Interview 3: (retired one year)
1) When and how did you learn of Brain Gym?
Twenty seven years ago in Lethbridge; it was a half day workshop and I really connected with the instructor. She encouraged me to become a trainer of the first level. I remember being so excited and then I had to buy their book (over $100 27 years ago!) Suddenly I was involved in a Pyramid business. But, I didn’t care; I just knew this would benefit kids.
2) What enticed you to learn more about it?
I knew it would work. It just made sense, balancing the mind and the body to work together; basically the balance between the physical and mental states as one. You could compare it to the Occupational and physical therapies our CARE people bring to the school. Look in their manuals- some of the exact movements are there!
3) Where did you get training?
Lethbridge was the first training and then I went to Calgary. After that I went to somewhere in Toronto for a week; it was really expensive.
4) How did you implement BG?
Well, I used it with my whole class first thing in the morning, or as a transition between activities. I also identified a few of my kids that really needed interventions. I made special time in their day to help them learn through the routines for their needs.
5) What were some of the benefits you noticed?
Well, the behaviours in my room just weren’t there. The kids loved doing it. They loved coming to reading class because we started with our routine for reading.
6) Do you feel BG met its claims of enhancing learning?
Absolutely, but can I prove it? No. I just know my own experience. I think the company is not going to waste time with sceptics- it works.
Summary of interviews:
These individuals were obviously positive and convinced that Brain Gym benefited their teaching practice and helped the students. They believed in this program as a support for all students and for their staffs. Could they explain actual philosophy behind the process? No, they encouraged me to find a training opportunity and were willing to give another name for a person to interview. They found the movement routines easy to learn and facilitate in their classrooms butoverall focused more on classroom management or body breaks rather than for the purpose of enhancing learning.
Each individual commented, outside of the interview questions, that Brain Gym International was a business designed to entice new trainers to come on board. The recruitment process could be compared to that of a multi-level marketing system. The higher the level of training, the more money you made. The more people you introduced to the system, the more money you made. Even though they discussed that the business side of Brain Gym bothered them, they felt the program still benefited students. This interviewer attempted to contact a representative from Brain Gym International to gain a better understanding of the business side of the company, but response was an encouragement to find and participate in a local training session then ask these questions after the experience.
Another commonality obtained from these interviews reflected lack of promotion of Brain Gym claims within their school environments. Each individual referred to the process as “breaks” from their curricular program, morning routine, or as a transition strategy.