You are on page 1of 10

Brain Gym

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brain Gym From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: <a href=navigation , search Pseudoscientific concepts Claims: Any learning challenges can be overcome by finding the right movements, to subsequently create new pathways in the brain. The repetition of certain movements "activates the brain for optimal storage and retrieval of information." Related scientific disciplines: Physiology , Neuroscience Year proposed: Original Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. proponents: Dennison Current Paul and Gail Dennison proponents: Brain Gym is a commercial training program that claims that any learning challenges can be overcome by finding the right movements, the use of which will create new pathways in the brain. They claim that the repetition of the 26 Brain Gym movements "activates the brain for optimal storage and retrieval of information." Its theoretical foundation has been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community, who describe it as pseudoscience . Peer reviewed scientific studies into Brain Gym have found no significant improvement in general academic skills. Its claimed results have been put down to the placebo effect and the benefits of breaks and exercise. Its founder, Paul Dennison, has admitted that many of Brain Gym's claims are not based good science, but on his "hunches". It is widely used in British state schools. It is also offered to both children and adults in parts of the United States and Canada. " id="pdf-obj-0-13" src="pdf-obj-0-13.jpg">

Claims:

Any learning challenges can be overcome by finding the right movements, to subsequently create new pathways in the brain. The repetition of certain movements "activates the brain for optimal storage and retrieval of information."

Related scientific disciplines:

1980

Original

proponents:

Current

Paul and Gail Dennison

proponents:

Brain Gym is a commercial training program that claims that any learning challenges can be overcome by finding the right movements, the use of which will create new pathways in the brain. They claim that the repetition of the 26 Brain Gym movements "activates the brain for optimal storage and retrieval of information." Its theoretical foundation has been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community, who describe it as pseudoscience. Peer reviewed scientific studies into Brain Gym have found no significant improvement in general academic skills. Its claimed results have been put down to the placebo effect and the benefits of breaks and exercise. Its founder, Paul Dennison, has admitted that many of Brain Gym's claims are not based good science, but on his "hunches". [1] It is widely used in British state schools. [citation needed] It is also offered to both children and adults in parts of the United States and Canada.

Contents

Contents <a href=[ hide ]1 History2 Claims3 Organisational structure4 Scientific criticism5 Criticism in the media6 See also7 References8 External links [ edit ] History What became Brain Gym began in Paul and Gail Dennison's work in the 1970s, researching more effective ways to help learning disabled children and adults. They call their field of study , which they founded during this period, "Educational Kinesiology" (Edu-K), a form of applied kinesiology . They define Edu-K as "learning through movement". . Some of the specific movements the program uses were, according to the Brain Gym website, developed from Paul Dennison's "knowledge of the relationship of movement to perception, and the impact of these on fine motor and academic skills." Others were learned during his training as a marathon runner, his study of vision training, his study of Jin Shin Jitsu (a form of acupressure), and his study of Applied Kinesiology. The Dennisons presented their program under its current name in their booklets Switching On: A Guide to Edu-Kinesthetics (1980) and Brain Gym – Simple Activities for Whole Brain Learning (1986). Brain Gym is now used in more than 80 countries. [ edit ] Claims " id="pdf-obj-1-56" src="pdf-obj-1-56.jpg">

[edit] History

What became Brain Gym began in Paul and Gail Dennison's work in the 1970s, researching more effective ways to help learning disabled children and adults. They call their field of study, which they founded during this period, "Educational Kinesiology" (Edu-K), a form of applied kinesiology. They define Edu-K as "learning through movement". [2] .

Some of the specific movements the program uses were, according to the Brain Gym website, developed from Paul Dennison's "knowledge of the relationship of movement to perception, and the impact of these on fine motor and academic skills." Others were learned during his training as a marathon runner, his study of vision training, his study of Jin Shin Jitsu (a form of acupressure), and his study of Applied Kinesiology. [3]

The Dennisons presented their program under its current name in their booklets Switching On: A Guide to Edu-Kinesthetics (1980) and Brain Gym – Simple Activities for Whole Brain Learning (1986). [4]

Brain Gym is now used in more than 80 countries. [2]

