ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What's Right and Wrong About Right Brain Education?

Updated on June 5, 2019
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects including education and creative writing.

Originally from
Originally from

In the world of education, there’s always someone searching for a “key” that will open up a child’s ability to learn efficiently. And in many cases, that key can be a technique or method geared toward triggering the brain. Sometimes this key can fit; however, most often, it doesn’t.

In recent years, a group of programs supposedly based on scientific research on the brain has emerged. The set of programs are known as right-brain education – an educational system based on the belief that the best way for students to learn is to have them utilize the portion of the brain controlling creativity.

The promise of Right Brain Education has been taken up by several educational organizations. Schools specializing in the Montessori Method and several Asian countries have either initiated some form of it into their private and public education curriculum. There is also some talk among special educators of possibly using it to help students with learning disabilities.

While Right Brain Education sounds like an effective teaching technique, there is a problem: the programs incorporating this method have never been fully studied. On top of that, recent research on the function of the brain indicates that the right-brain/left-brain is more aberration than reality. For these reasons, Right Brain Education may or may not be the key educators are looking for.

An MRI brain scan image
An MRI brain scan image | Source

The Right-Brained or Left-Brain Myth

On November 21, 2011, the Yahoo website, Healthline featured an article by Lisa Collier Cool entitled “5 Brain Myths – Busted.” The second myth in her article addressed the right-brain/left-brain concept.

According to Cool, there’s a belief that right-brain dominant people (in other words, those who utilize their right brain for thinking) are “imaginative and artsy” while left-brain users are more logical and reason-driven.

This belief has been around since the late 1800s and has been accepted as fact among several educational communities. Also, it has given rise to the notion that the brain’s operations are divided between the two hemispheres.

Recently, brain scan experiments have dispelled this myth. First, the scans revealed the brain was more intricately linked than previous thought. Many of the functions perceived to be centralized in one hemisphere were actually being shared (Cool, 2011).

Also, studies into split-brain patients (those who either had the connection to the hemispheres cut or had portion of the brain removed as a way to treat epileptic seizures) were still performing the same cognitive tasks they had done before the operation. Even critical functions such as language were not permanently altered of damaged. In many cases, the various function of the brain had been moved to healthier areas - despite hemispheres (this is particularly true for those who had epilepsy during childhood).

On the other hand, there is evidence of specific hemispheres of the brain controlling the opposite sides of the body. The left- side controls the right side and vise-versa. There have been cases in which stroke victims lost the control or function of one side of the body opposite of the damaged hemisphere. However, the brain has proven to be durable: in some cases, stroke victims can relearn to use the portion of the body that was affected by the condition.

Still, the myth persists. Best-selling pop-psychology books have been written on the subject, and a small but sizable number of educators have taken notice.

Recently, brain scan experiments have dispelled this myth. First, the scans revealed the brain was more intricately linked than previous thought.

An example of a "right-brain" activity sheet. An explanation can found at the blog site listed with this image.
An example of a "right-brain" activity sheet. An explanation can found at the blog site listed with this image. | Source

The Right-Brain Education Method

As mentioned, there are several educational programs associated with the right-brain education method. These educational companies have flooded the Internet with their products. Many of them offer books, CDs, and other material for a hefty price.

Without a doubt, the most popular ones are not necessarily found on the Internet. In the United States, the popular Montessori schools have used something similar to right brain education. In fact, the private school organization has been credited with creating the first program.

In truth, it’s hard to say who was responsible for creating it. Italian educator Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori school, is often given credit for being an influence for the method. Her school’s curriculum was designed to adhere to a child’s natural psychological development. It used a constructivist model in which working hands-on with materials, rather than direct instructions, were emphasized.

Also, several blogs and articles on the right brain education method point out she referred to a child’s brain as being “absorbent” and being able to take in a lot of information through memory and tactile or creative means.

An actual right Brain education model may have been started in Japan by Education Professor Makodo Shichida. The Shichida Method, as it has become known over the years, has been popular in several Asian countries and Australia. According to the website, It is an early childhood enrichment program meant to:

• Activate the innate abilities of the right brain.

• Enhances the whole brain by connecting and synchronizing the functions of both hemispheres.

• Emphasize parent-child bonding. Bringing out the best in thechild (, 2011).

The method also focuses on building photographic memory as well creating a balance between the “brain, heart, and body.” In other words, it combine logical reasoning with emotional/creative growth.

In the United States, Pamela Hickhein, founder of Right Brain Kids, has been credited as a founder of Right Brain Education. In a letter to a parent, Hickeim described herself as a “Master Shichida trainer.”

Hickhein started two programs under the Right Brain Kids banner, TweedleWink and Wink. While she adheres to Shichida’s methods (such as the right brain is open through age 6 and then closes), she breaks away in several area including (1) expanding it to older students – in some cases adults, and (2) blending Montessori and other techniques to create what she calls a “whole brain” approach.

In a letter to parent, Hickein also stated that her method – as well as Shichida’s uses the “heart”

“You can only access the right brain through love,” she wrote.

Creativity versus Reason

While many of these programs follow the right-brain education concept, they also attempt to use techniques to trigger the other half. Then again, if the right brain/left brain theory was removed from the literature of these programs, they can be viewed as being programs that foster tactile or “hands-on” lesson over the standard direct instruction (lecture-read-class work model).

Does such a method like this work? It depends more on the testimony of the students and their parents rather than scientifically collected data. To date, the concepts of Right Brain Education has not been thoroughly tested.

Still, there are critics. Eric Chudler, a neuroscientist and director of Education and Outreach at the University of Washington’s Engineered Bio materials. He stated in the article “Left Brain, Right Brain in the Classroom” by Hannah Boyd as saying: “In my opinion, much of the left brain/ right brain work is not of much value.”

With such a statement, it would appear that Right Brain education is a bust. However, it’s the science that influences this concept that has come under question. The programs, themselves need to be further examined to see if they really work.

Still, Chudler points out that good education will always use both sides of the brain.

“For most complex functions, both sides of the brain are important,” he was quoted as saying. “Also, it is impossible not to teach both sides of the brain.”

Should Educators ignore all parts of Right Brain Education?

Should Educators ignore all parts of Right Brain Education?

See results

© 2014 Dean Traylor


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)