Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind


From: golden3000997
Date: Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:15 am
Subject: Linda Verlee Williams - Teaching for the Two Sided Mind

In a message dated 3/9/2004 11:25:32 PM Eastern Standard Time, momof2gals writes:

Subj: Re: the 9th year stuff
Date: 3/9/2004 11:25:32 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: momof2gals (Lisa D. Ercolano)
To: [email protected]

Tell us more about Linda Verlee Williams and why I should consider her an authority on the brain and learning, Christine. A quick Internet search tells me only that her book is out of print, albeit available, and that she also wrote a book about papier mache.


1. She did not write a book about papier mache. Her book "Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind" is listed as a resource material on a website that is about working with papier mache and papier mache in the classroom.


2. While I don't find a biography or curriculum vitae on the "web", I have found a number articles and websites in which her book "Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind" is referenced or quoted. And I am not counting book-seller websites where her book is simply listed for sale. The short blurb on the back of the book reads as follows:

"Linda Verlee Williams has taught school at every level from preschool to college. She has trained teachers at the University of California at Berkeley, for the Ministry of Education in Ethiopia, and in many school districts. She is an instructor at University Extension, the University of California and is an associate of The Learning Circle in Berkeley."

Touchstone Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, NY 1986

3. I bought my new copy of the book directly off the shelves at Barnes & Nobles a couple of months ago. I was specifically looking under "Educational Psychology."

4. While highly readable, the book is obviously a research project with an eleven page Bibliography at the end and 12 - 15 footnotes at the end of each chapter. While it reads like a handbook on Waldorf Education, there are no books or references cited by Rudolf Steiner or other Waldorf Educators. There is only one direct reference to Waldorf Education that I have found and it is a remark by the author, not a direct quote of an outside source:

Pages 106 - 107

"Projects involving expressive drawings, constructions, or collages are within every teacher's capability. However, they can provide even richer experience if children also receive instruction in art. One need only compare the quality of the pictures made by children from Waldorf schools, where art is an important part of the curriculum, with pictures from public schools to realize how much children miss by the exclusion of art instruction. The children in Waldorf schools learn the basic skills of using different materials to produce highly original and beautiful works of art; they are able to use these skills in every academic subject. Their diagrams of biological systems and their illustrations of history or writing assignments have an elegance that is astonishing to teachers unfamiliar with Waldorf techniques. All children have the capacity to produce this beauty; when we fail to give them instruction and materials, we deny them an important area of experience which could produce greater involvement in all subjects and bolster their self-esteem."


From: golden3000997
Date: Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:16 am
Subject: Teaching for the Two Sided Mind - Reference 1

What do we want our schools to do?

Phi Delta Kappan; 2/1/1994; Oddleifson, Eric

The arts -- when taught during (not after) the school day, when offered to all students (not just to the talented),and when presented as serious subjects with high standards -- are producing young people who are indeed "educated," Mr. Oddleifson asserts.

WHAT DOES our society want for our children? That they be able to use their minds well and that they respect and value the opinions of others? We could agree perhaps on these two educational outcomes.

In his article in this special section, Craig Sautter speaks of different kinds of curricula in schools. The standard, subject-matter-driven curriculum is the one we mostly think about. There are a couple of others. The first is the so-called metacurriculum, whose aim is the development of "higher-order" or "critical and creative" thinking skills -- in other words, the ability to use one's mind well.

The other is the "hidden" curriculum, which has to do both with students' motivation to learn and with their interactions with peers and adults. This "hidden" curriculum is more closely related to the real concerns of those inside schools, as we read in Voices from Inside, a report based on interviews with teachers, students, principals, and parents conducted by the Claremont (California) University Center and Graduate School.

Could it be that most of our schools are directing their efforts toward objectives that are less relevant than they once were? Are we focusing on the wrong things in thinking about education? Do we need to rethink the whole purpose of education? Should we find out just what Americans want their schools to do? We need to talk about these issues as a nation.

All of us -- professional educators and members of the general public alike -- are at once expert and amateur about educational matters. Since we have all been subjected to schooling, we all have opinions as to where education ought to be heading. Educators, who should know the most of all, are now being challenged by findings from other professional fields of inquiry.

If the public is footing the bill for public school education, it has the right to insist that educational services be delivered in an efficient and professional manner. In order for this to happen, we clearly need an approach to school improvement that is not only coherent but workable -- and at a cost that America is willing to bear.

Let me suggest an idea -- a coherent approach -- for your consideration. Three years ago I found something that actually worked, and I have been investigating the reasons why ever since. On the surface it has nothing to do with "education" as we have come to understand it. Most of us believe that education is primarily absorbing facts -- building a knowledge base to become "educated." What I found was that the arts -- when taught during (not after) the school day, when offered to all students (not just to the talented), and when presented as serious subjects with high standards -- are producing young people who are indeed "educated."

Not only do the arts enable students to achieve academically at rates far beyond what might be expected of them (in subjects such as math and science), but other marvelous things happen as well. Students who study the arts respect their peers and treat them well. They become motivated to learn. They enjoy coming to school, working hard, and succeeding. Through the arts, the whole school "ecology" changes. High standards become the norm in all subjects. Relationships between students and teachers improve. Each curriculum -- the regular, the meta-, and the hidden -- is addressed in arts-integrated schools.