[edit] Claims

Rubbing the brain buttons, in order to "improve blood flow to the brain", to "switch on The program is based on the premise that all learning begins with movement, and that any learning challenges can be overcome by finding the right movements, to subsequently create new pathways in the brain . It claims that the repetition of certain movements "activates the brain for optimal storage and retrieval of information" and "promotes efficient communication among the many nerve cells and functional centers located throughout the brain and sensory motor system." There are 26 of these exercises, which are designed to "integrate body and mind" in order to improve "concentration, memory, reading, writing, organizing, listening, physical coordination, and more." Educational Kinesiology teaches that brain function is defined in terms of three dimensions: laterality is the ability to co-ordinate the left and right sides of the brain, focus is the ability to co-ordinate the front and back of the brain, and centering is the ability to co-ordinate the top and bottom of the brain. According to Brain Gym, people whose brains are not interconnected properly in the three different dimensions suffer from corresponding deficits; for example, the ability to move and think at the same time is dependent on laterality (left to right co-ordination). The Brain Gym exercises are claimed to work by interconnecting the brain in these three dimensions. Anatomical , physiological and neurological research does not support this model. [ edit ] Organisational structure The Educational Kinesiology Foundation is a non-profit educational organisation based in Ventura, California . It was established in 1987. It has a board of directors, but their names are not listed on the Brain Gym website. Brain Gym International is also based in Ventura. The relationship between the two organisations is not explained on the Brain Gym website. Brain Gym is a registered trademark of Brain Gym International. " id="pdf-obj-2-2" src="pdf-obj-2-2.jpg">

Rubbing the brain buttons, in order to "improve blood flow to the brain", to "switch on the entire brain". [5]

The program is based on the premise that all learning begins with movement, and that any learning challenges can be overcome by finding the right movements, to subsequently create new pathways in the brain. It claims that the repetition of certain movements "activates the brain for optimal storage and retrieval of information" and "promotes efficient communication among the many nerve cells and functional centers located throughout the brain and sensory motor system." [6] There are 26 of these exercises, which are designed to "integrate body and mind" in order to improve "concentration, memory, reading, writing, organizing, listening, physical coordination, and more." [2]

Educational Kinesiology teaches that brain function is defined in terms of three dimensions: laterality is the ability to co-ordinate the left and right sides of the brain, focus is the ability to co-ordinate the front and back of the brain, and centering is the ability to co-ordinate the top and bottom of the brain. According to Brain Gym, people whose brains are not interconnected properly in the three different dimensions suffer from corresponding deficits; for example, the ability to move and think at the same time is dependent on laterality (left to right co-ordination). The Brain Gym exercises are claimed to work by interconnecting the brain in these three dimensions. [7] Anatomical, physiological and neurological research does not support this model. [8]

[edit] Organisational structure

The Educational Kinesiology Foundation is a non-profit educational organisation based in Ventura, California. It was established in 1987. It has a board of directors, but their names are not listed on the Brain Gym website. Brain Gym International is also based in Ventura. The relationship between the two organisations is not explained on the Brain Gym website. Brain Gym is a registered trademark of Brain Gym International. [9]

The Brain Gym instructor program is open to anyone. To become qualied as a consultant there is a four stage training program, which consists of fourteen short courses of between twenty-four and forty hours in length. The trainee must also complete fifteen case studies, and attend six private consultations with a qualified instructor - these can be completed over the telephone. [10][11]

[edit] Scientific criticism

The Brain Gym instructor program is open to anyone. To become qualied as a consultant there [ edit ] Scientific criticism Doing the "hook-ups" movement, "to calm the mind and improve concentration". Brain Gym has been criticized as being wholly unscientific in a wide-ranging and authoritative review of research into neuroscience and education published in 2007 by the UK Economic and Social Research Council ' s Teaching and Learning Research Programme . The report noted that doing any exercise can improve alertness, and exercise systems like Brain Gym, regardless of their pseudoscientific ideas, may help for that reason. In May 2006, Professor Usha Goswami, the director of Cambridge University ' s Centre for Neuroscience in Education, wrote an article published in Nature , in which she says that BrainGym and similar programmes are based on "neuromyths" that "need to be eliminated". She attributes the "success of the brain-based learning industry" to "inspirational marketing" which "ensures that teachers who attend these conferences do get 'sold' on the supposed benefits of these programmes" and to " placebo effects" that "may indeed bring benefits to children in the short term." In summary, she says that teachers are very interested in neuroscience, but science is not yet ready to offer practical advice. In 2008 Sense About Science published a briefing document in which thirteen British scientists responded to statements taken from the "Brain Gym guide (Teacher’s Edition)". Each of them entirely rejected the statements that were put to them. Brain Gym's scientific content was described as "pseudo-scientific". One of the scientists, Professor of " id="pdf-obj-3-11" src="pdf-obj-3-11.jpg">

