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|Founders||Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison|
|Type||Nonprofit 501(c)3 in Education|
|Product||Methods purported to aid learning|
|Website||Brain Gym International|
Brain Gym International is the trade name of the Educational Kinesiology Foundation, a California nonprofit organization that promotes a series of exercises called "Brain Gym" that the company claims improve academic performance. The underlying ideas are pseudoscience, and as of 2014 there was no good evidence that the exercises are effective in improving learning.
"Brain Gym International" is the trade name of the Educational Kinesiology Foundation, a California nonprofit corporation that was incorporated in 1987 and that received its IRS ruling as a nonprofit in 1992. "Brain Gym" is a registered trademark owned by the company.
In the 1970s, Paul and Gail Dennison developed a set of physical exercises that they say improve children's ability to learn and that they say are based in neuroscience; they called their approach "educational kinesthesiology". The company makes money training people in the methods, and licenses the right to use the "Brain Gym" trademark to people whom it trains; the trained people use branded books and other materials they buy from the company. Schools pay the trained people to work in schools, training teachers and working with students.
In 2005 the company claimed to be selling its programs in 80 countries and by 2007 it had been widely covered in the press. In a 2013 article in the The Economist commenting on the wave of "brain training" programs being brought to market at that time, the organization was used as an example of commercializing neuroscience in a way that scientists found unsupportable but that received widespread adoption for a time. The program was adopted widely in schools in the UK and appeared on many UK government websites as of 2006.
The Brain Gym program calls for children to repeat certain simple movements such as crawling, yawning, making symbols in the air, and drinking water which are claimed to increase blood flow to the brain, "integrate" the brain, and "repattern" the brain.
The claims of the organization for the effectiveness of its methods in improving educational outcomes were not supported by evidence as of 2014, and although the organization says the methods are grounded in good neuroscience, the underlying ideas are pseudoscience.
One of the underlying ideas is that the exercises are meant to ‘balance’ the brain hemispheres so the two "sides" work together better; there is also a notion of integrating the "top" parts of the brain with the "lower" parts of the brain to integrate thought and emotion, as well as integrating visual, auditory, and motor skills; these are all fairly common "neuromyths" based on work published by Samuel Orton in the 1930s.
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