Ron Berger, a sixth-grade teacher in western Massachusetts, has this to say about his results with students:

The infusion of arts has had a profound effect on student understanding, investment, and standards. As a whole, students not only do well on standardized testing measures, but importantly and demonstrably do well in real-life measures of learning. They are capable and confident readers, writers, and users of math; they are strong thinkers and workers; they treat others well.

Ron Berger's school and other arts-integrated schools around the country provide models of institutions that have achieved dramatic results by using all the arts as powerful systems for delivering learning and as effective agents for change. A coherent vision for schooling in the 21st century is embodied in these schools.

I find it particularly puzzling that many professional educators -- who should know what they are doing -- have slighted the arts. Yet research conducted by the Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum (CABC) points to the conclusion that arts-integrated schools are the most promising way to improve American education.

I ask those who are skeptical to consider first the principles that are driving education today. They include the idea that students have fixed amounts of intelligence -- various-sized "buckets," if you will. Educators will say that they can tell, early on, the size of students' buckets and will put each into the appropriate track for his or her bucket's size. And educators believe that their primary job is then to fill each bucket with facts -- with knowledge.

But during the last 20 years, cognitive psychologists studying how people really do learn have established that children do not absorb knowledge passively -- they construct it actively. And with that process they are able to make their buckets larger. This process of constructing knowledge has been described by David Perkins of Harvard University as building and revising "relational webs."[1]

As knowledge is constructed, it must be made meaningful. Meaning arises from the marriage of concepts -- born from the active use of our perceptive abilities -- with an analytic framework, which gives them structure.

Most educators believe that meaning can be arrived at merely through analysis and reason. These beliefs find their origin in the works of Plato, who considered the senses illusory and confined them to a cave. Equipping students with the structure, or framework, is enough, in these educators' minds. Talking at students, they feel, should do the job.

Neurologists, physicists, and cognitive psychologists are discovering this to be a false notion. Meaning, they believe, can be arrived at only by combining the intellect with the senses. Backing up the idea that the intellect and the senses must work together as coequal partners to construct meaning is Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner maintains we have at least seven intelligences, rather than simply the two to which schools cater (the verbal and the logical/mathematical intelligences). Gardner suggests that people exhibit intelligence in several other ways. These include the visual/spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences.

WHAT DOES all this have to do with the arts? Those who work with Gardner in Harvard's Project Zero, a group that has been thinking about this subject for 20 years, now say emphatically that the arts represent these other intelligences -- they are cognitive domains that are as important as the domains we have traditionally emphasized.

In light of these discoveries, I suggest that the fundamental assumptions on which the educational enterprise rests are flawed and must be reexamined. I am not implying that educators aren't doing their job. They are simply doing what the public has asked them to do. The practical problems of teaching young people in today's schools are enormous. We all have great respect for those willing to put up with what can be intolerable working conditions. However, new understandings about intelligence and about how children learn should be applied to teaching practices and curriculum, which in turn must be aligned with what we, as a people, have agreed are the purposes of education.

Art educators are also laboring under intolerable conditions, not the least of which is the general attitude that what they teach is irrelevant. However, to a certain extent they are victims of their own attitudes. Many art educators are really interested only in finding that special youngster who will turn out to be a talented artist. They do not believe, or even want to believe, that the arts are cognitive domains, because that would make the arts accessible to everyone. The arts would then no longer be the special province of the talented. Art educators want to remain "special." Since most other educators see little worth in the specialty of art educators, they are doomed to push their shopping carts laden with materials from class to class, while the "real" educators take breaks or get together in planning sessions. We have in many art educators the educational equivalent of the homeless, even when they are lucky enough to find a job.

While general educators operate with old and misguided assumptions about mind, knowledge, and intelligence, art educators pursue the talented and leave the rest struggling. Yet, if we are imbued with multiple intelligences -- if the arts are indeed cognitive domains -- then we are all artists in one form or another and to a greater or lesser extent. Maybe we cannot sing or dance well, but we can write imaginatively, or draw, or act. As I mentioned earlier, these arts-related intelligences are the source of concepts, and concepts are essential for the construction of meaning. Since the arts represent organized forms of perception, we conclude that higher levels of abstract thought -- i.e., critical and creative thinking capabilities -- are dependent to a significant extent on artistic thinking. Thus the metacurriculum of our schools can be addressed most effectively through the arts.

Edward de Bono believes that these higher-order, perceptive skills are vastly more important to success in life than are the rational skills of logical reasoning.

