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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

‘Brain Gym Exercises’ for classroom excellence

U.S.-trained consultant and educationist

(The Hindu, Education Plus, Chennai, 13:10:2008)


Brain Gym helps in learning-related difficulties such as dyslexia, ADD, poor memory, concentration etc.

Competitive edge: With more emphasis on classroom performance, parents want to apply the best techniques to make their child intellectually superior.

In the era of perfect competition, parenting has become a full time responsibility. With more and more emphasis on classroom performance, every parent wants to apply the best known techniques to make their child intellectually superior. Today parenting has become a ‘technology’! To tap the full potential of children we need to maintain the brain well.

Over the years many techniques and tools have been invented to keep the brain fully functioning to its optimum capacity. In the recent past Brain Gym Exercises are becoming very popular all over the world.

Way back in 1969 Dr. Paul Dennison and Gail E. Dennison, educational therapists in America developed the Brain Gym exercises.

They were studying brain functions and Kinesiology. Kinesiology is a kind of self-help skill for improving general well-being of the human system.

When properly applied kinesiology will help to balance and fine-tune emotions, feelings and the mental energy. Kinesiology is about study of human movements and how it can influence the brain function and mental fitness.

While working with children who had learning difficulties, he noticed that the human body has acupressure points, which when activated will substantially improve the functioning of the brain.

One more related topic to understand the relevance of Brain Gym exercise is Neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is a medical term which deals with the brain’s ability to adapt itself to the outside world. According to the principles of neuroplasticity, when we carry out certain challenging exercises, the brain matter adapts and re-arranges itself to help overcome brain related difficulties such as absent mindedness, lack of concentration etc, through increased secretion of neuropeptides.

When properly applied Brain Gym exercises helps learning related difficulties such as dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), poor memory, poor organizing skill, lack of body coordination, poor concentration etc.

Simple exercises

We are aware how these parameters will affect the quality of teaching and learning. The Brain Gym exercises are very simple and can be practiced very easily.

‘Drink water’ is one such exercise. As the name indicates, it recommends that the children drink water just before the class starts. We all know that 80 per cent of the brain contains water and lack of water will lead to dehydration which will in turn affect the quality of the concentration.

‘Cross crawl’ is another interesting exercise which will integrate the Right and the Left side of the brain. This hemispherical integration is very important for planning and execution which will decide the quality of time management.

Some students cannot recall anything they read when they get into the examination due to anxiety and nervousness. ‘Hook Ups’ is a simple Brain Gym exercise which claims to calm down a person and reduces test anxiety.

‘Lazy Eights’ is another interesting exercise which claims to improve eye-muscles coordination and peripheral vision besides integrating the Right and the Left side of the brain. Brain Gym specialists claim that this exercise improves reading speed.

Some parents complain that their children find it difficult to deal with spelling, math and chemical symbols and spelling. ‘Double doodle’ is a Brain Gym exercise which will help students to overcome this problem.‘The Elephant’ is a Brain Gym exercise which improves such skills.

Brain Gym exercises are simple and easy to do activities dealing with four of the brain’s three dimensions: laterality, focus and centering. Laterality is the ability to integrate the three important pathways to learning, viz, the visual, auditory and the kinesthetic.

Focus is the ability to connect the back and the frontal lobes of the brain which will improve the quality of comprehension. Centering is the process of coordinating the top and the bottom portion of the brain which helps emotional balance and reduce the stress level.

Parental guidance

Parental care and guidance is very important to deal with the education related issues. Given the age and lack of maturity, the children may not be able to use all their resources and potential to perform at the best.

The school administration should also train their physical education teachers on new techniques such as Brain Gym so that all the students can have the benefits of the same.




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