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Keep your Students Artistic Side Engaged During the Pandemic

By Ryan Yeager  |  October 13, 2020

If you’re an artistic person you might have heard a teacher tell you that you’re a right-brain thinker, or if you’ve excelled in math or science you might have heard that you’re a left-brain learner. Our personalities and ways of thinking are said to be associated with the different hemispheres of the brain. Psychobiologist Roger W. Sperry proposed the hemisphere theory in the 1960s, claiming that left-brain thinkers are said to be logical, focusing on facts, and often enjoy mathematics. While right-brain thinkers flourish in creative spaces and often have very active imaginations. 

But in fact, according to a 2-year long study there is no clear evidence that people are left and right brain thinkers, or that the hemispheres of the brain control logic and creativity respectively. However, the theory reminds us that in order to be the best learners we can be, we would all benefit from exercising our brains both logically and artistically. 

As teachers, it’s always good to remember that promoting artistic exploration is healthy for children. Historically, curriculums often focus more on ‘left brain’ concepts, and instruction usually promotes a logical focus when it comes to learning. With online instruction, it’s especially tricky to promote artistic learning. In order to inspire you, we’ve gathered a couple of ideas that you can use to engage the creative side of your students, and some tips on how to promote learning through a combination of both left and right brain thinking.

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Have students draw pictures to aid in learning vocabulary words. Having students engage creatively while learning new vocabulary words is a great way to engage left and right brain thinking. The drawings will reinforce the meaning of the word with a visual component, and allow students to learn the meanings in a new (and fun!) way. 

Bring Attention To Silent Letters and Homophones

the word "phone" with the "ph" circled to emphasize "f" sound

When teaching words that might be complicated due to similar sounds (‘ph’ having the same sound as ‘f’ in words like ‘phone’) draw attention to the complicated letters through color or even a doodle next to it. This technique can help diffuse confusion of a complicated topic before frustrations can take hold. Drawings can also help with homophones, which are words that sound the same but have different meanings, like: there, their, and they’re. English can be a challenging language, and using artistic techniques can help further promote learning! 

Art for Art’s Sake

Be sure to schedule some dedicated art time with your students. With online instruction, it’s even easier to have more left-brain focused lessons, and making sure there is time for art is important to your students’ growth. And while art-only lessons may feel separate to left-brained instruction, using your brain in new ways is a healthy way to promote growth. It can also be beneficial to tell your students the importance of art time and engaging different parts of the brain to help them explore art on their own. 

Bringing art into the learning space through online instruction is a tricky task, but in the end, it can help your learners tackle complicated topics with ease. Do you have a creative right-brain thinking technique that you use with your students? If so we’d love to hear about it! Tag us at @theVIPKidlife on Instagram and let us know what successes you’ve had.

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