We need to move from our exclusive concern with the logic of processing, or reason, to the logic of perception. Perception is the basis of wisdom. For twenty-four centuries we have put all our intellectual effort into the logic of reason rather than the logic of perception. Yet in the conduct of human affairs perception is far more important. Why have we made this mistake? We might have believed that perception did not really matter and could in the end be controlled by logic and reason. We did not like the vagueness, subjectivity and variability of perception and sought refuge in the solid absolutes of truth and logic. To some extent the Greeks created logic to make sense of perception. We were content to leave perception to the world of art (drama, poetry, painting, music, dance) while reason got on with its own business in science, mathematics, economics and government. We have never understood perception. Perceptual truth is different from constructed truth.[2]

One physicist, Morton Tavel of Vassar College, believes that the future of the sciences is dependent on the arts.[3] This notion appears to be yet another untenable idea, attributing to the arts powers that most people cannot accept. After all, are not the sciences in the business of collecting scientific "facts" about how the world operates? Not according to Albert Einstein. He suggested that the very purpose of the sciences is to understand the senses. He said,

"The aim of science is the conceptual comprehension and connection, as complete as possible, of the sense experiences in their full diversity."[4]

The aim of the arts is similar. The sciences and the arts are both investigations into the nature of reality. Artists and scientists share the desire to investigate and express the ways interlocking pieces of reality fit together. They simply use different symbol systems and different ways of verifying their conclusions.

Aesthetic awareness is as necessary to science as it is to the arts. Aesthetic understanding is reached by connecting the intellect with the senses -- which is precisely Einstein's definition of the aim of science. According to Morton Tavel,

"An apple falling is not simply an event. It is the exhibition of a unity which, to the discoverer, is a profoundly emotional, exciting and even beautiful event."[5]

Leonard Shlain, author of Art & Physics, suggests that "mind (intellect) and universe (senses) may be simply aspects of a binary system and that art and physics should be seen as two pincers of a claw grasping reality. The arts, being organized perceptions, are primary sources of material with which to engage in scientific thinking. Shlain suggests that artists are the first to conceptualize, through their art, important understandings or generalizations about the world that scientists only later translate into language. He proposes that "the radical innovations of art embody the preverbal stages of new concepts that will eventually change a civilization."[6] Moreover, the arts provide connections that allow lateral leaps between cognitive domains, which can produce sudden scientific insight.

Could it be that our schools at present allow children to play with only half a deck? In denying the arts to our children, do we deny them access to organized (as opposed to chaotic) forms of reality -- since our perception of reality is a combination of the intellect and the senses? Is it possible that the failure of our schools can be attributed to a significant degree to the dismissal of the arts from the curriculum?

Those of us at CABC think so. We believe that we need to regain a balance between the rational mind and the perceptive mind. We need to integrate head, heart, and hand. At the moment, we concentrate on the head -- "the basics" -- and our efforts aren't working. We suggest a new paradigm for education in America: arts-integrated education, or education in and through the arts.

At the moment educators are interested in the arts to promote their own agenda, which is to teach traditional subjects (math, science, history, geography, and so on). Forward-thinking educators want to "use" the arts to integrate the "real" curriculum. That sends a signal to art educators -- and to children as well -- that the arts are important not for their own sakes, but only to augment the "truly important" school curriculum.

ART EDUCATORS quite understandably cry "foul" and claim the high ground of "art for art's sake." While on the surface a meaningless slogan, when the phrase is "unpacked" (to use a good education buzz word), it becomes very meaningful, indeed. However, art educators have difficulty claiming the high ground because of their historical focus on the talented and their unwillingness to consider the arts as cognitive domains. At the moment no one is listening.

The U.S. Department of Education isn't listening. Less than .1% of its $30 billion budget is devoted to arts education. The City of New York isn't listening. Recently the last music teacher, in a system with an annual budget of $7 billion, was fired. The cry of "art for art's sake" is the sound of one hand clapping.

And yet it is through production and performance in the arts, using the different symbol systems that the arts give us (e.g., the musical note, the lines of a drawing, the movement of the dance), that children pursue "perceptive reality" -- a reality different from "constructed" reality. To many -- if not most -- children, this reality is more real than "school-based" reality, which focuses only on words, reason, logic, and analysis. This is what Linda Williams, author of Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind, says:

Children come to school as integrated people with thoughts and feelings, words and pictures, ideas and fantasies. They are intensely curious about the world. They are scientists, artists, musicians, historians, dancers and runners, tellers of stories, and mathematicians. The challenge we face as teachers is to use the wealth they bring us. They come with a two-sided mind. We must encourage them to use it, to develop both types of thinking so that they have access to the fullest possible range of mental abilities.[7]

While we believe that all children should be educated in the arts, taught as cognitive domains or forms of understanding, there is power in education through the arts as well. The argument is that, if a student cannot comprehend traditional academic subjects verbally or linguistically, that student can understand them visually, musically, or even kinesthetically. So, an integrated project-based curriculum is called for, with the arts becoming the connecting threads between academic subjects.

Another benefit of education both in and through the arts is the use of the arts in exhibiting knowledge. Educators promoting this idea (in particular Theodore Sizer and the Coalition of Essential Schools) suggest that, to fulfil a graduation requirement for high school, a student could exhibit knowledge of emotions (for example) through dance, music, the visual arts, theater, or poetry. This experience becomes both powerful and interesting for students.

CABC'S work is based on the following three principles developed by Project Zero:

* The arts are cognitive domains that trigger multiple forms of learning. They engage students in long-term, open-ended projects that integrate production of original works with perception of the work of others.

