Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers

BrainGym, How pseudoscience infiltrates school curriculum 24/09/08

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2008 at 10:54 PM

Our next talk on 24/09/08 will be

BrainGym, How pseudoscience infiltrate school curriculum.

BrainGym is a commercial training program that makes various claims about the benefits of certain exercises and postures in learning.

The Website for the Brain Gym Australia ( http://www.braingym.org.au/ ) states that:

For more than 30 years and in over 80 countries Brain Gym has been helping children, adults and seniors to:

  • Learn ANYTHING faster and more easily
  • Perform better at sports
  • Be more focused and organized
  • Start and finish projects with ease
  • Overcome learning challenges
  • Reach new levels of excellence

However the theoretical foundation for the program has been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community, who describe it as pseudoscience with even founder Paul Dennison, a Californian educator who created the programme, admitting that many claims in his teacher’s guide were based on his “hunches” and were not proper science.

While peer reviewed scientific studies into Brain Gym have found no significant improvement in general academic skills and claimed results have been put down to the placebo effect and the benefits of breaks and exercise, this program is becoming increasingly popular here in Australia.

Enter Margaret Kittson! With over 30 years experience as a teacher and librarian in a range of government and private schools, predominantly in Queensland, Margaret has had enough of people who think they know everything about education and teaching because they once went to school, people who believe that there are ‘magic bullet’ solutions to complex issues in educating children out there which just need to be imposed on to recalcitrant teachers.

Her presentation is inspired by a first hand experience with one such purported ‘magic bullet’ solution: Brain Gym. The question which needs to be asked is just how something so totally grounded in pseudo-science (Applied Kinesiology in this instance) gain so much traction in educational circles.

Should be a really interesting night and I hope you can all make it and as always feel free to bring anyone who might be interested.

As always we meet at 6pm in room 1.14 of the G23 Multi-media Building and snacks will be provided again of course!

See you Wednesday,


Jayson D Cooke
GU Skeptics and Freethinkers.

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