Teaching takes flight
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
— St. Augustine
Moshe Feldenkrais called one of his most ingenious inventions the artificial floor. The teacher uses a flat rigid object, like a cutting board or a book, to touch the student’s feet, simulating what happens in standing and stimulating the nervous system’s ability to coordinate upright posture.
In November 2020, I was slated to teach a postgraduate program about this strategy at the exquisite Vienna Feldenkrais Institute. When pandemic travel restrictions made it impossible to proceed with in-person instruction, we moved the course online.
Teaching online required radical rethinking. How was I going to make it understandable and learnable at a distance? Because the participants would have someone to work with where they were, I created interactive sessions that took them, step-by-careful step, through the essential techniques and tactics of using the footboard. Even more importantly, I came up with ways to get across the often invisible but absolutely crucial aspect of how teachers move easily, efficiently, and effectively without being able to touch or guide them.
(You can read more about what went into the preparations here and find out the recordings here.)
At the end of the month, I am teaching this course in person to colleagues in Munich. What’s most exciting is that I’ll have the chance to incorporate what I learned when we had no choice but to meet online into what happens when we are, once again, together in the same room. I’m particularly interested in what difference it’s going to make in the most crucial aspect of the course: when the participants are coaching each other during the hands-on practice session.
(This program is in English without translation. Find out more here.)
This course is the second installment in a three-part program about improving how we stand and walk. Though this group has been working with me for many years, no prior experience is required to join us — other than being a Feldenkrais teacher or enrolled in a professional training program.
The third installment, about the practical application of the spinal engine model of locomotion, is happening this coming autumn. As it happens, I’m teaching this module in Florence, with translation into Italian next. (Last time I checked, there were only a few places left; please contact the organizer to find out more by clicking here.)
I modified a photo by Carlos Pernalete Tua that I found on www.pexels.com to create the image at the top of today’s Wrestling for Higher Consciousness post.
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