Why Brain Gym is a load of rubbish

14 Mar

I can’t claim any credit for this – the original article is by the excellent debunker and Guardian journalist Ben Goldacre:

Banging your head repeatedly against the brick wall of teachers’ stupidity helps increase blood flow to your frontal lobes

February 16th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad sciencebrain gym | 105 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday February 16 2008

As time passes, largely against my will, I have become a student of nonsense. More importantly, I’ve become interested in why some forms of nonsense can lucratively persist, where others quietly fail. Brain Gym continues to produce more email than almost any other subject: usually it is from teachers, eager to defend the practice, but also from children, astonished at the sheer stupidity of what they are being taught.


To read more, either click the title above or follow the link here:


It’s well worth reading.  Thanks to Paul Read for the spot!



5 Responses to “Why Brain Gym is a load of rubbish”

  1. philipjkerr Friday 14 March 2014 at 13:32 #

    A salutary reminder. I blogged about this back in 2009
    But still they keep coming. See for example
    And Pearson (always earning) have recently published ‘Penguin Kids 4 Brain Gym Reader CLIL’ http://www.pearsonelt.ch/LanguageTeaching/PenguinKidsCLIL/Level4/1471/9781408288153/Brain-Gym.aspx

  2. Dave C Saturday 15 March 2014 at 20:28 #


    It’s not the only sacred cow of educators… are we allowed to say sometimes the kids are just a bit thick again yet?

    • David Petrie Tuesday 18 March 2014 at 14:24 #

      Hi Dave,

      In all honesty, I’ve never found Rod Liddle the most convincing of commentators and his piece appears to gloss over the substance of the two reports in favour of a glib interpretation that supports his opinion.

      What Dr Richard Saul says (in the book that he’s promoting) is that ADHD is in fact a composite of about 20 different conditions (both physical and mental) and that treating it as a single entity is misleading and unhelpful.

      Equally, the Durham team (in the book they’re promoting) don’t deny the existence of dyslexia, they say that the term dyslexia is too broadly applied and that common tests for dyslexia lack rigour and are ineffectively applied.




  1. Left Brain – Right Brain: This idea must die | teflgeek - Monday 23 March 2015

    […] And it’s worth pointing out that if the idea of brain separation is a physiological impossibility and a neurological doubt, then brain gym is still a load of rubbish. […]

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