A whole brain approach to teaching and learning in higher education

  • AL de Boer University of Pretoria
  • T Steyn University of Pretoria
  • PH du Toit University of Pretoria


Research on the human brain, and specifically on how we think and learn, has contributed to our understanding of the functioning of the brain. Insights gained from this research has, amongst others, led to the development of a metaphoric four quadrant whole brain model, by which human thinking style preferences can be described. The significance of this model and possible implications for teaching and learning in adult learner contexts have not been widely reported on. This article describes a research project in which the thinking preferences of a group of educators enrolled for the Diploma in Higher Education and Training Practice at the University of Pretoria were determined. The knowledge pertaining to the educators' preferred thinking styles was used as a point of departure to foster an awareness for the whole brain concept and the existence of diversity in thinking style preferences. This diversity poses challenges for all classroom practices.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.15(3) 2001: 185-193

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eISSN: 1011-3487