Doing the "hook-ups" movement, "to calm the mind and improve concentration". [5]

Brain Gym has been criticized as being wholly unscientific in a wide-ranging and authoritative review of research into neuroscience and education published in 2007 by the UK Economic and Social Research Council's Teaching and Learning Research Programme. [12] The report noted that doing any exercise can improve alertness, and exercise systems like Brain Gym, regardless of their pseudoscientific ideas, may help for that reason. [13]

In May 2006, Professor Usha Goswami, the director of Cambridge University's Centre for Neuroscience in Education, wrote an article published in Nature, in which she says that BrainGym and similar programmes are based on "neuromyths" that "need to be eliminated". She attributes the "success of the brain-based learning industry" to "inspirational marketing" which "ensures that teachers who attend these conferences do get 'sold' on the supposed benefits of these programmes" and to "placebo effects" that "may indeed bring benefits to children in the short term." In summary, she says that teachers are very interested in neuroscience, but science is not yet ready to offer practical advice. [14]

In 2008 Sense About Science published a briefing document in which thirteen British scientists responded to statements taken from the "Brain Gym guide (Teacher’s Edition)". Each of them entirely rejected the statements that were put to them. Brain Gym's scientific content was described as "pseudo-scientific". One of the scientists, Professor of

neuroscience Colin Blakemore, said that "there have been a few peer reviewed scientific studies into the methods of Brain Gym, but none of them found a significant improvement in general academic skills." [15] Sense about Science, along with the British Neuroscience Association and the Physiological Society, wrote to every Local Education Authority in Britain to warn them about the program. [16]

In 2007 Dr. Keith Hyatt of Western Washington University wrote a paper in which he analysed the available research into Brian Gym, as well as its theoretical basis. He concluded that Brain Gym is not supported by research, and that its theoretical basis does not stand up. The paper also encouraged teachers to learn how to read and understand research, to avoid teaching material that has no rational basis. [17]

[edit] Criticism in the media

Brain Gym has been heavily criticized by Dr. Ben Goldacre of The Guardian's Bad Science pages, who found no supporting evidence for the assertions put forward by Brain Gym proponents in any of the main public research databases. [18] Upon learning that the program was used at hundreds of UK state schools, he called it a "vast empire of pseudoscience" and went on to dissect parts of their teaching materials, refuting, for instance, claims that rubbing the chest would stimulate the carotid arteries, that "processed foods do not contain water", or that liquids other than water "are processed in the body as food, and do not serve the body's water needs." [19] Many teachers responded by writing letters in support of Brain Gym based on their first hand experience and its effectiveness in classroom settings. Goldacre reiterated his point that exercises and breaks were good for students, and that he was merely attacking "the stupid underlying science of Brain Gym". [20]

In a separate column, Guardian writer Philip Beadle sided with him, adding that Goldacre's "argument is with what Dr Barry Beyerstein, a professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, describes as 'commercial ventures promoted by hucksters who mislead consumers into thinking that their products are sound applications of scientific knowledge'." [21]

Newsnight did a piece on Brain Gym in early April 2008, which included an interview between Jeremy Paxman and Paul Dennison. During the course of the interview Dennison was challenged on the fact that many of the statements in the Brain Gym Teachers' Manual are "arrant nonsense". Dennison said that he "leaves the explanations to the experts", and, when challenged on his assertion that "processed foods do not contain water", his defence was that "15 years ago that was the best information I had, and no- one has complained about the teachers edition so far". [22]

Charlie Brooker, also writing in the Guardian, has expressed incredulity that the Department for Children, Schools and Families is supportive of Brain Gym, despite its broad condemnation by scientific organisations, and despite it being apparently nonsense.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • 1. ^ "News in brief", The Times (2008-04-05). Retrieved on 1 September 2008. "Paul Dennison, a Californian educator who created the programme, admitted that many claims in his teacher’s guide were based on his 'hunches' and were not proper science."

