Whole Brain Approach

There is a category here (on the right side of this page) dedicated to how to respond when we get verbally attacked by people about the way we choose to teach languages.
This morning I thought of another good response to those kinds of uncomfortable discussions. We can tell people that ours is a “whole brain approach that aligns with the research”. Then we can just make the following points:
1. The research says that we acquire languages when we focus on the message and not on the vehicle used to deliver it.
2. This focus happens in both hemispheres of the brain but primarily in the spatial hemisphere, the right brain. Language is a series of spatial images and abstract concepts and we process those things in the right brain.
3. Study of the vehicle to deliver the language does not even constitute language learning, but merely learning about this vehicle (words arranged in a certain order). When we teach analysis of the language structures (verbs conjugations, etc.) we only teach to the left brain so that the language cannot be processed. If it can’t be processed it can’t be acquired.
The idea is more simply described by saying that when we use comprehensible input we teach to the side of the brain that actually processes spoken and written language (for meaning).
There is no way we can learn a language when the left brain is the dominant processing vehicle, and the proof is in the failure of the textbook over decades to do anything more than bore children and make many of them feel stupid about a capacity that they actually have, but is not developed by the well-intentioned textbook teachers of the last century.



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