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Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World: Strategies for Helping Bright, Quirky, Socially Awkward Children to Thrive at Home and at School Paperback – September 29, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Trumpeter; Original edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590306503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590306505
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

 “A brave, wise, and compassionate guide for parents and teachers of children who, because of their unique styles of thinking and learning, are so often misinterpreted and misunderstood.”—Brad Sachs, PhD, author of The Good Enough Child and The Good Enough Teen

“This book brims with sound, practical advice for nurturing children who don’t fit into the commonly accepted patterns of ‘normal development,’ yet possess remarkable gifts. A must-read for parents, educators, and mental health professionals.”—Michael Gurian, author of Nurture the Nature and The Wonder of Boys

"Beals shows parents how to campaign for left-brain friendly education reform, advocate for their socially awkward children, and nurture innate gifts of logic and linear thinking in a society that often favors personal interaction over academic genius."—Exceptional Parent

"The most accurate insights into the current trends of educational thinking that I have come across. It is a wake-up call for parents of both left- and right-brained children and should be required reading for all students-and teachers-in our schools of education."—Barry Garelick, Nonpartisan Education Review

“[Beals] articulates the most accurate insights into the current trends of educational thinking that I have come across.  It is a wake-up call for parents of both left- and right-brained children and should be required reading.”—Nonpartisan Education Review

"Beals intelligently and sensitively raises all the right questions about how we need to accommodate square-peg kids and bring out the best in them.”—Wellsphere.com

About the Author

Katharine Beals, PhD, is an educator and the mother of three left-brain children. A former public school teacher, she is a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Her writing on parenting has appeared in Mothering magazine and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in Philadelphia. For more information, visit <a target="_blank" href="http://www.katharinebeals.com">www.katharinebeals.com</a>.

More About the Author

Katharine Beals, the mother of three left-brain children, is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She has taught math, computer science, social studies, expository writing, linguistics, and English as a second language to students of all ages, both in the U.S. and overseas. She also develops online courses for the Drexel University School of Education, and is the architect of the GrammarTrainer, a linguistic software program for language impaired children.

Customer Reviews

Every teacher should read this book.
Ann Derby
I think anyone with a kid who is not thriving in the current right-brain dominated educational system will cling to this book like a life preserver!
Nancy Bea Miller
This book was really very interesting and relevant and I urge you to look beyond the title.
Gavin Bollard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Bollard on October 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
On the face of it, the title of this book would probably not normally engage my interest - which is unfortunate because it's a really fascinating book. The title isn't wrong either, the book really is about "Left-Brained Children"; it's just that you need a bit more explanation before you read the title.

Katharine Beals has used the label "Left-Brained" in place of other more judgemental labels. She describes the left brained child as the sort of child to whom mathematics comes easy and group work does not. Her definition is quite encompassing but if I have any issues with the book, they're simply that the definition she uses isn't wide enough. In my opinion, the book is just as relevant to children with "left brained" characteristics but better English/History skills than mathematics. Similarly, much of the book is relevant to children who have aspergers but who also have learning difficulties which prevent them from becoming "math wizzes".

The book describes three types of "left-brained" children;
* The Unsocial Child
* The Analytic Child
* The Mildly Autistic Child (Aspergers, HFA, PDD-NOS)

There are similarities between all three types of children and you may find, as I did, that things relevant to your child appear in all three sections.

What makes this book fascinating is that instead of providing an overall view of the child like most similar books, it concentrates on the changing school environment and its effects on these children.

It helps that Katharine is both an educator and a mother because her discussions don't stop at the school, they also include socialisation with school children outside of school (playdates), homework and learning at home.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Karen E. Beckman on October 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
Katharine Beals's book offers a welcome antidote to the mountains of parenting manuals and educational philosophies that treat children as if they were all the same. Rather than bemoaning the plight of parents whose children don't seem to fit the institutionally-articulated standard, Beals celebrates the idiosyncratic nature of the children she discusses, and in doing so, elucidates an expansive, exciting, challenging, upbeat and intelligent vision of what parenting and education might look like and feel like. It's a book that resists normalization and the averaging-out of human subjects, large or small. Hooray!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ann Derby on May 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every teacher should read this book. Every parent with a kid who doesn't fit the mold socially should read this book.

In most classrooms, there are one or two kids who don't fit the mold: who don't interact easily, for whom group projects are torture, and who are unable to participate fully in the modern conversational classroom. Teachers need to understand that these kids *are normal*; they aren't broken or in need of fixing (or medicating,) and they are not developmentally delayed--their personalities are simply different from the other 85-90% of the world. What they need are understanding teachers, and schools that take the diversity of personalities into account, and who do not place unrealistic demands on such kids. In short they need schools that separate a child's academic progress from their social integration.

Most important is Beal's observation that the modern classroom brings the worst aspects of the playground--with the social pecking-order--into the classroom and ties academic grades to a child's place in the social hierarchy. When classroom learning is framed around conversations among the students, instead of a conversations with the teacher, the kids at the top of the social hierarchy will prevail.

For example, our son's fourth-grade class was being introduced to the properties of circles, and because we had done some tutoring at home, he was familiar with the idea of pi. When he mentioned it to the other kids at his table, the others mocked him, asking if there was also a number called "cake." The fact that he was factually correct made no difference--it was the social hierarchy that prevailed, not actual learning.

However, the book is not just a show-and-tell of the problem. It also deals with ways to deal with so-called left-brained kids and with their schools and teachers.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Karen Jones on September 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Katharine Beals' book is a compelling exposition of the problems left-brain children face in today's society. In particular, it clearly outlines the disadvantages analytical, mathematical and/or introverted children face in the contemporary classroom. While this book is bound to have resonance with the parents of left-brainers, many educators are sure to find the book provocative as it questions current educational practices. On the issue of how children should be educated, this book is a powerful contributory polemic with vivid examples drawn from the real life experiences of a variety of learners.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Singer on March 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, a disclaimer: Dr. Beals is a friend of mine.

While this book is pitched to parents of "left-brain children", it should be of interest to anyone who cares about education in America. We shortchange everyone by shortchanging these talented kids. One challenge in education is always the variety of levels and learning styles in the classroom; Beals shows us that in our zeal to make sure "right-brain" learning styles are accommodated, we have gone too far. America's scientific and engineering future will be much brighter if we heed the warnings and advice in the book.

Luckily for the hundreds of thousands of readers who should read this book, its style is delightful. Beals makes her points efficiently by bolstering her larger observations with appealingly apt, lively examples.

One miniscule quibble: the claim that mathematicians generally work alone and collaborate only to report and tweak results is simply false. While many mathematicians do work that way, many others work collaboratively.

And, no, I'm not giving this book a rave review because my friend wrote it. The rave is for the book's elegance and importance.
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