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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Power Brain Education Program Gets $400,000 From the NYC BOE

okay, everyone, on this one story led by Yonev Gonen, I may have some reservations to thinking that Dr. Warrington Parker's program needs to be seen as a cult. I was invited to the United Nations last year to view the Power Brain Program and meet Dr. Warrington Parker.

"Ties with a cult" does sound spooky, but I'm reserving my judgment against saying 'absolutely not' to empowering our brains in any positive way, and I am posting this for the reason that David Cantor seems to be listening to the public, for some reason. That's unusual. All apologies to you, David, but it is.

Betsy Combier





'Cult' program in NYC schools
By YOAV GONEN, NY POST, November 9, 2009
LINK

Thousands of city public-school students and teachers are participating in a "Brain Education" program run by a group with ties to an alleged cult.

For the past three years, the Department of Education has shelled out nearly $400,000 for 44 schools to participate in the Power Brain Education company's lessons and workshops.

But dozens of former employees of an organization called Dahn Yoga -- whose founder developed the teachings for Brain Education -- said the school program is run by a group that is part of a vast web of interrelated companies conning participants into investing all their time and money in unproven health and healing activities.

The former workers of Dahn Yoga, which operates 130 health centers and two training retreats across the country, filed a federal lawsuit in Arizona in May charging that its activities are abusive and grow increasingly devotional over time to the group's founder and spiritual leader, 57-year-old Seung Huen "Ilchi" Lee.

"If my child was [participating in Power Brain], I would pull them out in about two minutes," said lawyer Terry Brostowin, who settled a wrongful-death suit against Dahn Yoga last year. "I would be very scared."

Brostowin sued Dahn Yoga in 2005 on behalf of the family of Julia Siverls -- a fit, 41-year-old CUNY professor who collapsed and died during an endurance hike at the group's Sedona, Ariz., retreat.

Her family alleged that Siverls had been drugged and forced to hike in desert heat with 40 pounds of rocks in her backpack and with little water.

Another former Dahn employee who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Lee settled her case against him in 2002.

Although Dahn Yoga officials claim there's no direct link between Lee and the city schools' program, one of Lee's own Web sites describes Power Brain Education as "Ilchi Lee's Brain Education," and he wrote a book called "Power Brain Kids."

This year, Lee visited PS 65 in The Bronx -- which is using the Power Brain program -- and personally taught a lesson to the students.


'LEE' CLUB: Students last week participate in a "Brain Power" exercise, developed from the teachings of controversial guru Seung Huen "Ilchi" Lee.

Foes said the organization reels people in with lovey-dovey, group-building activities before steadily ratcheting up the pressure for more involvement and money.

This includes taking expensive training courses and retreats that cost as much as $10,000 per week to become "Dahn Masters," who help operate the health centers and recruit new members under high-pressure quotas, according to the ex-workers' lawsuit.

One of the former employees says in the lawsuit that coercion was so great that she was sexually assaulted by Lee in 2006.

Joseph Alexander, a vice president at Dahn Yoga, insists that the suit is without merit.

"They just made all these allegations and accusations with nothing to back it up," he said.

Alexander also said there was no business connection between either Lee or Dahn Yoga and Power Brain Education. He said the only relation between the groups was that the school programs were adapted from Lee's Brain Education teachings. "He's treated as the founder of the philosophy, but as far as that business is concerned, he's not involved with it," Alexander said.

Last Thursday, at a Bronx elementary school, a 25-minute demonstration of the Power Brain lesson was full of positive language and activities the kids seemed to enjoy.

Kids were told to say, "I love your Power Brain face," to one another and to rap songs with lyrics like "I love my thalamus."

City Department of Education officials -- who have known about the former employees' lawsuit since late summer -- said principals selected the program on their own and that many felt it had benefits for students.

But they said they are pulling it for now, after The Post inquired about the program and the controversy surrounding Lee.

"There do not appear to be any allegations against the company that offers [the program]," said DOE spokesman David Cantor. "Given the allegations, however, we will discontinue the program until we determine whether it is inappropriate or improper."

Additional reporting by E.J. Kessler

yoav.gonen@nypost.com


The 5 Steps of Brain Education

Research on Brain Education for Enhanced Learning



'Cult’ program in NYC schools
ReligionNewsBlog.com, Posted: Monday November 9, 2009
LINK

New York — Thousands of city public-school students and teachers are participating in a “Brain Education” program run by a group with ties to an alleged cult.

For the past three years, the Department of Education has shelled out nearly $400,000for 44 schools to participate in the Power Brain Education company’s lessons and workshops.

But dozens of former employees of an organization called Dahn Yoga — whose founder developed the teachings for Brain Education — said the school program is run by a group that is part of a vast web of interrelated companies conning participants into investing all their time and money in unproven health and healing activities.

Although Dahn Yoga officials claim there’s no direct link between Lee and the city schools’ program, one of Lee’s own Web sites describes Power Brain Education as “Ilchi Lee’s Brain Education,” and he wrote a book called “Power Brain Kids.”

