Right or Left?

No, I’m not talking about Right or Left handedness or even politics.  I’m talking about Right and Left brained thinking.  I happen to be a Right Brainer and I suppose that’s why I’m always late for things or why I flutter back and forth across my classroom as I pick up at the end of the day instead of taking care of one thing at a time.  The research on right and left brained dominance is abundant; in fact, it has become quite popular these days.

We know that the left brain thinks in a linear manner while the right is holistic. The left is sequential and the right is random. The left brain processes symbolically while the right is more concrete.  The left is Linguistic and the right is predominantly nonverbal. These are the basic ways of thinking and knowing that I teach my 5th grade students while they are learning how to discover and use their R-Modes in my classroom.

Being an art teacher, I spent years favoring Right Brain thinking, especially since the teaching strategies in most public schools are Left Brain dominant.  However, after reading Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, I walked away with an understanding and appreciation for both sides of the brain.  We can’t solely survive using or nurturing only one half of what’s inside our 8 pound heads!  We’ve got to nurture both sides of the brain and educate not only the whole child but the whole mind.  Now if only we could get our schools to add more fine arts time in the day…

Are you Right Brained or Left Brained?

Take this quiz to find out now!

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Why?

I recently watched a video clip of Simon Sinek, an author and marketing consultant, who states that all organizations and careers function on 3 levels: What you do, How you do it and Why you do it.  He says the problem is that most don’t know that Why exists.

So let’s get to Why!

Why am I writing this blog?

With arts funding cuts and student contact time reduced to almost nothing it is more critical than ever to ensure that the learning happening in the art room is more than just making “pretty pictures”.

We all know the art room should provide experiences in authentic art making, choice based lessons, rich dialogue and reflection as well art history, and exposure to culture.  But as student numbers grow and precious art time diminishes, is this really happening in the classroom?  I will be the first to admit that with 800 students circulating my art room in a week it’s tempting to teach unoriginal “copy me” lessons to make my life easier.  However, we must hold on to what we believe and continue to cultivate creative minds.

The main purpose of my blog is to build an awareness of and give exposure to the creative and critical thinking processes that take place in the art room; 21st century skills.  I am currently working on an action research project to determine the effects of teaching creative problem solving strategies on the achievements and attitudes of elementary art students.  My journey will provide me with research in critical and creative thinking in the arts that I hope to discuss and share with you.