Being there

This weekend I convened two live online meetings to talk about how we can use Zoom and other communication systems as the means to keep in touch and continue working with our students through the difficult times ahead. 

This definitely turned out to be a timely subject: 90 people signed up for Saturday and over 70 made it to the meeting; on Sunday, 141 people signed up and over 90 folks attended. That’s the best attendance to any free online webinar I’ve offered to date. Participation was worldwide: people signed in from all over the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. The group included everyone from teachers who have been practicing longer than I have — some of whom were (and are still are) my teachers — to newly graduated colleagues and trainees still in training. (Thank you so much to everyone who was able to join in!)

On Saturday, I learned a lot about what kind of questions people had and got a better idea of how to organize things for the next day. So, as promised, I’m making the recordings of the better presentation available on the website. 

Yup, recordings. I’m using the plural because there are actually three recordings! In the first part of the meeting, I talked about how I got into teaching online and then I explained the basics of how Zoom meetings work. Then I addressed topics such as:

  • What we have to offer our students and why it matters now.
  • What we get from doing ATM®.
  • Examples of different ways of working with our students online.
  • How to get started.
  • The advantages of a semi-private class.
  • How much to charge.
  • Using break out groups in Zoom.

At that point in the meeting, I invited the participants to join smaller, simultaneous discussion groups and asked them to introduce themselves to each other and say something about why they were attending the meeting. After everyone returned to the large meeting, we started the second part, during which I talked about how, exactly, to set up your sessions, including how to get paid. I also talked about:

  • The importance of talking to ATM students before they start class, especially in these times.
  • What it means to facilitate someone else’s learning — and why it matters now.
  • The importance of asking permission . . . and respecting when someone says no.
  • Why messing up is the best thing that can happen.
  • Knowing which questions matter.
  • Technology tips, tricks, and recommendations.

After the meeting finished, I had a conversation with German Feldenkrais® trainer Patrick Gruner, about the upcoming segment of the Berlin Feldenkrais teacher training that he will have to teach online this coming week. (In case you’re wondering, the conversation was in English.) We discussed both what kind of tech is needed to make it work and how to make the best of teaching online. 

The idea had been to have the conversation with whoever wanted to stick around from the first meeting but I messed up and accidentally ended the meeting. However, Peggy Chipkin, a Feldenkrais teacher from Nothern California who’d participated in the meeting, figured out how to connect with us and joined the conversation about halfway through. 

To make it easy, we’ve made the recordings publicly available — no sign-in needed, no account required. You have a choice between the video and audio file, either of which you can download or stream by clicking on the links below:

The next best thing to being there

Teaching online – Part One

Teaching Online – Part Two

Training Online with Patrick Gruner

Let me take this opportunity to thank fellow Feldenkrais trainer (and business coach extraordinaire), Allison Rapp, for inspiring me to set these meetings up!

Allison has made available the recording of a roundtable discussion that she recently conducted with a group of Feldenkrais teachers about teaching online. On that right side of that page, you’ll also find links to a page of resources, another page of tips, and the conversation that she had with Fiona Upward Morris, who’s been teaching online for three years, and to the discussion, she and I had on Saturday morning.

Participants in the Zoom meeting can send messages to the group and to teach each other using the Chat function. As promised, I’m letting you know about the recommendations that got posted to the chat, starting with mine:

  • My Thinkpad T-480 S laptop comes with dual-array microphones, which provide excellent noise cancellation.
  • The external microphone I use is the Yeti.

I also highly recommended Krisp *, which is excellent software-based AI that automagically mutes background sound. Krisp even has a free plan so you can try it out without forking over any money!

Here are some scheduling apps that folks recommended:

Tiffany Sankary, from Massachusetts, is providing a listing of virtual ATM classes:

One of the other participants, Katarina Halm from Canada, posted several useful links:

* This is an affiliate link, meaning that Mind in Motion will receive a payment if you sign up for a paid Krisp account. Any monies we get will go to paying the bills and keeping the Lesson Locator free to use.

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