Foes said the organization reels people in with lovey-dovey, group-building activities before steadily ratcheting up the pressure for more involvement and money.

This includes taking expensive training courses and retreats that cost as much as $10,000 per week to become “Dahn Masters,” who help operate the health centers and recruit new members under high-pressure quotas, according to the ex-workers’ lawsuit.

Mountain enlightenment leads to yoga empire

Dahn Yoga stretches into controversy

Yoga Cult?

Critics Compare Dahn Yoga to Cult

Dahn Hak: Rewarding Yoga Or A Korean Cult?

Founder peddles belief in ‘ancient healing’

Brain sensitising

How yoga class got personal

Dahnhak sued after member dies trying to master art

I-Team Investigates Yoga Group Some Call A Cult

“There do not appear to be any allegations against the company that offers [the program],” said DOE spokesman David Cantor. “Given the allegations, however, we will discontinue the program until we determine whether it is inappropriate or improper.”

Freedom of Mind

Research on Brain Education for Enhanced Learning

Studies of Brain Education for Enhanced Learning have found that the program promotes behavioral, emotional, and cognitive improvements, including positive effects on learning efficiency, multiple intelligences, emotional intelligence, and stress coping strategies. Following are summaries of three studies that used a control-group design.

Learning efficiency. Twenty students at fifth grade level participated in a pilot Brain Education program twice weekly for twelve weeks. After completion of the program, they displayed significant improvements in five out of twelve tests of learning efficiency, including concentration, learning strategy, learning acceptability, self-control strategy, and emotional control strategy, as well as a global score of learning efficiency. In contrast, a control group of twenty students did not show improvements in any of these measures. (Oh et al. Effect of a brain respiration program on learning efficiency for elementary school age children. Korean Journal of Educational Research. 2004; 6: 42 (2): 511-42.)

Multiple intelligences. Forty pre-schoolers (age 5) participated in a Brain Education program for thirty minutes daily, for five months. Compared to a control group of 40 children, the children in the Brain Education program showed significant improvements in six of eight different intelligences tested, including linguistic, logical-mathematical, body-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligence. (Kwak Yun-jung and Jo Tae-im, Effects of a brain development program on multiple intelligences. Journal of Brain Education. 2006; 12 (1): 1.)

Emotional intelligence and stress coping strategies. Twenty-seven fifth grade students received the Brain Education curriculum once weekly, during their homeroom period, for thirty-five weeks. Compared to a control group of 25 students who practiced writing Chinese characters, children in the Brain Education group demonstrated greater emotional intelligence (for example emotional perception, expression, and control). Children also reported less stress and showed a preference for active stress coping strategies, compared to children in the control group. (Oh et al. Effectiveness of a brain-based health curriculum on children’s emotional intelligence, stress, and stress-coping strategies. Manuscript under review.)

BE Impact on Multiple Intelligences

Former Dahn Masters File Mass Law Suit
May 29th, 2009 -
LINK

This is a law suit filed on May 20th 2009 by numerous former Dahn masters.

It is the most ambitious lawsuit of its kind by multiple victims who are seeking financial compensation in order to address the heavy debt that they have incurred by their membership in Ilchi Lee’s organization.

One woman alleges that she was raped by Ilchi Lee in Korea.

There have been several other women who have also alleged to have been raped by Lee.

Lawsuit: PDF

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just because they say they published some studies, doesn't make it legitimate. Here is an analysis of the BE research that you posted from a blog called The Scientific Analyst:

"Ignoring for the moment how bizarre the actual methods are and the fact that their developer, Ilchi Lee, is a longstanding purveyor of pseudoscience, what did Montgomery County staffers find when they visited the Brain Education website? The website makes various claims about improving mental performance, and it even cites two published studies. Unfortunately, neither is published in a mainstream or widely-available journal (a major red flag). The first was published in the Korean Journal of Educational Research, which is not available in English and not subscribed to by my university (and I couldn't find any more information about this journal on the web). The second study was published in the Journal of Brain Education. This one is also not available in English, but, better yet, it's published by the "University of Brain Education". Guess who the president of this "university" is? Ilchi Lee, of course.

The Brain Sciences website does include a couple of charts from this latter publication, which you can take a look at for yourself here. They show a marginal improvement in a few different intelligence tests (no details on how these were conducted), but these results are meaningless without any error bars (my guess is that none of these improvements are statistically significant given the small sample sizes used). They also adjusted the graph axes in a way to make the data appear as favorable as possible. If this is representative of what's in these two studies, then it's no surprise they couldn't publish any of this in a more respected and widely available journals."

Ane Recafort said...

Learning a new language is said to interrupt the brain's normal way of doing things. By learning a new language the brain has to accustom to new words and pronunciations. Through learning a new language the brain is also challenged to view the world a different way and to adapt to new concepts.

Ilchi Lee