Alexander Technique | In Education

Alexander in Education It’s quite a strange concept to
think your body into not holding tension in a certain place, to think your neck to be free. I didn’t even know anything about
it and then when I came in here and I did it in the first lesson it was so weird because I walked out and I was like, “Oh my, this is amazing! You can act without out, you can
get on stage and do whatever without it but I can only say that through experience I’ve
felt the moments where I’m tuned into myself… and I mean your body’s like an instrument,
this is our craft, this is what we do. People often don’t really know
what Alexander Technique really is. People may just think it applies
to music, but it applies to everyday life. What you’re really doing is
you’re understanding your reaction process. It’s hard sometimes to put into
words but you get different feelings of feeling the muscles let go and you build up a picture of like actually how your body and the structure of it is. I think there’s an urgency for
us to have it in education because what we’re beginning to see is a lot of young children having backache, being stressed. In this particular school we’re
dealing with thirteen to eighteen year olds. It’s such a crucial time as they’re forming
the patterns that they’re going to take through the rest of their lives, so for me it’s not
important, it’s crucial. We really don’t notice exactly
the details of what’s going on as we leave it to our subconscious to carry out these
very, very common tasks. One of the main difficulties in
education at the moment is that the attention span for children is getting less and less
and less. This work of Alexander will teach them how to focus better, to have an easy
attention. We so often get people to concentrate very hard for a few seconds and then their mind goes off somewhere else and they’re out the window and throwing the bag out. I think it’s really important at
the start of formal education, this transition between being at home, starting nursery and
then coming through to formal education. Most toddlers have beautiful use, they use themselves
really well, they’re balanced and coordinated and then what we find is as they’re sitting
down more at the table when using a pen and have pressures put upon them, they often lose
that coordination and poise. Children are often taught a load of
facts or information without being taught how to do things and that is where the Alexander
work helps us. I would like to see every child
given the opportunity to blossom as the individual that they are and that the priority is the means rather than the end, and that from that you get a system where kindness becomes the
most important factor in the school day. The Alexander work is really, really
important at the basis of it because it does give them that confidence, it makes the think
about what they’re doing, so it helps them to think. So to confidently think about what
they’re going to do and make confident decisions. I think Alexander Technique could
be a very useful tool for all children in all forms of education to find a space where
they become more aware of themselves, that they learn to take time and to reflect. When I’m walking around and you
just remember those words: “notice, and your head” you can… you feel like you sort
of own the place in a sense and you can walk around with that freedom and you relax. I think it will be wonderful
if more young people had access to lessons. I think when you learn the Technique when
you’re young you get used to thinking in a different way and giving yourself space and
I think in today’s society when everything is so hurried and so rushed, I think there
is… there’s more understanding these days that to be mindful in the way that we do things
is extremely important. It helps me understand my surroundings
more and helps me think about things that I do in my everyday life and how I normally do it and how I could…what I could change about it. Cos you think you know what you’re
doing, you think you know, “I stand easily, I walk easily”, but it’s not until you have
someone, kind of there showing you that you can stand taller or be wider and all these
kind of directions. So the Alexander Technique provides
an opportunity for them to breathe, to stop, reflect and then to improve what they can achieve. I think it is a great shame that
Alexander Technique isn’t more widely known about because often it’s related to… sort
of Arts.. Art people, musicians, actors, dancers, however I truly believe that if you’re human
it’s going to help you! I thought it would be really
useful in terms of just my performance, I thought that would be the most useful thing,
but actually it’s been helpful in my everyday life. The Alexander Technique is becoming
more well known because there’s coverage in the press but most people are looking for
a quick fix. So you go to the doctor and you get a pill, or you run round the park at the
weekend. That’s pretty easy compared with the commitment that’s necessary for taking
on the Alexander principles. Once you commit to Alexander – which is very easy once you
understand what you’re dealing with – then you have to think about it. Your life changes
and once you start making the progress you’d be crazy to stop pursuing the pathway. It’s
something that changes every aspect of your life. So I’d like to quote something from
a book called ‘Forward and Away’ by Elizabeth Walker: “Thinking of the needs and interests
of each individual and how I can help them think and stop doing the things that are interfering
with their balance and coordination, teaching has been a most extraordinary and rewarding
experience. Communication by touch is probably the most basic form of communication and this
is what’s so rewarding because one knows with absolute certainty that what one is communicating
is good.”

5 thoughts on “Alexander Technique | In Education”

  1. Beautifully done. Love the quote by Elisabeth Walker. The teachers are so well composed and clear. The kids are articulate and beaming. Just great.

  2. This is exactly what STAT and all professional societies should be doing for its members. I like how the video discusses A.T. without trivializing its potential or limiting its usefulness.
    Learning Alexander Technique is a bit like learning to read, in a way it's "body-mind literacy." It gives you access to how to effectively put anticipated or possible improvements into action – not just as abstract principles, but applied to your own goals. Essentially, you learn to change your responses to "the will to do" by freeing up your physical mannerisms and favored routines. That's why it's so useful; also why A.T. sounds as if it is so much like snake oil: "good for everything!"
    The reason the video doesn't get into the specifics of how to do A.T. is that its principles embody loads of edu information. Learning A.T is like getting applied neuroscience combined with living anatomy. This info is taught in practical lessons that connect to factual demonstrations that "prove" their usefulness so you are motivated to continue doing them; abstract learning theory can come later if you're interested in it. Everyone does things a bit differently, so each learner goes about understanding the abstract principles of A.T. differently. The idea is to teach so students can put A.T. to work for themselves. So this is why A.T. is taught in such a custom-tailored way.

  3. A very useful video for expressing the Alexander Technique in action. To a certain degree, when working with groups of various ages, it is useful to keep in mind that communicating via touch is not the most essential aspect of teaching and learning the Alexander Technique.
    The Alexander Technique is intended for any learner, and when it is presented practically, touch becomes a less essential aspect and the overall communication via expert pedagogical principles more central.

  4. Would have been nice to include, say, a rugby, soccer or running coach, to balance out all the namby-pamby actors and musicians!
    Mindful self-consciousness of one's instrument is all very well… but there is also a time for going into movement without a care in the world, in the playground or on the playing field, and letting everything come out in the wash.

  5. Hi, thanks for the great video. I am a trainee studying Alexander technique in Ireland. I submitted korean subtitle for this video while ago, if you could review and apply it on the video, it would be really good for other korean people to see this video too! I would love to share more 🙂

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