Trying to minimize which program is the most effective lies in the opinion and experience of the teacher under the policies of each school district. Currently, my professional peers use Brain Gym, Go Noodle, Move It or some form of a self-designed kinesthetic curriculum in their classroom as a management technique to reduce or minimize undesirable behaviors and create healthy environments.
Another reason to incorporate movement is to engage multiple areas of the brain and to use both sides of the brain. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain resulting in improve academic performance. There is a plethora of programs designed to accomplish this concept with integrating kinesthetic lessons into education.It has been proven and evidence supports that movement using multi-sensory techniques increases cognitive functions of the brain.
Ultimately, this is the desired outcome or goal for the educator and student.Hubert, Bill. Cues for Learning and Teaching in Flow. Wichita, KS: Bal-A-Vis-X, 2014. Print. Bal-A-Vis-X was developed by a teacher in Wichita, Kansas named Bill Hubert. Bill Hubert uses cognitive exercises which encompass the integration of balance, auditory, and vision exercises using racquetballs, balance boards, hand-sized sandbags and various complexity of rhythmic exercises.
The exercises focus on rhythm, patterning, balance and visual teaming. The combination of 300 various exercises increase in complexity as the student masters the fundamental skills. The exercises can be reduced to accommodate the student with varying disabilities. The program is designed to help individuals who struggle with academics, post-traumatic stress, physical and social impairments. (Hubert, 2007)Bill Hubert suggest the lack of flow within a person can trigger the stressful occurrences which may cause the cognitive debilitation of an individual. (Hubert, 2007).
He further explains what he believes are the series of physical and developmental movement which occur and how this movement contributes to the cognitive aspects of the individual to perform a required task.In Bill Hubert’s book Bal-A-Vis-X Rhythmic Balance/Auditory/Vision/eXercises for Brain and Brain-Body Integration, he mentions neurophysiologist Carla Hannaford.
She wrote an excerpt about how the brain and body worked which inspired him: A most fundamental and mysterious aspect of the mind, thought, creativity and intelligence are not processes of the brain alone, but the whole body. Sensations, moments, emotions, and brain integrative functions are grounded in the body. The human qualities we associate with the mind can never exists separate from the body, it is our movements that express knowledge and facilitate greater cognitive function as they increase in complexity. (Hubert 2014)
The principals of the program are to introduce midline crossings in three dimensions which are designed to follow steady rhythm using the whole mind-body system creating the flow with in the student aligning the mind with the body. The idea is to listen to the rhythm of the sound of the balls bouncing or the sandbags being passed while simultaneously integrating patterned movement involving the whole body.”Making an Intervention Report.” WWC | Find What Works! US Department of Education, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2018.
One reliable intervention resource for Special Education teachers is the website, What Works Clearinghouse created by the Department of Education. The information presented on this website shares interventions which are research based with data which has been proven to be effective and reliable across multiple categories.
Another resource is the National Intervention Institute in Florida. They have collected and presented a multitude of research supporting the Response to Intervention tiered System academically and behaviorally. I did not find any data on either of these websites for Bal-A-Vis-X. Searching for data and information seemed to come from the founder himself, testimonials of educators and parents, and other graduate students conducting their own research.
I felt the information could be bias and not authentic or reliable. I questioned if Bal-A-Vis-X was possibly just another product to entice the movement program generation to incorporate it in their interventions in schools, nursing homes, care facilities and physical therapy centers. Several of the testimonials were extremely emotional and supportive that Bal-A-Vis-X is remarkable in its entirety. Web. 14 Mar. 2018. Norsworthy, Francis, and Bill Hubert.
The Illustrated Bal-A-Vis-X: Rhythmic Balance/auditory/vision Exercises for Brain and Brain-body Integration. Wichita, Kan.: Bal-A-Vis-X, 2009. Print. The founder, Bill Hubert claims it takes approximately three years to master all the skills of the program. (Hubert, 2007) I started my project first with viewing the first disc in the series of three. Each disc is a video recording of the founder Bill Hubert and his students demonstrating the first foundational exercises.
He demonstrates the target skill precisely. He then demonstrates variations of the skill with modifications to accommodate students who struggle with the skill. Bill Hubert strives for three main goals with the program First, it is important to test a student for visual tracking. This is very important for a student to be able to visually track. Starting from the beginning basic skills visual tracking is essential for the student to be able to follow with their eyes the direction of the bean bags or balls while engaging their body in various other movements simultaneously in multiple directions and abilities.
The next goal is to have discipline parameters. Classroom management is necessary. Students must be paying attention to the instructor and responding to exactly what is being demonstrated exactly the way it is intended. The student must be able to hear the rhythm of the bean bags slapping, the balls bouncing, and feel the flow from all of the components of the program working together with the student similar to pendulum swinging. When mind and body are working together harmony will occur in the body and mind to create a sense overall balance.
In conclusion of training elementary students in the basic skill activities of Bal-A-Vis-X, I have discovered intensive individualized instruction is needed for optimal results. My fidelity of the training was challenged in the setting I provided for the instruction to the participating students. The parameters of what was needed was comprised by instructing in a group setting for the initial training.
In addition, I was unaware at first that I would be losing one training a week per grade level due to Keyboarding class at the same time. I had originally planned on the group training two days a week, for sixteen weeks, for fifteen minutes prior to their physical education class. In the beginning I randomly drew from a jar which had each student’s name printed on it from the targeted grade level fourth, fifth and sixth grades. One group would participate and one group would not participate in Bal-A-Vis-X skills.
I administered all students an assessment an oral reading fluency probe and a silent reading comprehension probe. There were no significant positive results from the reading data which validated that Bal-A-Vis-X improved the students reading skills comparing from the beginning to end reading skills assessments. There were no significant differences comparing the Bal-A-Vis-X group to the non-Bal-A-Vis-X group either.
Even though I did not get the intended results I was hoping for with this intervention program for reading, I did observe other positive outcomes. These observations were my personal observations from watching the students perform the skills. One observation example was a sixth grade girl with Autism. She is high functioning but just rebuts physical activity. She continually argued how all the skills were stupid or hard.
I put her on the end to practice by herself or where I could be her partner. She repetitively could not perform the tasks asked without restarting several times, dropping of the beanbags or balls. She couldn’t balance herself on the board and refused to even try. Each time I worked with her I broke the task down in smaller increments of movements. Eventually, the complaining decreased and she willing participated. One day at recess, which she stands and typically watches her peers play a popular competitive speed basketball game of shooting hoops, she stepped forward and joined.
Remarkably, she hit the hoop every time she attempted to hit the hoop. This was a very first for her. She was so excited and her peers even noticed and were awed by her success. This was the first time I saw her happy and excited to engage with her peers in a physical activity. There were a few other coordination observations I made during the sixteen weeks. In knowledge I have obtained from the results first hand from this program, I have decided to peruse professional development of this program so I can teach it more reliably next year.
I would like to teach it one on one to my special needs students. Many of the skills taught on the CD disc I personally struggled with performing them myself. I received as much satisfaction from inter personal learning as I did from learning from the students as they were performing the skills.
Over all, I cannot say at this time in my personal opinion, observation, and results from reading assessments that Bal-A-Vis-X will improve a student’s reading performance. However, I have not determined that it is not effective either. I will need more time and specific measurable obtainable data implementing the program in a individualized specialized setting for the best results.
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