* Effective arts education, using such open-ended projects, is an important model for all educators. It involves a process of critique of and reflection on one's own work, and it naturally produces exhibitions, portfolios, and performances that are more meaningful than other, more traditional forms of assessment.

* Arts education holds promise for community development by enhancing cultural and civic pride, fostering intercultural understanding, and giving professionals in the community opportunities to mentor public school students.

We suggest that an arts-integrated school should have the following characteristics:

* In recognizing diverse learning styles, students' multiple intelligences, and the need to integrate head, heart, and hand, an arts-integrated school embraces education both in and through the arts. Its goal is both to awaken a "craving to comprehend" in all children and to provide the means through which students are able to use their minds well.

* It is a school in which teachers, administrators, parents, and students value the arts for their own sakes -- as forms of cognition -- as well as for their ability to illuminate academic subjects and to provide ways to exhibit understanding.

* A meaningful part of the school day is devoted to teaching the arts to all children as basic disciplines with high standards (achievement-based arts). In this manner the arts form the core of a school-wide culture of high standards.

* An arts-integrated school teaches curricular material around themes or units in which the arts illuminate other subjects. It allows time for art educators and general classroom teachers to work together to develop and teach an arts-integrated curriculum.

* An arts-integrated school supports the use of exhibitions that draw on various art forms to demonstrate knowledge.

CABC views the arts as an entire system of education. When the arts and the liberal arts are treated as equal partners in the educational enterprise, they are synergistic -- they result in "high-yield" education. Stephanie Perrin, headmistress of Walnut Hill School in Natick, Massachusetts, makes the following observation:

The aims of both systems of education in an arts-integrated school are to produce young people who, in addition to being knowledgeable and well-trained in the specifics of both the arts and the liberal arts, are also able to think critically; to make judgments; to be self-aware both in terms of their feelings and their ethical and moral stance; to be aware of others and able to work with them; to gather and assess information; to have a sense of agency and control in the world; and to be able to generalize and adapt a variety of skills and attitudes to meet whatever challenges life presents. The aims are simply to be able to keep on learning. These higher-order skills and attitudes can be developed in either of the systems. They can be taught through the study of music or the study of biology. It is at this level of functioning that the systems can be said to share an outcome: the creation of the educated young person.[8]

We call for a national inquiry into the notion of arts-integrated education -- education in and through the arts. Such an inquiry might prevent a prediction that was made in The Economist from coming true. In a recent article, this highly respected British weekly magazine with a broad world view suggests that the 21st century may turn out to be a disaster. The reason: the failure of world democracies to realize that the "Age of Reason," with its belief that through reason alone human beings can understand and master every aspect of their lives, is coming to an end. In the scenario presented by The Economist, this failure of understanding leads America to back away from its role of world leadership, resulting in the disintegration of pluralistic alliances and the rise of dictatorships.

Viewing world history as if looking back from the year 2992, The Economist indicates that, in the 1990s,

"a new balance was needed between the analytic part of the human mind and the instinctive part, between rationality and feeling; only then could man address the world more steadily. Because they did not tackle this problem in time, the democracies marched straight from the climax of their 20th Century victory over totalitarianism towards disaster."[9]

Peter Drucker, our country's most respected management guru, argues the same point. He believes that humankind is in the midst of a transformation in which the organizing principle of life is evolving from analysis (or rational thought) to perception. Information-based societies are organized around meaning, and meaning requires at its heart common perception. Drucker suggests that

"the world's new realities are configurations and as such call for perception as much as for analysis: the dynamic disequilibrium of the new pluralisms, for instance; the multi-tiered transnational economy and the transnational ecology; the new archetype of the |educated person' that is so badly needed."[10]

We believe that if arts-intergrated schooling became a national norm, it could positively affect management practices and improve our nation's productivity. Indeed, it has been argued recently that the Japanese insistence on aesthetics has much to do with that country's economic success.

Henry Mintzberg indicates that

"the important policy-level processes required to manage an organization rely to a considerable extent on the faculties identified with the brain's right hemisphere."[11]

These faculties are not the verbal, logical/mathematical, and analytical capacities so often sought in business managers but are the more intuitive, holistic, imaginative, and conceptual capacities that are developed through training in the arts. Mintzberg observes that a great deal of a manager's inputs are soft and speculative -- they include impressions and feelings about other people. These inputs are based on perceptions. He also suggests that analytical inputs (reports, hard data) seem to be of relatively little interest to managers.

Charles Hampden-Turner observes that U.S. corporate culture is overwhelmingly left-brained (rational, analytic) and reflects a general national disposition.[12] In our culture we consistently stress analysis and the separation and isolation of elements from one another. We think in parts, rather than wholes. But the creation of wealth in today's world requires thinking in wholes. Our era now requires holistic processes and synergistic capabilities. Good managers synthesize rather than analyze information.

Ellen Harris, the associate provost for the arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a CABC board member, recently wrote,

"The arts have helped prepare MIT students in business. An alumnus at a large New York accounting firm recently stated at an MIT alumni meeting that his firm interviews about forty MIT students every year. Of the ten they recently hired, four presented minors in the arts. The latter fact so significantly set these candidates apart from the others in terms of creative thinking, flexibility and presentation that the firm is now using the arts minor as a screening criterion."[13]

A useful part of the national dialogue on the purpose of schools generally and on the notion and effectiveness of arts-integrated schools would be a consideration of how schools can "retool" themselves to meet the requirements of the new paradigm. Such a transformation will necessitate simultaneous attention to curricular, instructional, and organizational issues within each district.

