Right hemisphere versus left hemisphere: what is wrong with the teaching of reading scientific literature?

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Abstract

New findings in the investigation of the functional asymmetry of the brain shed light on many problems of human cognition. Reading in a foreign language (L2), being a kind of cognition, is subject to its laws. The experiments show that by processing verbal information the left hemisphere applies the analytical strategy and the right hemisphere the holistic one. The probabilistic structure of the world makes the holistic way of processing information very efficient; this strategy corresponds to the principle of least effort. But working with descriptions of highly probable events and thus having the possibility of using the holistic strategy at the first stages of learning L2, the students fail to master the formal grammatical means of the foreign language and are not able to use the analytical strategy where it is necessary: while dealing with scientific texts whose contents is predictable only to a small degree. The analytical strategy, as running counter the principle of economy, is very difficult to develop. A method, aiming at achieving this goal, is proposed.

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Citation

Glottodidactica vol. 21, 1993, pp. 19-29

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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego