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Learning to learn

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 6:11 pm, Tue Oct 9, 2012.

Recently, the gymnasium at a local church was filled with about 30 adults intensely learning how to properly bounce a racquetball, from the hand being cupped when the ball was caught, then to the touch of the forearm to the upper arm, followed by the c-shaped grip on the ball when it is released.

This was done all with the intention of teaching these adults how to better teach those that are labeled as being learning disabled, are behaviorally disordered, have ADD or ADHD, are gifted, and for those who simply have no issues when it comes to learning.

The program, Bal-A-Vis-X (BAVX), which gets its name from it’s areas of focus, balance, auditory, vision, and exercises, was being taught at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church (SEAS) by Anne Wheaton, Terry Tinney, and their 15-year-old assistant Connor Wiese. 

According to the BAVX’s website, the program, which uses sand-filled bags and racquetballs, is a series of numerous exercises that are intended for a person to use both sides of their brain. The exercises are “rhythmic with a pronounced auditory foundation, executed at a pace that naturally results from proper physical techniques.”

The different colored bags and balls are used in exercises where one uses both sides of the brain, paying attention to the rhythmic sounds of the balls bouncing along with the color, while paying attention to which hand is doing what.

Wheaton, who is a P.E. teacher at Mesa Verde Elementary School, and Tinney, who recently retired as teacher from the school in 2011, began hearing about the BAVX program, which was created by Bill Hubert, in 2003.

Wheaton had recently learned about a program called Brain Gym during a national convention. While implementing that program at her school, she learned of Hubert and his program.

“It is brained-based research,” Wheaton said about what sparked her interest in BAVX. “Some of the elements of the program give us insight to pieces of information where children can then learn easier.”

During the program last week, the participants learned about the different dominances of children: eyes, ears, and hemisphere.  With these, they can then start to understand better ways to deal with issues that arise. For example, a child who is left-eye dominant will have more trouble learning to read than that of a child who is right-eye dominant.

“Any information and understanding of the brain will give us better knowledge, of how we can help kids to learn better, is what I was interested in,” Wheaton said.

After a few years of inviting and having Hubert come to Mesa Verde, and traveling around the country with him, he asked the two if they would be interested in becoming BAVX trainers.

Wiese, who was in Tinney’s first grade class, had a few learning issues. Using the program and being alongside Tinney and Wheaton, Wiese went through the training with them.

Looking back on his time in school before using the program, Wiese realizes his improvements from how he once behaved. He said he couldn’t focus for very long and would get easily distracted. Then his mother enrolled him in the BAVX program.

“I started to getting better grades. It was just like something clicked and I could understand more.”

He saw his improvement over time as he learned how to take notes better in class, how to properly study, and how to properly participate in class.

Now, as he is a month into his freshman year at Canyon Del Oro High School, Tinney is able to see the improvements in students just like Wiese.

“If you can give a kid a tool that allows them to be able to be integrated, because what this program does is it connects neural-networking, all of the different dimensions; front, back, side to side, and up and down,” Tinney said. “So if you can give a kid a tool that fits, and helps them to achieve their academic goals or academic success, as a teacher, I can’t imagine anything more wonderful.”

For some enrolled in the three-day training last week, this was their first time as they built their foundation and learned intermediate exercises for. While others, like Chris Caldwell, who is a P.E. teacher and the athletic director at SEAS, this was her sixth time taking a BAVX training course.

She has seen how the program has helped kids in her school and wants to continue to learn more about it and how to better implement it.

“Number one, it builds self esteem. That’s crucial. I mean kids with eye problems, or learning disabilities, or whatever it is that they may have, it helps them to relax, helps them to focus.”

Caldwell says the school also invites kids who may not have a learning disability, but are more quiet and reserved to participate, who later sometimes turn into trainers for the teachers.

“When they get involved in something like this, they feel so good about themselves. That self esteem is incredible.”

If interested in taking the $175 three-day course, or  for more information about enrollment opportunities in Tucson, contact Tinney at instates3@gmail.com or Wheaton at awheaton@amphi.com. For more information about BAVX, go to www.bal-a-vis-x.com.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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