CABC's approach is based on the premise that the transformation of America's schools must come from within. Every school has a distinct culture, and organizational change within schools begins with the acknowledgment that a school's culture has the power to promote or inhibit intellectual and organizational growth. CABC's interest is in how to foster, nurture, and design cultures that make for healthy workplaces for adults. Such a school culture would encourage collegiality among teachers, the use of the knowledge base of education, the processes of critical and creative thinking, mutual respect between teachers and students, and the involvement of teachers in decision making.

Our national dialogue must include a deep examination not only of the notion of arts-integrated education but also -- if we decide as a people that we want it -- of how we bring it about. The course of events and the fate of our country in the 21st century may well depend on it.

[1.] David N. Perkins, "Art as Understanding," Journal of Aesthetic Education, Spring 1988, p. 114.

[2.] Edward de Bono, I Am Right -- You Are Wrong: From Rock Logic to Water Logic (New York: Viking/Penguin, 1991), p. 42.

[3.] Morton Tavel, private conversation with author, 1993.

[4.] Quoted in Dwight L. Allison, The Rise of Consciousness (Boynton Beach, Fla.: Dwight L. Allison, 1992), p. 25. Italics added.

[5.] Tavel, private conversation.

[6.] Leonard Shlain, Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light (New York: William Morrow, 1991), p. 17.

[7.] Linda Verlee Williams, Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind A Guide to Right Brain/Left Brain Education (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983), p. 189-90.

[8.] Stephanie Perrin, "The Aims of Education at Walnut Hill: The Art of Learning," working paper for the Klingenstein Fellowship, January 1991.

[9.] "Looking Back from 2992 -- A World History, Chapter 13: The Disastrous 21st Century," The Economist, 26 December 1992-8 January 1993, p. 19.

[10.] Peter F. Drucker, The New Realities (New York: Harper & Row, 1989), p. 264.

[11.] Henry Mintzberg, Mintzberg on Management: Inside Our Strange World of Organizations (New York: Free Press, 1989), p. 53.

[12.] Charles Hampden-Turner, Creating Corporate Culture: From Discord to Harmony (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1990).

[13.] Ellen T. Hanis, "Why Study the Arts -- Along with Math and Science?," Aspen Institute Quarterly, Winter 1992, p. 100.

COPYRIGHT 1994 Phi Delta Kappa, Inc.

HighBeam™ Research, LLC. © Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.


From: golden3000997
Date: Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:22 am
Subject: Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind - Reference 2

Using multimedia resources in teaching the Bible.

Interpretation; 10/1/2002; Dalton, Russell W.

We live and work in a world saturated with digital media and populated with people who learn in a variety of ways. The multisensory and non-linear capabilities of multimedia can help educators achieve a variety of goals in teaching the Bible in seminary classrooms and in the church.

Multimedia, in its most basic sense, refers to the simultaneous presentation of sights and sounds through a variety of media. In recent years, the term has most commonly been used to refer to digital media (e.g., CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, Internet websites, and computer-based programs like PowerPoint) that combine video, audio, and graphics into one presentation program. Rather than trying to review the wide variety of multimedia resources available, this essay will focus on two quite different projects that may serve as case studies to raise several philosophical and methodological issues related to the use of multimedia in teaching the Bible.

Each project draws on the multisensory and non-linear strengths of multimedia to accomplish its educational objects, but one project (developed at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio) was designed for classroom use in theological education, while the other (the American Bible Society's New Media Bible) was intended primarily for the religious education of teenagers. Whereas the UTS project is concerned with the development of the learner's interpretive skills, the ABS project attempts to "translate" particular biblical texts into an audiovisual language. Each project pays attention to both cognitive and affective dimensions of instruction. The UTS project, however, emphasizes the use of multimedia resources to facilitate cognitive learning, while the ABS project provides resources that are especially suitable for affective learning.


Students come to seminary from a wide variety of backgrounds, with differing levels of ability to absorb and process the information required for critical theological reflection on biblical texts. They also come well-supplied with various preconceived notions about the Bible. One of the teacher's essential tasks is to help students think critically about biblical texts. (1) Of course, the mere communication of information neither guarantees understanding nor motivates the learner to act upon information received. So the teacher not only communicates information but also creates the right amount of disequilibrium in students' minds to help them "get some distance from their own values and beliefs." (2) To accomplish these tasks, a traditional seminary education relies

heavily on the verbal and analytical presentation and processing of information through reading, lecture, and discussion. But experience in the classroom leads many to believe that these traditional ways of teaching leave a significant number of students unaware (Or doubting the importance) of the contributions that historical-cultural background material can make to their understanding of the biblical texts.

