Monday, February 2, 2009


Journal Entry 2




Gomez-Pinilla, F, So, V, & Kesslak, J.P. (1998). Spatial learning and physical activity contribute to the induction of fibroblast growth factor: neural substrates for increased cognition associated with exercise. Neuroscience. 85, 53-61.


       We spent much of a part of a chat, on a Saturday morning, discussing the fact that some schools are banning the practice of Yoga because, by some, it is considered the spreading of religion.  In Massena, New York, parents and church groups protested the practice of Yoga in the schools.  Two high school teachers starting using the Hindu exercise to help students relieve stress and anxiety prior to performing assessments.  The teachers, Martha Duchschere and Kerry Perretta, both whom have refused to respond to an email I sent late last year, were developing a district wide Yoga curriculum.  A member of the Messina school board went on to say that these two teachers were not using Yoga in any other way than just an execise to help students with learning.  Other schools have also been successful in eliminating Yoga from their curriculum.  There are over 100 schools in 26 states that use Yoga as part of their curriculum.  Schools have even used federal dollars to sent teachers to get certification to teach Yoga.  

    According to an October 1997 article in Neuroscience magazine by Gomez-Pinill, So and Kesslak, there is a direct correlation between exercise and increased cognition.  Rats that execised did much better on memory tasks than rats that did not exercise.  Certain chemicals are released by the brain of rats that exercised that allowed them to memorize things better.  Basically, the rats that exercised were better at finding there way through a maze than rats that did not exercise.

    What are we to believe?  Is it possible that the possitives out weigh the negatives on this one?  Are we doing more harm to our children by protecting them from religion?  Are we protecting them too much by emphasizing one part of the first amendment over other parts?  Do teachers have a little leeway here?  I believe that teachers have the right to select lesson that fit into the curriculum, with in reason, however they choose as long as they have an educational reason and it fits into the state standards.  I do not want my child's teacher showing them pornography and saying that it has to do with anatomy class.  I did say "with in reason."  

    With the idea of Yoga in the school somehow promoting religion, I say thank goodness for tenure.  Tenure is supposed to protech teachers that take curriculur risk and do what they think is right.  This issue, mind you, became larger than anyone could have imagined.  I am sure when these two teachers started using Yoga as a way to help their students relax, never dreamt that a national newspaper like the USA Today would pick up this story and cause so much publicity.  I have learned from this article that you never can tell what is going to get bigger, so big it goes beyond your control.      

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