This headmistress must be feeling quite embarrassed right about now.
Ooooh this is a good, good day. Our main man Ben Goldacre has been defending the castle of reason from the pseudo-science bullshit that infests our schools in the form of Brain Gym since 2003. And now in Space Year 2008 it seems it that we've finally reached the critical mass needed for all hell to break lose about the biggest con story in school education this decade.
First up we got a great Newsnight investigation into Brain Gym. If you don't know why this nonsense should make you blood boil with righteous fury then watch it below:
Now that your seething with righteous indignation I'll continue, as you see it doesn't end there. Next we get an interview with the inventor of Brain Gym. Who needs to be made as visible as possible because he's a rambling idiotic meathead who could bring down Brain Gym on it's own if all the people using it were ever to meet him. His main method of arguing seems to be gibbering incoherently whilst hoping he's so quiet and slow and dull and tedious and tiring to listen to that you'll just take his word for it if it means he'll leave you alone. So when Newsnight put him up against Paxman it becomes about the best definition of overkill as you are likely to find. You must watch the glory below. It is radiant.
And there is more! Charlie Brooker (who is right about everything) heard the cry and has written one of the most scathing attacks on Brain Gym I've ever read. It is awesome and you must read it.
Look, this is how awesome it is:
[W]e, the adults, don't just gleefully pull the wool over our own eyes - we knit permanent blindfolds. We've decided we hate facts. Hate, hate, hate them. Everywhere you look, we're down on our knees, gleefully lapping up neckful after neckful of steaming, cloddish bullshit in all its forms. From crackpot conspiracy theories to fairytale nutritional advice, from alternative medicine to energy yawns - we just can't get enough of that musky, mudlike taste. Brain Gym is just one small tile in an immense and frightening mosaic of fantasy.
Still, that's just my opinion. Lots of people clearly think Brain Gym is worthwhile, or they wouldn't be prepared to pay through the nose for it. If you're one of them, here's an exciting new kinesiological exercise that should dramatically increase your self-awareness - and I'm giving it away free of charge. Ready? OK. Curl the fingers of your right hand inward, meeting the thumb to form a circle. Jerk it rhythmically up and down in front of your face. Repeat for six hours. Then piss off.
But wait its not over! There is indeed more! This News round up states that the Brain Gym 'scientific' claims are going to be withdrawn:
Paul Dennison, a Californian educator who created the programme, admitted that many claims in his teacher’s guide were based on his “hunches” and were not proper science.
Lets make it clear, no ones against doing group exercise in the classroom, it's a great way for a teacher to get the attention and focus of a class. When I was in primary school, my teacher would makes us all go through a routine of putting our hands on our heads and so on before a lesson, and it stopped us talking and it made us pay attention. It's just he didn't need to whore science and pay £800 odd quid to do it.
Thanks to Schrödinger's Pig for uploading the youtube vids, and read an excellent post about all this here.