International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

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International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 1 No. 9 [Special Issue – July 2011] JORDANIAN STUDENTS' THINKING STYLES BASED ON HERRMANN WHOLE BRAIN MODEL Ali Khalid Ali Bawaneh Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Educational Studies E-mail: ali_bawaneh@yahoo.com Abdul Ghani Kanesan Abdullah Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Educational Studies E-mail: agk@usm.my Salmiza Saleh Universiti Sains Malaysia E-mail: salmiza@usm.my Khoo Yin Yin Sultan Idris Education University Faculty
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   International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 1 No. 9 [Special Issue  –   July 2011] 89 JORDANIAN STUDENTS' THINKING STYLES BASED ON HERRMANN WHOLE BRAIN MODEL Ali Khalid Ali Bawaneh   Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Educational Studies E-mail: ali_bawaneh@yahoo.com Abdul Ghani Kanesan Abdullah Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Educational Studies E-mail: agk@usm.my Salmiza Saleh Universiti Sains Malaysia E-mail: salmiza@usm.my Khoo Yin Yin Sultan Idris Education University   Faculty of Management and Economic Email: gamerkhoo@yahoo.com Abstract   The present study aims at identifying thinking styles of eight grade students in Jordan using Herrmann Whole  Brain Model. There are 357-students selected from fourteen classrooms within Bani Kenana School District. Thinking Preference Questionnaire to classify participants according to their preferred thinking style was used. Perceived frequencies, percentages, and respective cumulative percentages, in addition to X  2  value based on fit-of-goodness technique were computed. Results found that no statistically significant differences between students' thinking styles based on Herrmann Whole Brain Model at (α = 0.05). This result means that  students having certain thinking style would not be substantially different from those with other thinking  styles. Parallel with that, the results showed also no significant differences between students' thinking styles according to gender. In light of the results, the study recommending to identifying student's thinking styles; let them learn about them, and characteristics of each style in order to develop skills subsumed under each thinking style while caring the other thinking style and urged curriculum designers to take diversified approach when presenting the instructional content and related activities and experiments and to consider individual differences in the textbooks. Keywords :   Thinking styles, Herrmann Whole Brain Model, Learning Styles. Introduction Models of thinking styles are v aried, some of which are concerned with thinker’s personality traits, and others were interested in answering the question of how a thinker receives, processes, and align experiences, whereas others were focused on the sensory perceptual medium most preferable to a thinker when receiving,  processing and aligning experiences. As a result, thinking styles were depicted with various models and graphics with unilateral, bilateral, multiple and interfered polarizations (Qtami, 1998). These models are: Carl Jung   ,   Kolb, Dunn and Dunn thinking style Model, Myers-Brigg, McCarthy, Honey and Mumford, Felder-Silverman, and Herrmann model (Hadfield, 2006; Anabela, Alvaro, Lilian & Mendes, 2007; Dunn, 2000; Dunn & Dunn, 2003). This study will adopt the Herrmann Whole Brain Model (HWBM), because Herrmann's Model is systematic and inclusive and considers student's preferable thinking styles as being inconsistent and can be changed and developed. Herrmann Whole Brain Model (HWBM)    Many theories were concerned with the brain and attempted to answer the question: How thinking occurs? McClean in 1952; for example, proposed the triple-brain theory, suggesting three interfering brains in each of which thinking takes place in certain way: rational, intermediate and primitive brains, Sperry in 1964, on the other hand, proposed a two-chamber brain; left brain and right brain, wherein specific kinds of thinking occur (Hermann, 1988). Based on McClean and Sperry theorization, Herrmann developed his Whole Brain Theory in 1988. In the Whole Brain Theory, and depending on thinking characteristics, the brain was divided into upper left/right and lower left/right parts.   As a whole, the upper part of the brain concerns conceptual and abstract thinking, whereas the lower part of the brain is entirely concerned with emotional and visceral.  The Special Issue on Contemporary Issues in Social Science  © Centre for Promoting Ideas, USA www.ijhssnet.com 90 Similarly, the upper left brain is logical and quantitative, whereas the lower left brain is sequential and organized. The upper right brain is conceptual and visual, whereas the lower right brain is interpersonal and emotional. In general, the right part of the brain seems to be loosely structured, while the left part of the brain is strictly structured (De Boer, Coetzee & Coetzee, 2001; Zainal, Shuib & Othman, 2004; Loren & Bean, 1997) Fig. 1 Figure 1.  