Sunday, July 11, 2010

one sidedness

The image above at left is from Otto Salomon's Theory of Educational Sloyd, and if you print out the image and then fold it at the center-line running between back and chest, you see that human beings tend to be asymmetrical. The brain, too, is asymmetrical, with each side being engaged differently in processing information. They are measurably asymmetrical, in shape, mass and volume. Early Manual arts advocates suggested that children became "one-sided" when their brains were engaged without corresponding physical engagement in making and manipulating objects. At one time, Otto Salomon experimented by asking students to use both hands equally in educational sloyd, but the idea was later abandoned when he realized that the tendency toward either left or right handedness, was too strong an impulse to change.

And yet, because the left and right hands function in direct response to impulses from the right and left sides of the brain, the use of hands in learning does engage both hemispheres, and the purposeful engagement of the hands can bring both sides of the brain into play.

This week at ESSA, school director Peggy Kjelgaard, Ph.D. and I will be teaching a class on the Brain, Hands and the Arts. I will have much more to share during the course of the week.

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