08-11.

11.

"Many of the BRAIN GYM activities, like the Owl, the Elephant, and the

Alphabet 8s, were developed from Dr. Dennison’s knowledge of the relationship

of movement to perception, and the impact of these on fine motor and academic skills. Others were learned during his training as a marathon runner, his study of vision training, his study of Jin Shin Jitsu (a form of acupressure), and his study of Applied Kinesiology (taught to the public as the Touch for Health synthesis)."

11.

11.

11.

"BRAIN GYM works by facilitating optimal achievement of mental potential

through specific movement experiences. All acts of speech, hearing, vision, and coordination are learned through a complex repertoire of movements. BRAIN GYM promotes efficient communication among the many nerve cells and

functional centers located throughout the brain and sensory motor system."

15.

"The Dennisons describe brain functioning in terms of three dimensions––

laterality, focus, and centering. Laterality is the ability to coordinate one side of the brain with the other, especially in the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic midfield, the area where the two sides overlap. This skill is fundamental to the ability to read, write, and communicate. It is also essential for fluid whole-body

movement, and for the ability to move and think at the same time. Focus is the

ability to coordinate the back and front areas of the ability to coordinate the top and bottom areas of the

brain. ...

brain. ...

Centering is the The BRAIN GYM

movements interconnect the brain in these dimensions, allowing us to easily learn through all the senses, to remember what we learn, and to participate more fully in "

the events of our

lives. ...

9.

^ "Brain Gym - FAQ". The Official Brain Gym Web Site. Retrieved on 2008-08-

15.

Educational Kinesiology Foundation (2007). Retrieved on 2008-08-15.

 

08-15.

03.

"The pseudo-scientific terms that are used to explain how this works, let alone

the concepts they express, are unrecognisable within the domain of neuroscience."

03.

"short sessions of Brain Gym exercise have been shown to improve response

times, and such strategies, if they are effective, may work because exercise can improve alertness."

work.

...

There have been a few peer reviewed scientific studies into the methods of Brain Gym, but none of them found a significant improvement in general academic skills."

But in

... stark contrast, the science they use to justify this so often seems to be bogus,

empty PR, that promotes basic scientific misunderstandings, and most of all is completely superfluous in every sense except the commercial: because the ropey promotional "science" is the cornerstone of their commercial operation, they need it to promote themselves as experts selling a product that is unique and distinct from the obvious, sensible diet and exercise advice that you can't copyright."

  • 21. ^ Philip Beadle (2006-06-13). "Keep your pupils stretched and watered", The Guardian. Retrieved on 3 August 2007. "[Ben Goldacre's] argument is with what Dr Barry Beyerstein, a professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, describes as "commercial ventures promoted by hucksters who mislead consumers into thinking that their products are sound applications of scientific knowledge."

  • 22. ^ "Interview with Paul Dennison", Newsnight (2008-04-02). Retrieved on 12 September 2008. "Is the fact that you're not medically qualified explanation enough for statements in this teachers manual of the kind that "processed foods do not contain water", which you know is arrant nonsense?"

  • 23. ^ Brooker, Charlie (2008-04-07). "Charlie Brooker on the pseudoscience of Brain Gym", The Guardian. Retrieved on 1 September 2008. "All of which sounds like hooey to me. And also to the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society and the charity Sense About Science, who have written to every local education authority in the land to complain about Brain Gym's misrepresentation of, um, reality."

[edit] External links

Views

Personal tools

Navigation

Navigation

 

 

Search

 
 
 

Go

Search
Search

Interaction

 
 

 

 

Toolbox

 
 

 

Languages

 
 

 
 This page was last modified on 10 November 2008, at 16:50.  All text isGNU Free Documentation License .  (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc ., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity . Privacy policyAbout WikipediaDisclaimers " id="pdf-obj-9-2" src="pdf-obj-9-2.jpg">

This page was last modified on 10 November 2008, at 16:50.

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

(See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy