Is your child a visual learner? If you have a child with autism, there is a good chance that he or she learns in this manner. What if you’re not a visual learner? To give a betters understanding of how these so-called “right brain” learners think, Bette Fetter has written “Being Visual: Raising a Generation of Innovative Thinkers.”
This book really did help me understand how people who focus more on their right brain than left for learning think and why traditional education can trip them up. It suddenly made sense why Zoe loves “Word World” and how that show taught her to spell. It made me rethink a lot of the way I’ve run my house for my girls, but also thankful that the school they are in already using lots of visual learning, and their IEP incorporates great amounts of it too. I was impressed by the idea of visual arts for the kids and thought that Young Rembrandts, the program created by the author to address this, would be a good fit for my kids.
I’m a sensitive person, and I’m also very much in the left brain camp, so there was a pervasive theme that really got under my skin in the first two chapters: left brainers are skilled at academics, and right brainers are creative! innovative! trend setters! visionaries! leaders! The actual comparative list says: auditory-spatial learners are academically talented, vs. the visual-spatial learner, who is creatively, technologically, mechanically, emotionally or spiritually gifted. So yes, she went ahead and put all the engineers and scientists into this us vs. them scenario.
Now, I understand that Ms. Fetter and many children who are aspiring artists are hurt by the education system as it stands. She goes into great detail about her art education that did not teach her what she needed to know, and it’s a completely fair point. On the other hand, no one is 100% left OR right brained. You need both. And yes, I was good at academics, but I’ve also done web design and please, lets not get into the argument over whether or not writers are artists. They are, that’s that. So don’t tell me that authors and poets and essay writers don’t have any left brain juice flowing, and that ALL we are good for is organizing. (In fact, my organizing skills completely suck.) And while the academic leaders she had as a child offended her, I was offended by people who categorize like this back when I worked in a corporate world and was often reduced to back to admin tasks that bored me and atrophied my brain, when the leaders in place ignored my value. (And yes, there were those that DID see my value and worked on my behalf, but corporate nobodies ruled the day back then.)
Problem #2 is there are no Young Rembrandt programs nearer than 30+ miles from my home, so I cannot use them, and I have no desire to open a franchise.
Mixed feelings. While I think it’s good to know what it’s like to be a visual learner, I think the tone of this book is not very good. I know the author did not intend the way it comes off, and it’s a shame. I’d recommend it to right brain learners only if you have a thick skin and don’t take offense easily.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. Links and images are my Amazon Affiliate links.