Monday, June 24, 2013

Neuroscientist Claims School Brain Workout is ‘Nonsense’

Brain Gym
Brain Gym (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Schools Improvement Net:

Exercises seeking to stimulate the brain, which are used in hundreds of schools, are “nonsense” with no proven benefit, a neuroscientist has said.

This is from the Times …

Brain Gym, a series of movements that are claimed to improve blood flow to the brain, use concepts with no scientific basis, according to Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, who criticised the creators of the programme for refusing to conduct randomised control trials.

Professor Blakemore made her criticisms in a speech to recognise school science teachers hosted by the Wellcome Trust.

“It’s nonsense,” Professor Blakemore said. “All programmes that claim to optimise brain development and learning need to undergo randomised control trials, and as far as I know there are no randomised control trials of Brain Gym, so we cannot know what aspect of its exercises - if any - are having an effect.”

Brain Gym International did not respond to requests for comment, but its UK website says: “We are not yet at the stage where we have any scientific evidence for what happens in the brain through the use of Brain Gym.”

More at: School brain workout is ‘nonsense’

Is this fair criticism or is Professor Blakemore demanding a higher burden of proof for these exercises than most other approaches used in education? 

Do you use these approaches and find them helpful? Or do you worry they are a gimmick and agree that more research should be undertaken before using them in class?
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