Once they called it “marching to the beat of a different drummer.” Now the eccentric kid who does his own thing may be labeled a nerd or diagnosed with “social anxiety disorder” or Asperger’s Syndrome.
Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World by Katherine Beals offers “strategies for helping bright, quirky, socially awkward children thrive at home and at school.” Beals, who blogs at Out in Left Field, argues that left-brainy children do best with a structured, analytical curriculum. New ways of teaching, such as unsupervised, group-centered discovery and open-ended, interdisciplinary projects may leave them confused, bored and floundering.
Beals suggests how parents can advocate for their children and reminds them that it’s not so bad to raise a non-conformist.
My nephew is one of those left-brainers. Despite an Asperger’s diagnosis, he was told in class after class to write about his feelings, which he considered an invasion of privacy, rather than being allowed to analyze a book or a historical issue or whatever. He’s now studying computer science with his fellow lefties.
In keeping with my self-promotion vow, I will mention my book, Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the Charter School That Beat the Odds.