Not to be confused with “Whole Brain Teaching” or “Whole Brain Literacy”, the Whole Brain Learning Approach is rarely used by preschools in Singapore and is often used in combination with other more popular approaches. This approach often comes in the form of short training sessions conducted by enrichment centres. In this article, we will be exploring on how the Whole Brain Learning approach came about, its view towards childhood education, what are the key features of a Whole Brain Learning classroom and what it means for parents.

A Brief History

The approach came into being due to research by Dr. Roger W. Sperry in the 1960s on the left-brain right-brain divide, where it was discovered that left brain thinking is verbal and analytical, while right brain is non-verbal and intuitive. In addition, it was also discovered that both side of the brain do not function independently, but work together frequently to solve complex problems. This led to the thinking that by training (from a young age) the right-brain, along with the left-brain, a child will be able to fully develop his/her learning capacity. Dr. Sperry received a Nobel Prize for his discovery in 1981.

The Whole Brain Learning Perspective

The Whole Brain Learning approach emphasizes equal focus on both sides of the brain. This is contrary to the traditional classroom curriculum, where the focus is solely on the left-brain (e.g. mathematics, language, analytical, facts). There is also an assumption that the brain is the most active (and hence optimal for learning) between newborn – 16 years old, which is why the Whole Brain Learning approach should be introduced at a young age.

The Whole Brain Learning Classroom

The primary focus of pre-schools and enrichment centres will be to exercise the right-brain, and as such, incorporates activities are aimed at training the right-brain. This can include activities like:

  • Art & drawings
  • Music and movements
  • Listening skills training
  • Eyes movement accuracy and speed training

However, there is no single standard set by any regulating body. Hence parents may find a myriad of pre-schools/enrichment centres offering the same approach in a very different way.

How Does This Benefit My Child?

Research done by the enrichment centres themselves claimed that children who attended their courses experienced improvement in examination results, writing speed and control, as well as other performance indicators. But experts in the field are sceptical about the benefits of Whole Brain Learning, citing a lack of scientific evidences and incompatibility between the theory and practice.

We hope that the article will be able to help you understand a little bit more about the Whole Brain Learning approach and the benefits it brings to your child.


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