Whole Brain Teaching


Whole-brain teaching is an instructional approach derived from neurolinguistic descriptions of the functions of the brain’s left and right hemispheres.

Basic Elements

Neurolinguistic findings about the brain’s language functions show that in the integrated brain, the functions of one hemisphere are immediately available to the other, producing a more balanced use of language. Whole-brain teaching emphasizes active learning, in which the learner makes connections that tap both hemispheres.

Another aspect of whole-brain teaching is managing the emotional climate, to reduce the “downshifting”–or primal thinking–that occurs during distress. To relax learners, instructors may offer clear, realistic predictions of barriers (such as, “Advancement may be sporadic”) and progress (such as, “Sooner or later, this will become easier”). Plus, instructors may try enhancing the learning experience with music or soothing colors.

In whole-brain learning, imaging is seen as the basis for comprehension. For this reason, learners are encouraged to visualize, draw, and use drama as they develop new ideas, in order to retain them. A reading teacher, for instance, might present new vocabulary words by building a story or skit that uses them–but doesn’t define them–in context. The teacher then might play music while reading the definitions, leaving time for listeners to draw images of the words. The teacher next might use guided meditation to build a relaxed state containing memories of success before the listeners hear the definitions again. And the learners might even act out the words’ meanings or construct stories of their own.


T. Buzan, Use Both Sides of Your Brain. NY: Dutton (1976).

G.L. Rico, Writing the Natural Way. Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher.

D.H. Schuster and L. Vincent, “Teaching Math and Reading with Suggestion and Music,” Academic Therapy, vol. 16(1), 69-72 (Sept, 1980).

About the author -


Funderstanding is a resource for teachers, parents, and students to stay up to date on education-related issues. The company focuses on innovative and progressive approaches to inspire learning in classrooms as well as homes.

15 Responses to Whole Brain Teaching

  1. Yadhi Nur Amin says:

    I am interested in this method. It’s new for me. I have made research using this method, and it can increase the students’ motivation.

    • Sadjad says:

      cupcake8million Posted on congrats- your livnig my dream since you won’t see your family/ friends for a long tie you could go cheesy- wish you were here or on the trail again or Where in the world is (your name)? Best of luck!

  2. Yadhi Nur Amin says:

    Anyone wants to give me some articles about whole brain teaching? I’m very grateful. It’ll be a valuable thing to improve my teaching style. If anyone does, would you mind sending them to my e-mail? Thanks a lot.

  3. Hiam says:

    It’s amazing. What I liked mostly
    is the envolvement of the students in the class and the activity. How could they reach such standard. Still I dont know what is the out come of this method but I like my classes to be in such a situation . How can I achieve this still I don’t know. So can you explain more about the whole brain teaching I’m really interested. I appreciate your help,
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  4. elisa merkier says:


  5. hadi utomo says:

    I am an English teacher in Indonesia. I know little teaching method of whole brain teaching. I am interested in using this . So far I write a classroom action research about it but I have a trouble references. No books I can find them. I will be very pleasure if you share me something about it. Now I apply this method in my learning activity but, of course it is not perfect.

    My identity:
    Name : M. Hadi Utomo
    School : SMPN 40 Semarang, Indonesia
    (Junior High School)
    Address: Jl. Suyudono 130, Semarang,
    E-mail : mrhadiutomo@gmail.com
    Phone : +6281 326 676 304

    Thank you.

  6. Ela Ford says:

    I would like to reference your page on whole brain teaching. Could you please provide the author and date? Your assistance is greatly appreciated.


    Ela Ford

  7. CopyKat says:

    I think the whole brain teaching is so much more effective.  I wish I would have seen this article while I was working on my teaching certificate.  This knowledge would have been helpful in some of my research.

    • Erwan says:

      e.l Posted on For one thing unless they’re puilhsbed you mean writers’.Only you can decide when, as it needs to fit round you and your members’ schedules.

  8. Lisa says:

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but dlfenitiey you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already Cheers!

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