The Whole Brain Model (Herrmann, 2000) First style, external thinking style (QA); Herrmann referred to this thinking style as fact-based thinking style that is analytical, logical, theoretical, or external. Second style, procedural thinking style (QB); described as  procedural thinker, oriented or controlled, planned or structured, sequential or procedural. Third style, interactive thinking style (QC), designated as feeling, emotional, social, interpersonal, and interactive. Finally the fourth style, internal thinking style (QD), this thinking style is referred to by Herrmann as open-minded, innovative, integrative, analytical, imaginative, and intrinsic. The Theory behind Herrmann Whole Brain Model Herrmann (2000) considers dominance as natural and normal in organisms that result from experiences and conditions faced by the organisms on a daily basis. For example, the human body greatly involves paired structures, which in most cases are identical in one way or another. A good example of resemblance and identical structures are hands, feet, legs, eyes, etc. See figure 2.4 below, which in fact represents a schema that embodies the concept of dominance, wherein dominance starts as early as infancy growing over time by experiences, experiments, and daily use. Figure 2.4 Illustrates Identical Forms in Human Body (Herrmann, 2000)   International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 1 No. 9 [Special Issue  –   July 2011] 91 Herrmann (2000) supported this observation noting that it is reasonable as, for example, when we use our right hand or right arm to do a variety of activities they will become stronger. Your right arm or hand as a result will be strong enough to perform such action like carpentry, handwriting, drawing, and other activities. Herrmann also argued that there are other paired organs tha t couldn’t be directly visible  as they are internal to the human body such as lungs and kidneys. Such are physical examples of the existence of dominance. Paired organs of the human body, both internal and external, led Herrmann to construct his preconception of the dichotomies structure of brain. For Herrmann, the human brain consists of two hemispheres and two limbic that are strongly linked with each other by linkages that allows the four parts to function systematically. Herrmann assimilated the coordination of hands, feet, and eyes with the double structures of brain noting one difference; that is their unique physical and chemical composition and functional specialization; i.e. to think in different ways and perform various mental tasks (Herrmann, 2000). The example cited by Herrmann (2000) is our dominant hand   that is used more than the non-dominant hand  , and the frequent use makes it stronger and empowered to perform various tasks and actions. The same applies to the brain. The preferred thinking in certain ways more often means frequent use of specific part of the  brain; one hemisphere or one limbic half; thereby it develops and grows to become more efficient by  practicing a variety of mental activities. The same as the underdeveloped and non-dominant hand help the skilled and dominant hand, developed structures of brain work cooperatively with more preferable and more dominance in the mental operations to produce better mental power with greater ability to accomplish day-to-day tasks and events. It is, therefore, natural that the human brain forms a cooperative unit of specialized structures to cope with more intricate situations given that the developed brain forms an integrated unit of many different preferences (Herrmann, 2000). As we see, Herrmann used the analogy of body parts and how they function to explain how the brain functions in relation to its component parts. From Herrmann’s view, as already discussed- the brain consists of four areas of preferences (QA, QB, QC, and QD). Herrmann, as a result, developed his internationally accepted scale for the purpose of classifying individuals relying on their  preferences of thinking (preferable thinking styles). Gender and Thinking Styles    Since in most classrooms boys and girls are always there to think, either together or separately according to their sex in certain countries, the role of gender in thinking cannot be overlooked. Many studies have harped on the differences between how boys and girls think, but the precise methods of how they think still remain a question. Consistent with the results of many studies on the effects of gender in thinking, Honigsfeld and Dunn (2003) discovered that boys had a preference for more peer interaction rather than individual thinking and more kinesthetic activities. On the other hand, girls preferred a more social variety of thinking and they were more responsible or conforming to rules and regulations. For the girls, getting the job done well and receiving high grades were the two most important aspects of their education and this result directly correlate with the results from previously mentioned studies. The inclination shown here is that girls did not think that active participation in class was required for getting a good grade or completing a task successfully. They also discovered that boys were more peer oriented than girls when it came to efforts to achieve successes in the classroom. For the boys, feedback, acknowledgement and attention from their teachers seemed to be more important when they wish to achieve their best results. In another study related to gender, Huang (2002) researched on the perceptions of thinking environments of middle school students in Taiwan. A total of 644 seventh grade students from six middle schools in northern Taiwan participated in this study. The data were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). The study discovered some gender issues where the girls, as opposed to the boys, seemed to have more affection in their study as they were more involved, more affiliated and more cooperative with their fellow classmates. The girls were also perceived to abide to classroom rules and needed teacher support more than the boys. That is the girls seemed to seek positive reinforcement from their peers and teacher, and they steadfastly abided by the rules and carried out their tasks carefully in the classroom. This could be interpreted as the nature of girls being more detailed than the boys in carrying out activities in the classroom. It was also found that the girls had more initiative where they would carry out more research to solve problems than the  boys. The girls were much more academically inclined than the boys but yet the former, who often wished to  perform excellently in everything, still needed support from their peers to do well. On the whole, the girls were more academically oriented than boys. In contrast, the boys appeared to be insensitive to the school culture and they are less inclined to participate in activities in the classroom merely for the prospects of obtaining good grades or getting positive reinforcement from the teacher and/or their peers. In fact the boys  preferred to do something based on personal enjoyment or because they enjoyed doing something of interest to them rather than merely for educational gains.  