In 1981, American neuropsychologist Roger Sperry was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery that the left and right hemispheres of the human brain serve different functions. This research explained that the left brain is inclined towards logical thinking, such as mathematics, language, and rational analysis, while the right brain is more involved in visual arts, imagination, music, writing, and creative conceptual thinking, possessing rich emotional and expressive abilities. Although this is a discovery in the field of human physiology, it holds significant implications for childhood education today.
This discovery suggests that in children from birth to age 5, the functions of the left and right brain hemispheres are relatively balanced, with their imaginative thinking and creativity being particularly prominent. We often observe that children under the age of 5 can draw with a pencil, sing, and perform naturally, and they all seem to be gifted little artists. However, as they progress to middle school and college, many of them claim that they can no longer draw, sing, or perform. The cause of this is that artistic stimulation and development of the right brain decrease after formal education begins. From elementary school to college and into the workforce, we primarily engage in logic-based learning, guided by the left brain, while opportunities for learning and training the right brain are relatively limited.
This situation is prevalent within mainstream educational systems, compounded by economic pressures. Generations have unintentionally lost their creativity and imagination as a result. Emphasizing the left brain while neglecting the right brain in the education model is gradually pushing lively, exploratory, and innovative children into the confines of mechanized, standardized education. This educational trend is slowly constraining or undermining children’s creativity and enthusiasm for life, leading their thinking to become rigid, formulaic, and their imaginative and problem-solving abilities to diminish over time.
Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.” Picasso put it even more directly when he said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”He also said” It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
In light of this, the roles of parents and teachers should not focus solely on “teaching” but on creating conditions and an atmosphere to nurture and enrich the talents of young artists, helping them maintain their creativity and imagination in balance with the logical reasoning skills emphasized by formal education. The best way to stimulate and nurture their right brain, often referred to as the “creative brain,” is to carefully plan and provide an environment that encourages children to freely enjoy creative activities such as drawing painting and music.
爱因斯坦曾说“想象力远比知识更重要。逻辑会把你从A带到B，想象力能带你去任何地方。” 毕加索更是直接，他说“每个孩子都是天生的艺术家，问题是怎么在长大之后仍然保持这种天赋” 。画家米罗也曾说：“儿童时期的天赋最珍贵，这个阶段拥有人一生中最高的创造力，一旦长大，这种能力会极容易消失”。