Now that I finally finished grading the tests and papers from the graduate courses I teach I decided to sit down and write about my latest Brain Gym class. I trained 25 teachers in this latestBrain Gym 101 class and what a wonderful group they were! I always think the teachers and parents who are attracted to this “play” are so open to new ideas and eager to help children learn.
It was cool to see so many “aha” moments during the three day training, from the realization of how their own Brain Organizational profile affects the way they teach and communicate, to the realization of how everything a child does in a classroom, whether it’s at school or at home, is an attempt to make their way in the world of learning, even when we interpret their behavior as “problematical” or “disobedient”. Examples of this are children turning their head when you are talking to them (they may be accessing their dominant ear or may need to switch off their vision to hear you), or children teetering backward on their chairs (they are attempting to balance the focus dimension), or popping out of their chairs when they do a written assignment (they have an unintegrated Symmetrical Tonic Neck reflex)
Another “aha” moment was seeing teachers attempting to crawl on the floor and realizing that they could not do it contra-laterally (opposite hand and leg) but were crawling using the arm and leg on the same side. Some of these teachers shared that they had had trouble learning to read. Crawling is such an important stage for the child to be able to sit in a chair and read and write successfully. While a child is crawling using opposite hand and leg their eyes are crossing the visual midfield and they are turning their head so they are developing both eyes and ears.
Teachers also loved hearing about how to help their kinesthetic learners take in information with greater ease. These students need to move to learn so putting a squishy ball or play dough in their hands helps them listen and pay attention with greater ease. Also letting them sit on big exercise balls allows them to bounce which allows them to pay attention.
I told this class what I always tell a class that if they learn one thing, learning to honor their brain profile and the profiles of their students and children is a major accomplishment. So many times we push children beyond where their developmental stage is and the result is stress and chaos. So “backing up in order to move forward” is a wonderful phrase I’ve learned in my Brain Gym training. This means that we meet the child in their developmental stage. For example, some children can only read successfully lying on the floor on their stomach. They didn’t get enough “tummy time” so that’s what they need to do in order to be able to read sitting in a chair and finally standing. These positions are the progressions from less mature to more mature body positions leading to successful reading.
So I invite you to post your comments and questions so we can share our knowledge. Here’s to making learning stress free and fun!