In the 1970s and 80s, Moshe Feldenkrais often spoke of his dream of teaching Awareness Through Movement® lessons on television around the world. His inspiration was the leading-edge technology of the day, the Telstar communication satellites, which made international television broadcasting possible. His hope was preempted by the prohibitively high cost of doing so.
Thanks to the spread of the Internet, accessibility to high technology, and the advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we’ve made Moshe’s dream come true on a worldwide scale that few would have imagined as recently as the end of last year.
Because I wanted to share what I’ve learned about teaching online with my Feldenkrais colleagues, I offered a couple of free online webinars about teaching online, The next best thing to being there and The art of teaching ATM® online, in February. The topic was certainly timely; a total of nearly 500 teachers and trainees signed up and people got turned away from one of the meetings because it was full to capacity before it even started. Feldenfolk participated from around the world: the Americas; Europe and Britain; Russia and India; Asia and Australasia.
From the questions that people asked and the conversations we had during these get-togethers, along with the interactions I’ve had with colleagues since, I couldn’t help but be intrigued about what’s going on in our community. I also found myself becoming curious about what benefits folks received from attending the meetings or watching the replays, what they did with what they learned, and what more they need. That’s why we sent out a survey to everyone who signed up for these webinars.
We received responses from 28.8% of the people polled, which is a pretty darn good reply rate. The results were enlightening, to say the least.
More than a third of the respondents (37%) were ALREADY teaching online. I was far from the sole pioneer.
From conversations, correspondences, and other communications, I found out that some had started a while back, several as many as a couple of years already. One teacher told me that he started teaching online because he couldn’t find any affordable study space to rent for classes; another said she shifted her practice to virtual lessons ahead of moving. That being said, most everyone had just jumped into offering distance learning to their students.
Here are some of the highlights of the survey results:
- Of those who had not taught online prior to attending or reviewing the webinars, 56% started teaching online afterward.
- What was the most important thing they learned? 40% said that they learned what online education has to offer; 22% learned that it wasn’t as hard as they thought it would be.
- Nearly 40% said the most rewarding aspect of teaching online is how much their students appreciate it.
- When asked whether they wanted individual coaching, group supervision, and peer support, nearly half of the respondents (46.3%) selected peer support.
This final finding certainly fits with my personal experience participating in the “An AY a day” group and with what I’ve learned professionally, from teaching ATM® and from conducting teacher training and post-graduate programs via the Internet. Indeed, the participants in A TRAINING SEGMENT ONLINE commented on how much they valued learning with and from their classmates.
This coming weekend, I am offering a lead-up to the summer session of A TRAINING SEGMENT ONLINE (ATSO) during which I’ll be teaching the first ATM of the segment (THE STATUE OF LIBERTY) live online. After a break, I’ll unpack the learning logic of the lesson and talk about how the teaching tactic it uses is essential for teaching online. You’ll join a small break-out group to do an interactive exercise with other participants. After we get back together, we will debrief and discuss how you can apply what you learned both professionally and personally.
If you’re a Feldenkrais® teacher or trainee, I’m inviting you to kick off the course with me, for free. Whether you decide to sign up for the program or not, you will get a sense of what online learning has to offer and what it might mean for you. This will also give you a glimpse of what it’s like to consider the basic aspects of Moshe’s method from an advanced perspective.
Please click on the link below to register for the related Zoom meeting:
Pacific Rim meeting
Friday, 12 June
5:00 to 8:15 PM US Pacific time
Atlantic and Americas meeting
Saturday, 13 June
9:30 AM to 12:45 PM US Pacific time
There is no limit on registration; however, each Zoom meeting is limited to a maximum of 100 participants. That means you might want to sign in a few minutes before the meeting starts to make sure you get to participate. The recording will only be available to registered participants of ATSO. (When you enroll in the course, you also receive both a transcript and a teaching summary of each of the 18 ATMs featured in this course.)
The summer 2020 session of A TRAINING SEGMENT ONLINE starts on 17 June. The course runs for twelve weeks, including a week’s break at the end of July. Save $200 when you sign up before the early registration this coming Saturday, 13 June, at midnight US Pacific. The first edition of ATSO sold out this spring, so please sign up now to ensure your place.
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