So who was Whole Brain Teaching made for? Is it more effective on certain personality types (ie. extroverts)? Is this technique suitable for adult learners?
When I saw my first Whole Brain Teaching video, I was pretty immediately uncomfortable. I know as a student I would not be able to tolerate it–I would look to escape or drop the course. As an instructor, I would also be uncomfortable delivering lessons using this technique. But I don’t necessarily trust my opinion. I am an introvert, so a loud, super quick paced activity like this would be difficult.
Through the forum I am facilitating and sharing the video with friends, it seems the consensus is that this technique would alienate introverts. There is a mix of reactions–some would run like me, while others may ‘play along’, mouthing the prompts much like the back row of a church choir. What surprised me though is that extroverts also do not love this. So there appears to be more than just the loud, quick pace that detracts learners and instructors from this method.
While proponents of this method claim that this technique can be used in any class, I think this is more suitable as a pedagogical technique. You can find examples of uses in the college classroom (I posted one in a previous blog), but this technique violates many of the assumptions we make about adult learners. The big ones for me is adult learners are self-directed. In this technique, the teacher controls almost everything, leaving little room for self-directed or autonomous behaviour. A common reaction from people seeing this method for the first time is that it is ‘childish’, which I would have to agree.
So it appears that the idea audience for Whole Brain Teaching is very narrow. As a class management teachnique, it seems to be created more for teachers than students. To me employing this technique for any extended period, would be a risk.