of NDTS is a child's intense alertness and constant awareness of motion and activity around them. Teachers see it as his or her inability to concentrate or "focus". Such children detest the pressures of Time. They tend to want to complete their work at their own pace. They insist on having the time to do a job well, which suggests they are Perfectionists. Such children are at a developmental plateau where switching to the Left-brain should begin but something is preventing that transition to occur normally. We will explore how this crucial switching can be accelerated. This a primary area for serious research!
Cursive writing as opposed to printing letters and characters involves cooperation between the Left and Right brain hemispheres. Years ago the exercises used in Palmer Writing Method promoted cooperation between the Left and Right sides, yet no one knew much about the brain hemispheres at the time. Penmanship, very much an art skill, is no longer taught in American schools the way it was many years ago. Girls always did very well in penmanship. Dare we conclude that they are naturally Right-brain dominant? Perhaps. They seem to make the transition to Left-brain dominance, however, more successfully than boys. Why?
Is left-handedness a positive indication that the child is Right-side Dominant? Is it a fact that many children who are forced to be right-handed are destined to be poor learners? Or is this just more proof that our schools do not know how to deal with Right-brain dominant children? Why should they? After all, they don't even know what it is about, nor is any professor in an American teachers college willing to consider the theory that I present in this book.
Let's face it: educators have little interest in whether a child is Left or Right brain dominant. In the past, the Creative child in school has been allowed to follow his or her own particular talent, often neglecting formal learning. Teachers practice a "path of least resistance" in dealing with students, especially from Middle School on. This is why I am a proponent of the Developmental Strategy in learning rather than an Educational Approach!
parents of four boys and one girl, my wife and I
have had extensive experience with the RMO (Right Mode Oriented) child.
Each child was distinctly different even though they all were RMOs.
of them remained RMOs and they have been uniquely successful.
As a new recruit in the Air Force, I learned -- rather abruptly -- that I put my trouser belt on wrong. There is a right or wrong way? I used my left hand to thread it through the pants loops. Left without a father at the age of six, I had no male supervision during the years when I began to wear a belt. My tendency toward left-handedness had been modified at a very early age when my Father was still alive. But later my left-handed tendencies like putting on a belt were not detected.
Interesting questions are raised as I look back. Are those who are Right-mode dominant, always left-handed. Is it a clue? Why, for example, did I have so much difficulty learning to tie my shoe laces? It was a struggle until I was taught by a playmate who was a year younger than I! Another clue to a Dominant Right-sider?! Think about it! It is easy to say a child is stupid or "slow" or "immature". Consider further: is the child right-eyed or left-eyed? A simple test will tell you. And which eye is the "sad eye"?! That, too, is important if you want to study a child's tendency to have Right Brain Dominance!
THE TASK AHEAD
In this book, we will search together to find these answers. In the process of finding answers, this manuscript will develop a hypothesis on the subject of Left/Right brain phenomena from my personal experience.
judgment, no other discovery relating to Education
and Human Development is more important than the work begun in the 1950s
by Dr. Roger Sperry and other researchers he inspired. When the French
doctor Marc Dax first reported his observations of the L/R phenomenon
1836, no one paid attention to him. Why did people with injuries to the
Left side of the head lose their ability to speak? Those with severe
side injuries never lost their ability to speak. Not until 1950
114 years later! when Sperry began his experiments -- did anyone seriously
to what Dax had observed and reported. This work will likely inspire a similar silence !
If I had a PhD, perhaps some people in the learning fields would ponder the
message in this book.
Although Sperry's work earned him the Nobel Prize in Science, (in 1981 -- thirty years after his first work -- there is little evidence that much of this information has been applied in a practical sense in today's classrooms. Why? Are we afraid of something?
Indeed, the practical application of L/R brain strategies -- known in industry as Applied Research -- will take a long time. Especially, if the journey is never begun!
As I write this, forty-five years have passed since Dr. Sperry's experiments on "split-brained" patients. Has anyone ever suggested that your child is using the wrong side of his brain? How would you react to such an observation? Your follow-up question should be: "How do I get him/her to switch?"
I would like to try to answer that question. But I need your help!
THE BROADER IMPLICATIONS
As America stumbles toward reconstructing its school system, the revelation that the human brain is dualistic needs to be better explored and understood. I suspect, however, the information will go unnoticed due to the weight of so many experts, theories and the growing complexity of the problems posed by our ethnic, racial and cultural diversity. It might surprise you to know that there are powerful and wealthy people in the USA today who want to "dumb our children down"!
While the color of our skin, our religious beliefs and the social level we occupy has become subjects of Public debate, more than ever before we dare not talk about the real kernel of the dilemma we face in joining so many different kinds of people into a cohesive, mutually supportive Society. I am referring to an Individual's Mentality, his or her Brain Power and depth of Knowledge!.
Our Mentality -- more unique than our fingerprints -- is what defines us and reveals our true differences. It alone separates us from the lower forms of Life -- the animals. Brain power is the last form of energy -- a resource that we must understand better if we are to motivate human development to a higher plane which is needed for Tomorrow's World. At this moment, we humans -- no matter where we live on this planet -- are unprepared to be stewards of this whirling mass called Earth!