Broadcasting and receiving on more than one channel. For years, educational psychologists have told us that there are enormous differences in how people acquire, process, and represent knowledge. Howard Gardner talks about "multiple intelligences" and argues that "[w]e are not all the same; we do not all have the same kinds of minds...; and education works most effectively if these differences are taken into account rather than ignored or denied." (3) In Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind, Linda Verlee Williams says, "The learner is like a television set which can receive information on several channels. Usually, one channel comes in more clearly and more strongly than the others." (4)

Williams's metaphor allows us to articulate what has become an increasingly apparent problem in the world of theological education: many students heading into ministry do not get good "reception" on our most commonly used "channels" of instruction. Educational specialists have various ways of describing these teaching and learning "channels." The terms "verbal thinking" and "visual thinking" are sometimes used to represent clusters of abilities that roughly correspond to distinct ways the different parts of the human brain receive, process, or manipulate information. (5)

"Verbal thinking" is sometimes used as a kind of shorthand for the analytical, linear-sequential (left-brain) reception and processing of information, whereas "visual thinking" is used to describe the pattern-seeking, pictorial-spatial (right-brain) reception and processing of information. But effective thinking requires the use of both "sides" of the human mind! "Dual coding"--the presentation of information through both verbal and pictorial channels--can increase the average learner's comprehension and retention of information. (6)

Regardless of the terms used to describe these teaching and learning channels, "the verbal, analytical process usually identified with thinking is only one way of processing information." (7) While it may have been sadly neglected in our graduate schools, "[v]isual thinking... is [also] a basic way of obtaining, processing, and representing information." (8) Theological education (especially in the Protestant Christian tradition) has largely neglected the pictorial-spatial capacities of the brain. While more than one branch of the Judeo-Christian tradition has exhibited iconoclastic inclinations, (9) the emphasis on the primacy of the Word in Protestant circles has magnified this tendency to look with suspicion on the making of images. (10) Nevertheless, visual thinking continues to be the clearest learning "channel" for many people in Protestant churches and seminaries. As William Dyrness says, "We live in a generation raised on a steady diet of the visual." (11) Students continue to come to seminary with di verse optimal learning styles, many of which do not respond well to our verbal-analytical modes of instruction.

Although reading might seem, on the surface, to be a "visual" activity, research indicates that making sense of a string of syllables, words, sentences, and paragraphs is a "left-brain" (linear-sequential-analytical) function. Encoding or decoding anything more than a word or two requires serial processing (one item at a time, in the correct order). Other types of information such as pictures, images, maps, charts, diagrams, and melodies are primarily processed in the part of the brain that specializes in perceiving patterns and integrating component parts into a recognizable whole. Such visual-spatial information can be and often is presented through chalk-board drawings, pictures, illustrations, and slides. Good teachers know that it is helpful (when possible) to represent verbal abstractions graphically. However, there is a teaching-learning advantage to be gained by the simultaneous presentation and processing of information both verbally and visually. (12)

Audio-visual or multimedia resources would seem the ideal way to present verbal and visual information together in a coordinated fashion. Yet few of the available resources are appropriate for teaching students to think critically and reflectively about biblical texts. Most of the materials currently available in video tape format present learners with interpretations of the content of the biblical texts. They seldom deal with the kinds of information that can help students become responsible interpreters in their own right. Those audiovisuals that do encourage the learner to think critically or reflectively about the biblical texts consist primarily of talking heads, presenting verbal-sequential and analytical information in what is essentially a lecture format on film. The images presented (of the speaker speaking) do not complement, supplement, or enhance the listener's comprehension or retention of what is said.

Most digital (computer-based) programs produced for use in theological education are text-based, relying heavily on the use of reading material displayed on a computer screen. While these programs enable students to navigate from place to place within the texts and to consider a variety of subjects or sub-categories in a less linear fashion than if the material were presented in a book, they still address primarily persons who learn best by reading. Moving around in the texts may help satisfy some learners' desire to handle or manipulate things, but for the most part these computer-based programs do not simultaneously engage both the eyes and the ears in the learning process.

(edited for length)


Although multimedia is often seen as a resource for individual use or for distance education, the projects described above illustrate multimedia's value for face-to-face teaching of the Bible. Multimedia's audio-visual capabilities engage more than the rational, analytical mind. The simultaneous sights and sounds of multimedia seem particularly effective at breaking through preconceptions, creating disequilibrium, and making learners receptive to new possibilities.

(1.) "Critical thinking" means the ability to entertain other viewpoints or perspectives and to consider the possibilities of multivalence. See C. Meyers, Teaching Students to Think Critically (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1986).

(2.) Ibid., 27.

(3.) H. Gardner, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century (New York: Basic Books, 1999) 91.

(4.) L. V. Williams, Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind: A Guide to Right Brain / Left Brain Education (New York: Simon & Schuster, Touchstone edition, 1986) 145.

(5.) Use of the terms "right brain" and "left brain" is a "helpful fiction" that heuristically describes differing learning styles. The terms may not accurately reflect the actual physiology of the brain.

(6.) See, e.g., M. M. Clark and A. Paivio, "Dual Coding Theory and Education," Educational Psychology Review 3 (1991) 149-210.

(7.) Williams, Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind, 29.

(8.) Ibid., 85.

(9.) For an excellent overview of the relationship of faith and the visual arts in Christian history see W. A. Dyrness, Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001).

