|Young ChiLel(TM) practitioners in China|
and CHI-LEL ™
Movement Evokes Positive Results in the Areas of Processing Speed, Visual
Motor Integration, and Attention.
By Denise Zuckerman MA
The K-1 teacher has a concern. This seasoned professional, with over twenty years experience, is working with the most challenging class of her career. In August the students wondered around the room and had difficulty holding a pencil. It is now April and the students have made minimal gains. Are there any strategies out there to help this group of students to reach grade level benchmarks?
What is CHI-LEL ™ Qigong?
“In Chinese the word "Qigong" has two characters, Qi (Chi) and Gong. "Qi or chi" means life energy and "Gong" means daily effort. In short, Qigong is a practice to use chi for different purposes including self-healing. Chi-Lel means chi therapy. Chi-Lel is a trademark by Luke and Frank Chan since 1995 and it is our version of Zhineng Qigong. We try to interpret Zhineng Qigong as closely as possible as we travel to China frequently to update the latest research. Zhineng means intelligence. This medical qigong method was developed by Dr. Pang Ming.
CHI-LEL ™ Qigong consists of visualizations combined with a series of gentle movements which can be easily learned by anyone who wants to improve and sustain their health and wellness. This self-healing art is easy to follow and effective. It is for all age groups.”
Excerpt quotes from Master Luke Chan’s web site: www.chilel.com
Children and CHI-LEL ™ Qigong
I had the good fortune to attend two of Master Luke Chan’s retreats where I learned the basic practice of CHI-LEL ™ Qigong. I wondered how I could incorporate this gentle movement technique into my work with children as a school psychologist. The opportunity presented itself in the challenge that the K-1 teacher faced.
I wondered, more specifically, what effect CHI-LEL ™ Qigong would have on student academic success in the areas of processing speed, visual motor integration, and attention.
The support of the teacher, and the consent of parents, enabled me to test the theory that using CHI-LEL ™ Qigong in a classroom setting would aid in student academic success, specifically in the three above mentioned focus areas. The outcome was greater than expected.
A Five-Week Study
Twenty-two Kindergarten and first grade students participated in a five week, fifteen day, study using CHI-LEL ™ Qigong in a classroom setting. The goal was to observe the effects of CHI-LEL ™ Qigong on student academic success, specifically in the areas of processing speed, visual motor integration, and attention.
Students were observed for three days during the first week. The goal of the observation was to identify a comfortable and familiar task known to all students in the class and identify a baseline of functionality while students attend to that task.
identified task was a writing exercise.
Each day the children were expected to sit in front of a chart.
Simple sentences were written on the chart.
The content of the sentences referenced the date, weather, and
overall theme of the day. The children were to get a chair, clipboard and
pencil, sit down, write their first and last name at the top of the paper,
and transpose the sentences from the chart onto their own paper.
The students were given five minutes to achieve the task. This
writing exercise was deemed appropriate for incorporating the strategy of CHI-LEL
Behaviors were identified for baseline functionality. The group took between seven and ten minutes to orient themselves to the task. Five students consistently were unable to focus on the task at all and had to be redirected multiple times. Students either ran or meandered to get their chairs, clipboards, and pencils. The overall volume of the students was high throughout the entire exercise. The group was kinetic in that legs were swinging, torsos were turning, heads were nodding, and whole bodies were rocking. All students attempted to complete the task to some degree.
During the second week, for three days, students were directed through twelve minutes of random movement prior to starting their writing exercise. No direction for intention was given. Students were given three minutes to get a chair, clipboard and pencil, sit down, write their first and last name at the top of the paper and wait for further instructions. All students were able to comply with the directions up to sitting down. Several students had difficulty with writing their first and last name on the top of the paper. The students were directed to complete the writing exercise with a time limit of two minutes. All identified baseline behaviors remained constant. Again, all students attempted to complete the task to some degree.
For the three days during the third week the students were taught a twelve-minute CHI-LEL ™ Qigong exercise with the simple intention of “release” and “absorb” energy prior to starting the task. Students were given three minutes to organize themselves and have their first and last names on their paper. The process of organization only took ninety seconds. All students were able to write their first names on the paper within the three minute time period. Most all of the students were able to write both their first and last names. All students attempted the task when directed. Group volume was significantly reduced. Legs, torsos, heads, and whole bodies were quieted. The number of letters written and the accuracy of letter formation had increased for the majority of the students.
Week four was similar to week three in terms of expectations for the children with one change. Instead of the simple intention of “release” and “absorb” energy prior to starting the task students were asked to put their intention on “I am open to learning” and “learning comes easily to me”. Students were able to organize themselves within ninety seconds. A regression was seen in their ability to write their names on their paper. Marked elevation in group volume was noted and an increase in kinetic behavior was seen.
During the three days of the fifth week students were directed through twelve minute CHI-LEL ™ Qigong exercise with the simple intention of “release” and “absorb” energy prior to starting the task as they had during the third week of the study. All processes and expectations were the same. A significant increase in functioning was noted similar to week three.
It is evident that the incorporation of this gentle movement technique, CHI-LEL™ Qigong as a strategy to support students in a learning situation is quite effective. More specifically, the effect of CHI-LEL ™ Qigong had a direct and positive effect in the areas of student’s processing speed, visual motor integration, and attention. Students were able to orient to task more quickly. They were able to write more letters in two minutes and they were able to form the letters of the alphabet more accurately. Short-term attention span increased for the majority of students while attempting the writing task. Overall classroom volume and hyperactivity behaviors decreased. A feeling of calm within the classroom lasted well after the controlled exercise.
Further, CHI-LEL ™ Qigong in it’s pure form appears to be the most effective strategy when working with children. When the intention of the movement was focused on a specific task, “I am open to learn” and “learning comes easily to me”, student functioning decreased. Master Luke Chan suggested that human potential is limited by focusing on the problem. Rather, if the focus remains open, unlimited potential is accessed.
conclusion of the successful five-week study I can’t help but wonder
how this gentle movement technique could be incorporated into my work with
children as a school psychologist on a consistent basis.