EDUCATION VERSUS DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY ? WHICH?
I personally believe that we must give up our focus on Education, per se, and adopt a new strategy called Human Development, if we are to truly re-deploy our resources and adopt worthwhile methods for preparing young people for productive, happy lives. To achieve that objective, each of us must understand how the interactions occurring between the Left and Right hemispheres are both beneficial and destructive. We must change the question: How are we educating our children? to the question : How are we developing our children? We human beings are a resource every bit as crucial to Human Progress as any natural resource on Earth!
BEGIN BY IDENTIFYING THE RIGHT-MODE DOMINANT CHILD
Incidental to my work in this area, I introduce a new, unspeakable "language" designed to help us identify the Right-side Dominant child. Primarily, we seek to share a Vision regarding Left and Right Brain learning to those -- young and old, male and female -- who have endured or are enduring the frustration of being poor learners. Where are they? Everywhere!
Please help us find each other! You might begin by looking closely at young people who are now involved in Home Schooling. One of the common threads in the life stories of people who have made great contributions to the World, is their great difficulty learning when in school. What does that tell us?
those of us who have been unusually motivated to
overcome the NDTS handicap, a few have learned but with great difficulty.
in all this, is evidence that the "poor learner" or "late bloomer" may
have been locked in the Right-mode for many of his or her early school
years. No one knew it then, and even now much remains to be proven and
understood before it will be accepted by educators. When -- and IF -- that happens, we can then
to understand L/R phenomena and its contribution to a new Society. Time
is running out, however!
While we will be treading into the areas of biopsychology, neuroscience and the world of lateralized thinking, all that follows is relatively easy to understand once you accept the fact that your brain has two major lobes for processing, manipulating, retaining and redisplaying information. A key question, not yet answered, is how incoming information is routed to these two different brains. One of the problems in bringing L/R brain research to a practical level has been finding techniques for directing work problems to a specific hemisphere. If you can't reach the Right-Brain, you cannot exercise or study it.
SPECIFIC APPLIED RESEARCH
Insights gained from basic research must eventually leave the laboratory and move into an applied research environment -- a school or learning environment. Some work has been done and it is worth noting in the following.
The most notable effort, the first to demonstrate "lobe switching" was described in a 1979 book entitled Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Dr. Betty Edwards, Director of the Brain-Ed Center at the California State University at Long Beach, California. An artist and teacher, Professor Edwards connected the work of Sperry and others to the creative process of drawing. She demonstrates how humans can shift gears, figuratively speaking, "switching" on either the Left or Right brain hemisphere.
She called the two modes : R-mode and L-mode. We will use these identities throughout this book. They will emerge later more firmly as RMO and LMO, which I use to identify those distinct and unique attributes that define the Right and Left hemispheres. They stand for RIGHT MODE ORIENTED or OPERATOR (RMO) and LEFT MODE ORIENTED or OPERATOR (LMO). If you intend to stay with us on this journey, please become familiar with these two categories.
New knowledge (i.e., insights) is of little value if it is not circulated throughout the various disciplines that deal with human development. Dr. Edward's connecting "drawing and art" with L/R phenomena was just such a marvelous accomplishment. Many other similar efforts will or have occurred, I am sure, in other fields although not published widely.
This effort, not as scholarly, describes my personal experience with Right-mode Dominance, which, in my judgment, defines the totality of the RMO person. It has a place in the mosaic that forms the story of Left Brain/Right Brain research up to this time.
INVENTING ANOTHER LANGUAGE FOR THE RIGHT-HEMISPHERE
Why did I create an "unspeakable" form of English? It was specifically aimed at "switching" ON the Creative hemisphere. There are several reasons. The most important is that the Right-hemisphere is the most difficult half to engage in significant clinical exploration. It is strong willed and is much more removed from our Conscious, man-made World. It is where our native brain power resides, that which our Creator provided in the first and original instance of Human creation. To get its attention, we must use a language that the Left-Brain does not understand -- otherwise the Left-side will interfere.
When geneticists finally map the Human Genome, we will have the first opportunity to look at the components of the Right Lobe where, I believe, we will find a programming element that is equivalent to a modern computer's EPROM. Obviously, it will be electrochemical in structure. The Left-brain, whose content is the product of the Human World, obviously is more easily accessed and studied. We do it everyday! We simply use alpha and numeric data to talk and/or write to it! The language of the Right-lobe, however, is not served by a simple organized language system. While I believe it is symbols and icons, anyone familiar with hieroglyphics will confirm that the organization of such language is fraught with many voids.
The mysterious genius of certain human beings who can invent, innovate and design heretofore unrealized ideas and machines, (e.g. Leonardo da Vinci) occupies the Right-brain. It is the place where algorithms and earth shaking concepts bubble up and explode into human consciousness. It is the place where Insight looks at the clues hidden by the Almighty and says: "Aha, we can use that!"
If, however, the Left-lobe is undeveloped and "empty", these insights will be lost. Our unique skills in math, science and language are essential to give flesh and blood to the Dreams and Concepts that reside in the Right-side. Both halves have critical roles to play! Do not accuse me of saying that one side is more important than the other!