(10.) E.g., "The mind that takes up with images is a mind that has not yet learned to love and attend to God's Word" (J. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1993] 49).

(11.) Dyrness, Visual Faith, 87.



United Theological Seminary (Dayton)

Using Multimedia Resources in Teaching the Bible

Farmer earned her Ph.D. in Old Testament at Southern Methodist University She is the author of The Book of Ruth: Introduction, Commentary and Reflections in The New Interpreter's Bible (Abingdon). She is a United Methodist laywoman.


United Theological Seminary (Dayton)

(Co-author with Kathleen A. Farmer)

Dalton received his Ed.D. from Union-PSCE. He is the author of Video, Kids and Christian Education (Augsburg). He is an ordained minister in the Amen can Baptist Churches, USA.

COPYRIGHT 2002 John Carroll University

HighBeam™ Research, LLC. © Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.


From: golden3000997
Date: Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:23 am
Subject: Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind - Reference 3

Contemporary Women's Issues Database; 6/1/1991; Clarke, Jan|Harvey, Elaine

Contemporary Women's Issues Database


A Girls in Science Bibliography

Women's Education-Education des femmes, 06-01-1991

Editor's Note: A short annotated bibliography of texts relevant to the education of girls in science fills this issue's Reviews section. Publisher's name and address are given where available, as well as approximate prices.

Alic, Margaret. Hypatia's Heritage: A History of Women in Science from Antiquity to the Late Nineteenth Century. London: The Women's Press, (1986) $13.25.

One of the best historical overviews of women mathematicians. Of particular interest is chapter 11: The Nineteenth-Century Mathematicians: The Mathematical Contributions of Sophie Germain; Ada Lovelace and the Beginnings of Computer Science; The Mathematical Mind: The story of Sophia Kovalevsky.

Ashton-Warner, Sylvia. Teacher. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc. (1986) $12.50.

"A vivid journal of incidents, personalities, sudden moments of insight, and a philosophy of education which emerges through reflection upon experiences. It should have great value not only for those interested in the problems of education in old cultures and new nations, but also for those concerned with the future of civilization..."

Bleier, Ruth. Science and Gender: A Critique of Biology and Its Theories on Women. The Athene Series, New York: Pergamon Press (1984) $19.95.

The Athene Series is an international collection of feminist books that focuses on the construction of knowledge and the exclusion of women from the process.

"This book is concerned with the role of science in the creation of an elaborate mythology of Women's biological inferiority as an explanation for their subordinate position in the cultures of Western civilizations."

Burns, Marilyn. The I Hate Mathematics! Book. Toronto: Little, Brown and Company (1975).

"This book is for nonbelievers of all ages... . This book says that mathematics is nothing more (nor less) than a way of looking at the world and is not to be confused with arithmetic."

Cajori, Florian. A History of Mathematical Notations: Volume 1: Notations in Elementary Mathematics. La Salle, Illinois: The Open Court Publishing Company, (1928, reprinted 1974) $7.15.

This classic on mathematical notation provides interesting historical nuggets for the classroom teacher. Topics are Numeral Symbols and Combinations of Symbols; Symbols in Arithmetic and Algebra: groups of symbols used by individual writers, topical survey of the use of notations; Symbols in Geometry: ordinary elementary geometry, past struggles between symbolists and rhetoricians in elementary geometry.

Cheek, Helen Neely et al., ed. Handbook for Conducting Equity Activities in Mathematics Education. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1906 Association Drive, Reston, Virginia 22091, U.S.A. (1984).

Ching, Hilda. Girls and Science: Making the Connection. B.C. Teacher Status of Women Journal, February 1987.

Connelly, F. Michael, Robert K. Crockner, and Heidi Kass. Science Education in Canada Volume 2: Achievement and its Correlates. Toronto: OISE Press, 1989.

This study is a result of the recommendations in Who Turns the Wheel from the Science Council of Canada (see below).

Culley, Margo & Catherine Portuges, ed. Gendered Subjects: the dynamics of feminist teaching. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, (1985) $17.95.

"...a rich sample of theoretical and practical reflections on classroom experience by teachers of Women's Studies ... raising provocative questions which apply broadly to many areas of progressive teaching."

Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. (1982).

"My goal is to expand the understanding of human development by using the group left out in the construction of theory to call attention to what is missing in its account. Seen in this light, the discrepant data on women's experience provide a basis upon which to generate new theory, potentially yielding a more encompassing view of the lives of both of the sexes."

Gilligan, Carol, Nona P. Lyons, & Trudy J. Hanmer, eds. Making Connections: The Relational Worlds of Adolescent Girls at Emma Willard School. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990.

This is an excellent study on the relational learning styles of girls.

Jacobs, Judith E., ed. Perspectives on Women and Mathematics. Eric Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education, College of Education, Ohio State University, 1200 Chambers Road, Third Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43212, (1978) $1.75.

Papers presented in the Women and Mathematics strand of the 1978 conference of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics held in California form the core of this book.

Kaseberg, Alice et al. Use EQUALS to Promote the Participation of Women in Mathematics. Math/Science Network, Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720. (1980) $9.00.

