Study Hints for the Whole Brain

By the time children are leaving their parent’s homes, it is not unheard of to have studied for 15 years or more. At this point they will have acquired a secondary and tertiary education.

We are thus predicting that an adult of 25 years old may have spent up to 60% of their life until that point involved in education before they start venturing forth into the world to find their own feet!

While parents and governments are already investing large amounts of money into their children simply by having to pay school fees, the teachers and facilities they are paying for are likely not sensitive to the fact that each child thinks differently to the occupant of the school bench next to them.

Students at a general school may all look uniform on the outside, but there is almost NO uniformity on the inside. Considering that they will be spending so much time involved in the education system, and assuming that learning will be a requirement throughout their lives, is not it not paramount to give them every advantage possible?

The way we think will invariably impact everything we put our hands to: especially so with brain-intensive tasks such as learning and teaching!

The Neethling Brain Instruments® differentiate between 8-dimensions of preferences relative to each student in varying degrees. There are four quadrants that encapsulate those 8-dimensions, and each child and adult will have a preference for operating in one or more of the four quadrants and express behaviors relevant to that quadrant.



Whole Brain study hints

Found below some study hints for the whole brain student. Do any of the descriptions and suggestions below sound familiar? Have you seen that some of the environmental changes mentioned have worked, or been a hindrance, for you or your child?


The L1 student prefers a neat and quiet learning environment. A desk or table with all the necessary supplies should be available, as well as research material (encyclopedias, Internet, etc.). Short (not too detailed) summaries of work content suit this student best. Try to play Baroque music softly in the background some of the time when studying.


The L2 student prefers a quiet, neat and organised environment. This environment should offer security and stability, every day being the same. This student works well according to a time-table which should be on display. He/she makes detailed summaries and prefers to practice subject matter.  The repetition part of the memorisation process for the L2 student can be methodical. Playing Baroque music softly in the background will also benefit this student while studying.


The R2 student studies best among people. The environment should be comfortable and space for movement is essential. A desk is not always necessary. He/she sometimes talks out loud when memorising content. Becoming emotional about the work is quite normal for the R2 student. Role playing and dramatisation are good ways for this student to memorise content. The R2 student should not be expected to sit for too long studying without a break. Visual aids are very important for this student. Music (especially Baroque and always wordless) will enhance the learning experience.


This student seldom wants sits at a desk – this is quite normal! Designing “learning games” to study will enhance retention. Non-linear styles of learning are best for this student (e.g. sticking mind-maps on the ceiling), with an allowance for freedom of choosing their study method. Visual aids are very important. Taking short breaks often during studying is important as the R1 mind tends to wander. Once again, Baroque music is recommended for background music.


While we can all agree that there are certain “non-negotiables” in the learning process (such as repetition), thinking preferences impact the how and the why. For example, a predominantly L2 thinker may actively engage in their studies because they respect the tradition of schooling and accept its necessity (subject matter not hindering that resolve), while an R1 thinker may have to be convinced as to why their subject matter warrants the time spent on memorising it before being motivated to study hard.

Regardless of what our preferences for learning may be, we all have in us the propensity to practice whatever we put our minds to, including different ways of learning and thinking. Becoming adept in other modes of thinking beyond our own thinking preferences is the art of whole-brain thinking.

What is better than having to mold your environment to your learning style?  -> Being adaptable in yourself to whatever life can throw at you!

By discovering what our default thinking preferences are, we can start making new paths in our minds that include all of the beneficial mental faculties we have at our disposal which we might otherwise go unused.


Curious about your thinking preferences or that of your child’s? Are you a teacher who wants to up-skill yourself as an educator? Take a look at our events page (click here) for the upcoming Practitioner Training.

Alternatively, go to the NBI page and see if you want to delve into your own thinking preferences by doing an NBI profile. Click here to go to the NBI page.