Linear thinking LO22872

Vana Prewitt (
Wed, 13 Oct 1999 21:17:57 -0400

Replying to LO22825 --

Steve Eskow wrote:

> You seem to be making a bit of fun of William H. Calvin, whose sense of
> humor invites the conclusion that he is some offbeat character.Actually he
> is a quite respectable mainstream neurobiologist at The University of
> Washington.

I selected one of Wm. Calvin's writings as a sample, and yes...selected
one that did not necessarily reflect a topical relation to the subject of
linear thinking. I know nothing of his background or ideas, and what
appeared on the website was very diverse. This is not a judgment; only an

> What he and other serious investigators are trying to do in this matter of
> brain geography is to counteract the widespread belief that somehow brain
> localization phenomena have implications for education and learning
> generally.

I would wonder then, how would Calvin's thinking change the way educators
try to adapt teaching methods? The purpose of understanding learning
style preferences and differences is to be more flexible and meet the
learner's needs. The focus is on how the educator helps the learner
achieve the goals, and in accepting that not all people will travel the
same path to reach that destination.

Does it really matter which science is "right" if the response to the
learner is effective?

> He is saying, and I think his now the predominant view of serious
> researchers today reviewing the evidence on brain lateralization on the
> evidence for one sided dominance and the educability of that side, or the
> other that there is little or nothing to do it, and it seriously
> confuses practitioners.

If right brain - left brain theories were all that educators were equipped
with when providing education or coaching, I would be alarmed.
Fortunately, many theories and models coalesce to help educators better
understand how to be effective in their craft. And because people are not
at all predictable, we generally need all those combinations at one time
or another. I know of no educator who attempts to "exercise" one side of
the brain or another, although they certainly try to develop varied skill
sets that span traditional right brain - left brain categories.

kind regards,

Vana Prewitt
Praxis Learning Systems
Chapel Hill, NC


Vana Prewitt <>

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