Brain Research

What do you know about brain research? Join this discussion where we hope to keep up with the latest information on brain development.

Members: 95
Latest Activity: Nov 6, 2014

Discussion Forum

Learning Styles and the Brain

Started by Bob Zenhausern. Last reply by Lyndise Tarbuck Mar 25, 2013. 26 Replies

Teaching students how their brain works

Started by Michelle Sumner. Last reply by Bob Zenhausern May 29, 2010. 2 Replies

Invitation to an hour with Dan Pink

Started by suehellman Feb 5, 2010. 0 Replies

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Comment by Danette Grossnickle on July 22, 2010 at 2:58pm
I am interested in knowing more about the school you teach at. What infomation could you share? What special training was required on your part to work at this school? I am interested because I am the mother of a dyslexic child.
Comment by Bob Zenhausern on July 22, 2010 at 10:15am
My question was not directed at the Dyslexia label, but the behaviors and deficits these children show. Those behaviors are what you have to deal with and I may have some ideas to share.
Comment by Vickie Montoya on July 21, 2010 at 3:21pm
Bob, the students are already identified as dyslexic through our district or Scottish Rite Hospital or somewhere before they are enrolled in my class - specifically designed just for dyslexic students.
Comment by Bob Zenhausern on July 21, 2010 at 6:58am
Vickie, the word dyslexia is a label that is often used because we do not know what the problem is. I am more interested in behaviors. Can you speak about the symptoms these children show? That is, why was the label used for the students.
Comment by Vickie Montoya on July 20, 2010 at 10:08pm
I teach students who have dyslexia and there has been a lot of new brain research regarding dyslexia. They even can do a FMRI and see the parts of the brain that are effected while reading. Amazing. I suggest Dr. Sally Shaywitz book called Overcoming Dyslexia.
Comment by Bob Zenhausern on July 19, 2010 at 9:52am
Cannot do is strong, but things can be difficult. Some students would do well with pillows on the floor rather than desks. The teacher has to be willing to let a student use an ipod when studying. Some students are morning learners and others are afternoon. Unless the school is willing to match morning teachers and morning students, that is a cannot do. Other students prefer to learn while sitting at a desk, but others want to be moving around. That can be disruptive. A major problem is the "monkey see, monkey do" phenomenon.

Tell me about your son and the "many" learning disabilities he has. You can send the info to my email -- You may also be interested in the Enabling Support Foundation, a non-profit staffed with former teachers who embrace diversity and are strong advocates of learning styles.
Comment by Laura Main on July 19, 2010 at 9:17am
I am interested and will read it. The book I mentioned goes into some of what you are mentioning as well. I believe Karen both worked with and studied under Rita. She worked on some of the learning styles inventory as well as published on the topic. I am taking (another) class with her next week. The last one was on learning styles, which is where I learned about the Dunn & Dunn model.

Also, I am not one to think that things "cannot" be done in the classroom. If a student needs it, why not? (Esp when it comes to learning styles).

I am interested in your work on learning disabilities as well. One of my sons has many of these (though not reading or math). It does affect writing though.
Comment by Bob Zenhausern on July 19, 2010 at 7:53am
It would be great if you could get both teacher and parents aware of the needs of the child. Many of the things you cannot do in the classroom can be done at home. So the test could be very useful in cases like that. How many times have you heard parents say, "Sit up straight! How can you study slouched down like that?" or "Turn off that music and study". Maybe that is the best way for some students and parents need to learn that.

As to left and right hemisphere and education, solid neuropsychological facts were so overused they became a fad and the that extreme was rightfully called pseudoscience. One of the most popular books of that era was, "Drawing with the Right Side of Your Brain" It actually suggested exercises that were effective, but it was misnamed. Consider that 90% of the people are right handed and the right hand is controlled by the left hemisphere. A better title might be using right hemisphere strategies in drawing.

Back at the height of the fad, the mantra was "Education was too left hemisphere oriented". The solution was to add visuals and encourage "non-linear thinking". But extremists turned what could have been important into a fad.

I still say education is too left hemisphere oriented, but in a very precise way. The most important feature of the left hemisphere is that the speech center is located in the left hemisphere for the great majority of people. Think about the way we teach and evaluate. We use verbal repetition as a learning tool, but I have published research that shows that verbal repetition interferes with learning of right hemisphere oriented children. Reading out loud is one way we evaluate reading, but 85% of the children we label as reading disabled children are right hemisphere oriented. You can see my thinking in my blogs on this site.

I taught in the Psych Dept when Rita was in Education. I was the design specialist on 10 or more of her student dissertations. Google Dunn Zenhausern and you can see some of the published papers. But I did not know Karen Burke. Was she a student of Rita or another flavor of learning style?
Comment by Laura Main on July 19, 2010 at 7:45am
Bob- My comment stems from 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior (Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S.J., Ruscio, J., & Beyerstein, B.L., 2010). The first chapter deals with 5 myths about "Brain Power." The second "myth" is "Some people are left-brained; others are right-brained." I will try to synthesize it here, but I highly recommend the book.

There is good evidence that the two hemispheres differ in function. Sperry (1981) wrote that the left and right brain hemispheres are relatively better. The key word is RELATIVELY. This is important for those who have brain injuries. Mercer (2010) suggests this is important because the two hemispheres routinely communicate during most tasks. Geake (2008) states that "on balance," the hemispheres are more similar than they are different in their functions. Current research on hemispheric differences focuses on how the brain works in an integrated manner (Corballis, 2007; Gazzaniga, 1998; McCrone, 1999).

Again, highly recommend the book. I am in the midst of it. Facinating with a research-base.
Comment by Laura Main on July 19, 2010 at 6:51am
Yes, though it can be helpful when trying to figure out a student or two. I often share the site with parents as well when "homework battles" come up in discussion.
I will find the book where I was reading about left/right brain. I will quote it for you to explain that comment.
Did you work with Karen Burke as well?

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