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The Effectiveness of Brain Gym Survey - Year R/1/2

Discussion in 'Primary' started by loo16, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. loo16

    loo16 New commenter

    My name is Lucy and I am studying for a BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree. I am in my final year and currently collecting data for my dissertation which is on Brain Gym and if it is an effective method of developing the concentration skills of primary school children.
    After the success of the Seating Survey I would be extremely grateful if you could spend a few minutes completing my survey. The link is at the bottom of this thread. Your responses will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
    Thank you in advance

  2. Sorry, linking in chrome, not sure how to make it open in a new tab or window.
  3. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    What a load of rubbish brain gym is. Waste of time and a brilliant way to distract children from their learning!! Please don't write an essay/thesis praising this over-hyped Americanised cra*p
  4. How about opening it out to include the related, and just a dodgy IMO, programmes that claim to help with dyslexia (as Brain -Gym does) such as Dore, Primary Movement and INPP
    www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/patterning.html Quack Watch examines Doman and Delacato's 'patterning' theory.
    www.srmhp.org/archives/patterning.html Psychomotor Patterning =pseudoscience

    BadScience on Dore


    Dore: Curing dyslexia and ADHD by training motor co-ordination: Miracle or myth?
  5. Before the anti-Brain Gym lobby carries all before it, can I just add an important proviso? Many learning difficulties, and many therapeutic interventions, are complex. They are portmanteaux definitions made up of many component parts. Learning difficulties that carry the same label - such as 'dyslexia' - might actually vary widely, qualitatively and quantitatively, between individuals.
    So some aspects of a complex intervention might be very effective in treating some aspects of a learning difficulty. But the whole intervention might not help with all variants of a labeled condition. So dismissing a complex intervention out of hand might be as hasty as accepting it without question.
    Quasi-scientific interventions like Brain Gym usually have a theoretical model underpinning them, recommend a set of interventions, and provide a set of explanations about how the interventions work. Any or all of these component parts can be wrong. Usually some of them are wrong - which means it's a mistake to assume they are all right, or that they are all wrong.
    Taking the theoretical model for Brain Gym, there's little doubt from the research literature that movement is profoundly important in learning and development and that integrating programmed exercise into the school timetable would be beneficial. But because a bit of the theory is right, doesn't mean it is all right.
    There are aspects of the interventions that I recognize from my son's occupational therapy sessions. Crossing the mid-line, for example. I have doubts about some of the theory underpinning OT practices to be honest, but there's little doubt that crossing the midline exercises have helped children with specific difficulties in that area. It doesn't follow that Brain Gym's explanation for why crossing the midline exercises are effective is correct. Or that they will be beneficial for all children.
    What worries me about blanket dismissals of complex interventions is that babies are in danger of being thrown out with bathwater. I can just see some OT's recommendations being dismissed because they are ‘from Brain Gym' rather than because they are actually based on experience of what works for specific developmental difficulties.
    The same caveat applies to Dore, fish oils and other sometimes effective interventions that Ben Goldacre has had a pop at. And these critisicms could be extended, heaven forfend, to synthetic phonics, if we're not careful.
  6. The problem is that Brain gym is not a complex intervention. It is a hotch potch of bits and pieces pulled in from all over the place; many of which are scientifically dubious, or, like 'brain buttons', complete nonsense. It is also a brilliant money spinner...

    Most practitioners don't have the time, or sufficient expertise, to sort out the gold from the dross and a significant number are sucked in completely.

    I had rather that an intervention was proven to be completely scientifically sound before it is allowed over the threshold of a school.

    I don't think that you can attack SP on any element of it being scientifically unsound...(though I am sure you will)
  7. I'll buy that.
    Well you're in for a long wait. As far as I am aware, and adult standing on their hind legs talking to a group of children is not proven to be completely scientifically sound as a means of educating them, nor is shoving them into classes with a bunch of other kids born in the same year, but we still persist in doing that.
    From what you and your colleagues have told me, and from what I've read of the research I think SP does have a really good evidence base. What I'm sceptical about is some of the SP schemes and the claims made for SP.
    Since using SP with my son, he's been able to identify some of his problems with speech sound discrimination and I have realised that the Jolly Phonics books we bought when he started school aren't actually systematic in their approach. The first whole word introduced - in book 2 - is 'curly' - despite the fact that children up to that point had only learned satpinc & ck. No wonder he got confused.
    I'm still concerned that anything bearing the label synthetic phonics is perceived as a Good Thing and will be expected to eradicate illiteracy - until it doesn't and then it will go the way of braingym. Because people want an off-the-shelf intervention, not an understanding of how children learn.
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I sort of agree with maizie and elsie
    I'm not sure that Brain Gym lives up to the label on the package but some of the exercises carefully chosen do help (but probably not in the ways claimed)
    Elsie I dislike the JP reading books, although the initial teaching programme (JP handbook) is very effective. I would recommend anyone using JP to be very selective about other products most aren't necessary.

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