If you have ever seen Rain Man, you will understand the potential of the right brain. Dustin Hoffman plays Raymond Babbitt who is an autistic savant. He possesses amazing right brain abilities, however, due to a damaged corpus callosum, he is unable to make much out of those amazing abilities.
This is a scene where Raymond Babbitt correctly states the number of toothpicks on the floor with a single glance (this is exactly what Doman achieved with his Math program for babies when they are able to perceive the number of random red dots on a card):
There is another scene where Tom Cruise, playing Charlie Babbitt, takes Raymond to see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist is testing Raymond’s abilities and asks him to perform complex mental calculations which he does so with ease. When asked to take away fifty cents from a dollar, Raymond answers “seventy cents”. I thought this scene was an excellent depiction of what the right brain can do and what its limitations are without the left brain to guide it.
This is why right brain education is not just focused on developing the right brain but also in developing the communication between the left and right brains. Simply having an excellent right brain is insufficient. We need to have good communication between the right and left brains to help our children maximise their potentials.
If you have never watched Rain Man, I suggested you go watch it. It was interesting to note that there are a lot of similarities between Raymond’s behaviour and the behaviour we often see in young children. For instance, a lot of questions they asked Raymond often ended up with “I don’t know”. Have you ever asked your toddler what he did at school and he would answer “I don’t know”? That’s the right brain talking. Wennie from TweedleWink mentioned that when I spoke to her some time back and I realise it was very true with Gavin. My FIL would always ask what he did at school and Gavin would say, “Nothing.”
FIL: What did you learn at school?
FIL: What did you eat at school?
FIL: What did you do at school?
I also thought it was interesting to discover that Raymond Babbitt was modeled after a man name Kim Peek, who is the real Rain Main. If you’re interested, I have included some videos about Kim Peek below:
According to Shichida, every child has the ability to tap into these amazing right brain functions. As educators, what we need to do is help them open the door to these abilities.