Everyone’s brain is divided into two sides, which are equally important and necessary. The problem is the left side thinks it’s the boss but it’s not.
Think of the left side of your brain as your calculator, computer, calendar and clock. It remembers information, dates, times and places and stores it all efficiently, for easy recall and use. This is the part of the brain that schools are focused on testing and measuring. The problem is, schools think they’re testing all of what we know, but they’re not. They’re only testing the left side of who we are.
The right side is very different in the way it functions. It’s far more interested in our humanity, emotions and relationships. The right side looks for meaning and ways for us to connect, interpret and understand the world and our experiences. The right side is home to creative thinking, dreaming, new ideas and innovation. It can look at a problem and find new ways of considering it. It’s built to find multiple solutions to a problem. The right side of our mind cares about human connection, collaboration, beauty, hope, possibilities.
So, what does it mean? Why does it matter? In Iain McGilchrist’s book, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, there are 522 pages of scientific evidence that say the right brain is designed to lead. And when it doesn’t there are serious consequences. Read the summary here.
Every invention that moved our society forward was first imagined in the right side of someone’s mind. Then the left stepped in and figured out how, when and where to build it. The entire industrial revolution was invention after invention that changed the world. Every song ever written, every symphony, every movie, every work of art, every dance, every cathedral, started as a seed born in the right side of the mind. Even now, every house built, road paved, car designed, innovative technology created, new efficiency discovered, are all born first on the right side.
Do we really want to live in a world without the ability to dream, imagine, create new possibilities? I don’t. And I don’t want my kids, any kids, to grow up with those harsh limitations. There is something seriously wrong with an education system that is not being intentional about developing the right brain capabilities in every student. What is it going to cost us as a society if we continue along this path?
It’s time for a change.
It’s time for a balance in education that reflects a well-balanced mind.