Essential Question 4

What patterns or themes are evident in the research I read?  How do these themes inform my project and/or the projects of others in this PLN?

After reading through all the research I have collected I have begun to notice two strong themes permeating through all the information.  I began my research looking for information about using brain breaks in the classroom, and the benefit of incorporating physical activity in the classroom as well.  My findings demonstrated the first theme of the fact that incorporating play and movement in the classroom is beneficial for students in a variety of ways.  It helps engage students in learning, and some intentional physical activities can even promote coordination skills and focusing abilities.

The second theme I discovered in the literature I researched centers around a specific program.  As I was researching brain breaks, I found quite a few articles about the program Brain Gym.  This program consists of 26 different activities that are claimed to promote neurological re-patterning and facilitate whole brain learning (Hyatt, 2007).  This is an extremely popular program that has existed for over 30 years, and is used in over 80 countries (Spaulding, Mostert, & Beam, 2010).  However despite the longevity and popularity of this program, many professional researchers deny the credibility of the program, and suggest not to use it.  They claim that the Brain Gym program has no credible research to back its claims, and that research that has been done by the program to provide evidence for its claims, contain methodological errors (Hyatt, 2007).

The research that I have uncovered has really piqued my curiosity.  I believe the researchers I have read about that say that Brain Gym does not have credible research, but I do not think I believe when researchers say that educators should not use the program.  I am very curious to actually try the program out myself and try it and see how it affects my students.  The undeniable popularity of this program, across the entire world, is too strong of a factor to deny and to completely discredit the Brain Gym program, I believe, and I want to try it for myself before I decide if it is a good program or not.

References:

Hyatt, K. J. (2007). Brain Gym: Building Stronger Brains or Wishful Thinking?.  Remedial & Special Education, 28(2), 117-124.

Lucinda S. Spaulding , Mark P. Mostert & Andrea P. Beam (2010) Is Brain Gym® an Effective Educational Intervention?, Exceptionality: A Special Education Journal, 18:1, 18-30, DOI:
10.1080/09362830903462508

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6 thoughts on “Essential Question 4

  1. That’s great that you have narrowed your focus so much! Our resource teacher introduced me to Brain Gym a few years ago, but I never ended up fully implementing it. I’ll be curious to see what you find out. I think that a lot of brain breaks that I come across today have some basis in the brain gym model. When you mentioned that some research discredits Brain Gym, I was inspired to do a Google search and saw some evidence of that. I’ll be interested to see what you find out. How are you going to measure the effectiveness of the program? I’m still trying to figure that out for my own research project.

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  2. I know, after finding out how controversial Brain Gym is, I became so much more interested in it! I am thinking of taking data on student engagement before implementing Brain Gym and then taking engagement data at the same time of day after implementing Brain Gym, and comparing the two.

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  3. Even though I have used brain breaks for years, I have never heard of Brain Gym. When you mentioned that it has been around for 30 years, I wondered if it was outdated (Jane Fonda-ish), so I checked it out on the internet. I am pleasantly surprised that what I saw seemed current! I wonder how much it has been modified over the last thirty years to keep up with the research, or to make it more acceptable to the researches that say not use the program.

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  4. This is going to be some interesting reading! I see that a few of you have the same topics. I noticed that you have discovered the same thing, that Brain Gym isn’t well received. I’m curious to read your further findings. My research is on student engagement and your research kind of ties in with that. What is your grade level again? Good luck with the rest of your research.

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  5. I think your project idea is great! I too am curious to read your findings! I didn’t realize how controversial brain gym is. I read a few articles about Brain Gym when researching my own topic and it seems like a really awesome program!

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  6. hmdavis2013 says:

    I am grateful that you have brought up the side of the research that is not so nice to Brain Gym. However, I am not sure that they really can say it is bad. Is it all that it says it is? Who knows? Is it more effective than just having students sit around and listen and work? I’d say most likely, simply for the idea that research shows that movement is helpful in the classroom. Brain Gym is a platform for doing just that.

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