The results of the data collection period were not necessarily what was expected. Going into this project, I had expected to see an immediate increase in student engagement once Brain Gym was implemented. It was for this reason that I specifically took data before the Brain Gym implementation so that I could clearly see the increase in gains. It took an entire week however, until I began to see a noticeable increase in student engagement levels. By the time data collection was over, there were only three significant data points that demonstrated an increase in student engagement. These final points suggest that Brain Gym does help increase student engagement, but a longer data collection period would be necessary to solidify this suggestion. I believe that there are a few different factors that contributed to the results that were collected by this project.
Firstly, like people of all ages, students are creatures of habit. School children thrive on routine, and anytime that routine is changed in some way, there must be allowances made for an adjustment period. The first week of data observations that was very similar to the pre-implementation data observations was an effect of the change in routine. This first week that did not demonstrate any changes was due to the students in the classroom adjusting to the new change in routine in the classroom. By the second week, when the routine was internalized, and the classroom schedule has once again become predictable for the students. The data observations collected during the second week reflect real results and effects of the implementation and use of Brain Gym.
The second reason why observation data could have been skewed, apart from the adjustment period, was because of the nature of a few particular students in the classroom. After reviewing the recordings that were taken of the classroom, I began to notice that a majority of the off task behavior was coming from the same three students day after day. The students in question are all students that have extenuating circumstances that make school more challenging for them. One of the students is cognitively impaired, another is learning disabled and the last student has attendance issues, and finds school challenging when he attends because he misses so much from his absences. The three students caused the data to be more misrepresented than was actually observed. Were data collected using only the students who do not have any extra difficulties with school, I imagine that the data would have show increases in engagement sooner, and that the increases would have been sharper.
Apart from all the potential inconsistencies and problems with data collection, I received very positive feed back from my students in the Brain Gym surveys and from the students selected to be in the focus group. Because of the feedback I have gotten from my students, in combination with the promising results from the observations, I am going to continue using Brain Gym in my classroom. I have decided that the benefits we receive from taking these purposeful breaks are well worth the loss of instructional time.