Left is all RIGHT

Fun fact: Out of the seven students I started tutoring over the past two weeks, a whopping FIVE of them are left-handed.

Every single one of the parents told me their child couldn’t spell.

Every single one of the students misused capital letters, had trouble making lower case letters with “tails” that go below the line,





                                    and struggled with reading comprehension.

Most of them said they “couldn’t do math” or “hated math” when really they were quick with numbers but struggled with understanding what was being asked of them.

And every. Single. One of them was able to spell lists of words





by the time our week together was over. Not only that, handwriting and capitalization issues began to self-correct.

Did you know . . . ?

Left-handed people make up about 10-12% of the population worldwide, according to WorldAtlas.com, making right-brained thinkers a striking minority. Which means a striking majority of the population naturally thinks with the left side of the brain, and that drives the way our society teaches almost everything.

So naturally, school is geared toward left-brained thinkers. And that’s probably why most of the students I tutor are left-handed.

Another fun fact: Left-brainers can learn in a right-brained way, but right-brainers will always have to compensate when learning in a left-brained way.

So what does this mean for our south-pawed friends?  

It means their strengths are often overlooked in school because their left-brained peers excel in, well . . . left-brained learning, and they don’t. It can also mean they fall behind in school for a few reasons:

  1. They need to process information in a way that is meaningful to them, which often includes pictures and art instead of the lists and symbols taught in school.
  2. They can feel discouraged and give up early based on past failures.
  3. They have a tendency to do poorly on tests, sometimes because they freeze under pressure and other times because they may need to speak it instead of writing it.
  4. Most regular education teachers do not know how to identify or correct learning struggles, and they tend to say things like, “She needs to try harder” or “She’s just lazy” when really the student is working twice as hard as her peers and getting only half the result.

What if lefties ruled the world?

Well, we might not have much order, but it would be a colorful, artistic, energetic place with all kinds of engineering masterpieces to explore. Teachers would probably never stop using songs and hands-on projects to teach concepts like math and spelling, and we would never ask the question: why don’t we color in high school?

Most of the righties would be able to learn just as well, and everyone would be able to see how their gifts contribute to a successful society.

I would love to see this happen. For now, the only real right-brained classes that exist in traditional schools are art, gym, and music. Some would say those are the “easy A’s”: I, a left-brainer, say, “Please don’t pass me the ball!”

Tip of the Day

Read the book 8 Great Smarts by Kathy Koch to see where your struggling genius’ gifting lies, and encourage him to operate in it.

Dig Deeper

How do you feel about yourself or your performance when asked to do something that’s totally outside of your comfort zone or realm of confidence? What if almost everything you did all day long fell into that category? Would you be energized or drained? Consider these questions as you listen to your child’s complaints about school.

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