The EQUALS program is part of the Math/Science Network's elementary and secondary focus. This book contains resources for classroom projects, teaching strategies, problem solving activities, career information, resource materials, model workshops and bibliographies.

Keller, Evelyn Fox. Reflections on Gender and Science. New Haven: Yale University Press, (1985).

"This ground-breaking work explores the possibilities of a gender-free science and the conditions that could make such a possibility a reality."

Perl, Teri. Math Equals: Biographies of Women Mathematicians + Related Activities. Don Mills, Ontario: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, (1978). $9.45.

This book is a must for teachers and students. The biographies are interesting, and the related activities imaginative.

Resnikoff, H.L. and R.O. Wells, Jr. Mathematics in Civilization. New York; Dover Publications, Inc. (1973) $14.95.

This is a well-written book dealing with Mathematics in Antiquity, the Adolescence of Computation, the Rise of Geometrical Analysis, and Twentieth-Century Mathematics. It contains some excellent ideas for the secondary teacher. It is a traditional work without a feminist perspective.

Robertson, Heather-Jane. The Idea Book: A Resource for Improving the Participation and Success of Female Students in Math, Science and Technology Canadian Teacher's Federation, 110 Argyle Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 1B4.

The Idea Book is meant to

"serve as a catalyst for information exchange among teachers and enrich the quality and quantity of scientific education for female students."

Rosser, Sue Vilhauer. Female Friendly Science: Applying Women's Studies Method and Theories to Attract Students. New York: Pergamon Press, 1990.

Russell, Diane E.H. ed. Exposing Nuclear Phallacies. The Athene Series, New York: Pergamon Press, (1989) $20.75.

"Exposing Nuclear Phallacies is a powerful international collection of articles which tackles a subject of the utmost urgency and importance to us all, taking as its theme the significance of socialized gender differences in the origin and perpetuation of the nuclear threat."

Science Council of Canada. Who Turns the Wheel? Ottawa, Ontario, 1982.

Proceedings of a workshop on the science education of women in Canada. Available free of charge from the Council, 100 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5M1.

SCWIST. Imagine the Possibilities: A Workshop Program for 9-12 year old girls.

Step-by-step instruction on how to deliver a Girls in Science program, including teaching units and a teacher's guide. Available for $15.00 from SCWIST, Box 2184, Vancouver, B.C., V6B 3V7.

Shaw, Evelyn & Joan Darling. Female Strategies. New York: Simon & Schuster,
Inc., (1985) $10.95.

"...two biologists explore the astonishingly diverse courtship, mating, and nurturing behaviour within many species of the animal kingdom to show that there are as many ways to be "female" as there are animals."

Spender, Dale. Invisible Women: The Schooling Scandal. London: Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative Society Ltd. (1982) $8.95.

This book is a must for teachers. Read about The Old, Old Problem; The Knowledge of Males; In the Classroom; The World According to Men; Women's View.

Spender, Dale, ed. Men's Studies Modified: The Impact of Feminism on the Academic Disciplines. The Athene Series, New York: Pergamon Press, (1981). $23.50.

"Fundamental to feminism is the premise that women have been `left out' of codified knowledge, so that the world has been explained in terms of men but not women. Essays on the following academics disciplines explore not only how this happened but why: language, literary criticism, philosophy, history, sociology, political science, anthropology, psychology, economics, media studies, education, law, medicine, biology, and the scientific ethic.

Thompson, Jane. Learning Liberation: Women's Response To Men's Education. London & Canberra: Croom Helm, (1983) $19.50.

Thompson looks at the education system as

"an important regulator of social and economic class relations and a powerful ideological instrument in the battle for the hearts and minds of dutiful workers, who need to be conformed to the rules of order required by class domination if that oppression is to be continued."

A chapter is devoted to the schooling of girls.

Walkerdine, Valerie, and The Girls and Mathematics Unit. Counting Girls Out. London: Virago Press, 1989.

An excellent study on girls and math education in Britain.

Weiler, Kathleen. Women Teaching for Change: gender. class & power. Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey Publishers, Inc. (1988) $18.15.

"Challenging accepted critical educational and feminist theories, Weiler reveals the day-to-day struggles and achievements of feminist teachers who invite their students to become more conscious of the political and social forces that are shaping their lives."

Whyte, Judith. Girls into science and technology: The story of a project. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986.

Williams, Linda Verlee. Teaching for the Two-sided Mind: a guide to right brain/left brain education. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc. (1983) $13.98.

"Students need right-brain strength to achieve balanced thinking skills and to activate a full range of cognitive and creative abilities."

Women of Power: A Magazine of Feminism, Spirituality, and Politics. Issue Eleven, Fall, 1988.

"This issue explores the theme, Science and Technology. We are proud to investigate with you ... some of the women's issues, and women visionaries, and activists significant to the theme."

"Women's Development and Education". Journal of Education 167, no. 3 (1985), Boston University, 605 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Mass. 02215.

Of particular interest in this women's issue is Dorothy Buerk's articles, "The Voices of Women Making Meaning in Mathematics."

Copyright 1991 Canadian Congress for Learning Opportunities for Women

HighBeam™ Research, LLC. © Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.


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