The Special Issue on Contemporary Issues in Social Science  © Centre for Promoting Ideas, USA www.ijhssnet.com 92 Some studies have shown that the thinking styles of boys and girls could determine how they participate in class. For instance, it was found that boys who adopted the kinesthetic thinking style were most active in class as they tend to participate in the on-going lesson, while who girls were known to be passive adopted other thinking styles. Such methods of relating the thinking styles with their classroom behaviors set the way to understanding if the boys and girls tend to think differently. Apart from this, the study of the classroom  behaviors of boys and girls also includes the way they perceive their successes in the classroom, and, how their accomplishments in the classroom are related to their classroom behaviors. Through the above, we find that the debates still exist with regard to the differences between males and females in their preferable thinking styles, and because male-female schools in Jordan are completely separate. The current study interested in students' gender and preferable thinking styles. Studies on Herrmann Whole Brain Model Shelnutt et al., (1996) conducted a study to identify thinking styles in a group of engineering students from  North Carolina University. The study used HBDI as self-awareness instrument. The sample was 500 students. Following the administration of HBDI on the students, the results showed that the mean degrees of items related to each quadrant of the brain were for A, B, C, and D brain quadrants 86, 78, 54, and 69 respectively. These results confirmed dominance of A and B quadrants among engineering students. De Boer and Steyn (1999) conducted a study to identify thinking style distributions that are most preferred by students and how they are developed. Preferable thinking styles were measured in 31 first year students, who did not fulfill admission requirements, and thus attended extended science program to meet admission conditions in a college of science, University of Pretoria using HBDI. The student's distribution on thinking styles was: (A= 32.2%; B= 48.4%; C= 12.9%; and D= 6.5%). Dominance of (B) and weakness of (D) modes was accounted for by the fact that teaching delivered by schools was focused in (B) more on sequential thinking skills than in (D) where creative thinking skills were less emphasized. In order to develop thinking styles, students were informed of the respective preferred thinking styles and together they discussed the characteristics of each style. The researcher allowed the students one week to normalize and integrate their thinking styles within their usual practice. This in turn raised their interest in developing ability in other thinking styles and encouraged the use of the whole brain in their learning thus developing more than one dominant thinking mode. De Boer and Berg (2001) conducted a study to inquire thinking styles and distributions to the four quadrants of brain depending on HWBM using HBDI. Their sample consisted of 68 students enrolled in Bacteriology course in the first semester in the University of Pretoria. The results indicated that the students were equally assigned to the four thinking styles (A, B, C, and D). Zainal, Shuib and Othman (2004) conducted a study focusing on inquired thinking styles most preferable to a group of students from Curtin University of Technology Sarawak Campus of Malaysia (East Malaysia). The sample (N=244) consisted of business (n=154) and engineering (n= 90) students in the first and second year. To identify thinking style most preferable to students, the HBDI was employed. Analysis results indicated that in general Malaysian students used more of the left-hand side of their brain than the right side, primarily in A and B quadrants and their preferred thinking mode is analytical, rational, and logical. Similarly, QB was transcendence QA within the left hemisphere. QD learners preferred only intuitive and creative thinking styles over holistic, integrative, synthesizer thinking style, whereas no preference of any thinking style is shown in QC. In a study conducted by Bawaneh, Ahmad Nurulazam and Salmiza (2010) aimed at identifying the thinking styles held by 10 th grade students in Jordan and examining the relationship  between these styles and their preferred educational track. The results indicated no statistically significant difference in assigning students to the four thinking styles. In other words, Jordanian 10 th   grade students’ thinking styles were distributed proportionately into the four thinking styles of HWBM (A, B, C, and D). Problem statement Mcloughlin (1999) argued that student-thinking styles should be taken into account when designing content that need to be learned. Doing so facilitates thinking and content assimilation. In the same context, She (2005) considered thinking style as a fundamental factor in designing effective instructional practices for a wide student population. Stone (1986) (cited in Qtami & Qtami, 2000) stressed that identifying student-thinking styles plays a significant role to improve such operations as addition, encoding, logging, data process and assimilation, career choice, and lifelong thinking. Thinking styles help design activities and tasks that meet individual learners, and are effective in training, identifying thinking difficulty, and performance assessment of students. In context of gender, many studies (Sjoberg & Schreiner, 2005; Reiss & Zhang, 2006; and others) have shown that boys and girls possess different thinking methods due to the differences in the way they think and perceive their role in the classroom.
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