Schools experiment with ‘brain color’ to help students identify how they learn

Elementary school students in Wheeling and Buffalo Grove recently turned the tables on their teachers.

Using PowerPoint presentations and storyboards, students presented their teachers with research projects that examined their individual learning styles, and more specifically, their brain colors.

That’s right. They had learned to identify the color of their brains.

Elementary students in Wheeling Township Elementary District 21 attended a workshop led by personality expert and author Sheila Glazov of Tower Lakes, where she challenged them to research the following question: “How should your teachers teach you best?”

By formulating their results into a presentation for their teachers and parents, Glazov believes the children themselves have a better understanding of how they think and can succeed in school.

Glazov defines students with yellow brains as organizers — who make lists, hit their deadlines and follow the rules.

Those with blue brains are more audible learners, who listen to others and want to talk about their ideas before plunging into creative activities.

“Green-brained’ students are motivated by problem-solving. They have to reason through or process an assignment before moving ahead, and then they like to create a procedure for completing their work.

Finally, those with orange brains are hands-on learners, who like different styles of learning and not just sitting at a desk. They thrive on competition and like rapid results.

Glazov is a former Park Ridge teacher who developed the system and explored identifying different learning techniques in a series of books. The most recent one, “What Color is Your Brain?” came out three years ago and is into its second printing.

Laura Newcomer, the technology director at Longfellow School in Buffalo Grove has been using Glazov’s system for years with her enrichment classes.

“It helps students think and learn,” Newcomer says. “And once they learn about themselves, they want to learn about others.”

Basically, she adds, they learn better when they understand how they process things.

Glazov likens her visual cues to the learning indicators uncovered during a Myers Briggs personality test, only labeled in colors for students to remember.

Ultimately, she says, knowing their learning styles — and brain colors — will build students’ self-esteem, their problem-solving skills, and their appreciation for diversity in other students.

Students discovered that Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt were blue-brainers; Amelia Earhart had an orange brain. Courtesy Sheila Glazov
Longfellow School students in brain color training collect themselves for a photo. Adults in back are, from left, Sheila Glazov, Dyanne Wallner, Laura Newcomer and Catherine Joy. Courtesy Sheila Glazov

What type are you?

Examples of famous people Glazov identifies by brain color. While people are often blended colors (she considers President Obama to be blue/green), the following examples are people who predominately are one color over another.

Yellow: George Washington; Colin Powell; Margaret Thatcher; Emily Post; Sam Walton.

Blue: Abraham Lincoln; Mother Teresa; Martin Luther King Jr.; Eleanor Roosevelt; Robert Frost; Oprah Winfrey.

Green: Thomas Jefferson; Frank Lloyd Wright; Dr. Jonas Salk; Bill Gates; Thomas Edison.

Orange: Bill Clinton; Lee Iacocca; Golda Meir; Amelia Earhart; John Glenn.

Ÿ Excerpt from “What Color is Your Brain?” by Sheila Glazov.