Of all the aspects that children need to develop, intellectual development is the one that we most probably concentrate on the most. So, for instance, we send our children to pre-school to ensure that they are ready when school starts.

When I was at school, what we learned was largely knowledge based. Today we find ourselves in the midst of the “information age”, where any information is at our fingertips.

What we as parents need to do is to teach our children to interpret information, make comparisons, and arrive at new understandable insights. We cannot hope to teach our children information only. We must teach them to find the information, and use the information in a responsible fashion. We must expose them to learning methods that can develop their brains and memory capacity.

The Brain

The brain is divided into two hemispheres that are associated with particular thinking and memory styles. The two hemispheres are linked by over 200 nerve fibres (known as the corpus callosum) and each hemisphere is skilled in the mental capacities of the other. There is a crossover effect: each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body. The body is designed to help the two hemispheres to work together. When learning, it is best to have both hemispheres involved in the process so that optimal learning can take place. The following characteristics apply to the hemispheres:

(http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/08/01/health/adam/8753Corpuscallosumofthebrain.html )

The left brain controls the right side of the body as well as language and sound. The left brain likes to analyse, place things in order, make deductions and break up complex pieces of information into smaller pieces. This brain concentrates on detail. It has the following characteristics: logical, mathematical, analytical, linguistic (words and language), linear, and reasoning.

 The right brain controls the left side of the body and is responsible for spatial orientation, music and visualising. The right brain sees information more holistically and concentrates on the bigger picture. The following characteristics apply to the right hemisphere of the brain: intuitive, creative, artistic, emotional, visual, playful, imaginative, and spontaneous.

(http://www.wired.com/wired/images.html?issue=13.02&topic=brain&img=1 )

Think about building a puzzle: You keep in view the picture of the puzzle. You sort the pieces on the basis of similarity. You start building the puzzle by selecting a piece. You look at where it fits into the picture of the puzzle. You continuously move between the detail (puzzle pieces) and the big picture (puzzle picture) and back to the detail again as you continue to build. You need both sides of the brain to build a puzzle.

The same applies to learning. The brain needs to connect the …

Memory

We forget because we do not store the information in the brain properly. As we grow the branches on the neurons of the brain, we are actually building a memory. We have two types of memory banks:

Short-term memory: this is where our memories are built.

Long-term memory: this is where our memories are stored.

To build good memory, we have to understand the information with which we are trying to build the memory. If you understand the work, you will build a good memory.

 No two people on the planet have the same combination. This is quite incredible because it means that every one of us thinks differently, and this will affect the way in which we learn. Each of the intelligences is found in both sides of the brain. However, only one, two or three intelligences will be more developed than the other five. We call these our dominant intelligences, and they are determined by our personalities and genetic profiles. This does not mean that because we have one or two dominant intelligences, we do not have the others. It only means that the other intelligences are underdeveloped.

To illustrate this idea more simply, consider the following two stories:

Think of a Persian carpet. ….

When Rabbit went to school, he was …

Whole-Brain Learning