This is a place we must explore and understand if we are to solve the Learning enigma. But the Left-side, where we store what we learn from school and experience, must be well-developed if the Creative Right is to do its work and, then, jointly communicate findings to a layman, Left-brained world.
In other words, we need a TOOLBOX full of tools and skills. Without them, we are nothing! That's why Learning (i.e., education) is so crucial to our survival as a People and a Nation -- indeed, as the Human Family. Today, we are in our 30th year of pausing at a plateau -- waiting for someone to open a new Renaissance in human development. In the USA, this period of enlightenment appears to be stalled permanently. So long as we are satisfied to produce only "half-brained" citizens, we will continue to cede the Future to the brighter people who come from foreign countries where the search for a Better Life is done with dedication and enthusiasm and with much less political mumbo-jumbo!!
A WHOLE person, must have access to BOTH brains. Otherwise, we have half-brained Citizens, Consumers and Parents! While we can educate the Left-side with formal learning and experience, the great challenge lies in "developing" the Whole person which means developing the Right Brain, too!. Ultimately, we should become intellectually "three dimensional". As yet, most human beings are one-dimensional, I suspect. Are they only U.S. citizens?
PURPOSE OF A SYNTHETIC LANGUAGE : A CLINICAL TOOL.
Although the ALGOGRAM (al-joh-gram) is constructed with letters, it has no obvious meaning. It cannot even be spoken in the conventional manner that the Left Brain understands. It is semantically sterile. It must be solved by the Right-side through visualizing and acquiring a procedure (i.e., an algorithm) for its recapture or solution, so to speak. While it is not a symbolic language form, it is a form that the Right-side is best able to visualize since it can create algorithms (i.e., logical ways of solving things). The algorithms we have discovered in interviews are quite amazing. To learn more about ALGOGRAMS, check Appendix A: Creating and Solving ALGOGRAMS (not included here)
I am not convinced that the Right-side (i.e., the Creative side), is so severely specialized that it can only handle non-verbal material. This is not an accurate view of the Left or the Right side based upon my experience. The idea that each side is so highly specialized that it excludes certain input has, in fact, been proved wrong. Recent researchers have found a natural capability for Verbal material in the Right hemisphere and visuo-spatial material in the Left side. The view simply suggests that similar or same material may exist in both hemispheres, however, in formats unique to that side. Consider, for instance, two files in your Personal Computer which have the same name or identity but which have different extensions. Example: lbrain.doc & Lbrain.rtf. In this manner, each brain stands ready to help the other under certain conditions of memorization and recall. Each side adds thinking power to the other! When we possess such capabilities, we are capable of enhanced thinking.
For example, the image of a person's face or the sound of his/her voice stored in the Right-lobe, stands ready to help the Left-lobe recall that person's name. With such development of both brain hemispheres, we have what I earlier called a Three Dimensional Mind. This kind of Mind or mentality is the end-product, the Ideal that Learning, Applying Knowledge and Living should eventually achieve.
CHECKING PUPILS FOR RIGHT-BRAIN DOMINANCE
I am convinced that we should test at-risk children for L/R Dominance at least three times during the first eight grades. Class groupings might well be assigned based upon the hemisphere dominance of the child, not IQs and achievement testing alone. Once Dominance is identified, we can design educational curricula aimed at more efficient learning based upon Left or Right "input" orientation. We can no longer afford to assume" that new information is entering the correct channel (e.g., Left or Right). We must know how to address it to the channel that enhances retention most directly and efficiently. If all of this sounds like sci-fi stuff, please bear with me! Some day all this will be discovered by "the experts with PhDs" and then you will believe it!
Involved in this engaging subject is not just learning how to read. It involves how we learn to use a computer, learn Morse code, learn to fly an airplane or learn to play a musical instrument. I HAVE DONE ALL OF THESE THINGS AND MUCH MORE IN SPITE OF MY RIGHT-BRAIN DOMINANCE PROBLEMS. As the reader follows this theory, he or she will reflect upon old learning experiences. You may be surprised as old mysteries begin to be BETTER understood.
The quest for the "biological explanation of knowledge" begun by Jean Piaget is the only work that links up with my own conclusions about NDTS and a child's mental development. Piaget's work was given little attention in this country because our own intellectuals were mesmerized by a new theory called Behaviorism.
truly, for a Better Life and a Better World!
Charles S. Franklyn Sr.
REVIEWER'S COMMENTS: If you have a child or a grandchild who has trouble learning, this manuscript, offered by BEJO as an InterNet Release, will provide many intriguing vistas into how our brains operate. It advances a most interesting theory on how "brain maturation" and hemisphere Dominance may be the key to some youngsters failing to "keep up" with the school program. The author's suggestion that Development, not simply "education", needs our attention raises an interesting question. How do you see yourself: is your Mind Three Dimensional? At least, read the first several chapters! This manuscript is a "sleeper"! It is exclusively available only through this Website. And it, like everything Franklyn has ever done, it is FREE.
You may contact the author through BEJO at any time.
de Kate Prescott
Please go to: CHAPTER ONE