The Art of Teaching ATM® Online

Let’s face it.

Teaching Awareness Through Movement® online is not the same as teaching in person. 

Instead of looking around the room to get an overview of how students are moving and find the outliers, the ones who are having difficulties or aren’t quite following, your eyes have to hop between the views provided by each student’s video feed. Some students are only partially in view. 

The quality of your student’s movement goes from being easy to track to being difficult to detect.

The subtle cues provided by how a student is breathing disappear. 

When you and the students are in the same room, you can address someone by speaking in that student’s direction, giving you a subtle way to guide an individual without the rest of the class being alerted or the person being called out publicly. You can interact with individual students in a quiet way, without drawing the entire class’s attention. 

Does this mean it’s impossible to teach ATM® online?

Not at all. 

The reason most educators struggle when they start teaching online is that they try to transfer what worked in the classroom directly into the online teaching situation. That just doesn’t work.

To teach ATM online — and to do it well — means you have to understand the unique and particular opportunities that distance learning has to offer. It requires rethinking what a teacher does and finding new ways of working with students.

When I started teaching over the Internet, first with audio conferencing and then with video meetings and an online school, there were no guidebooks or maps. I learned by trial and error. And there were plenty of errors. It took me a long time to discover the kinds of changes that this way of teaching requires. I’ve had to adjust my expectations, reimagine my role, find other ways to interact with students, and consider how they interact with each other and with themselves. Along the way, I’ve found a new way of bringing what we have to offer to the folks who want and need it. And I’ve discovered the delight that happens when this works.

If you’re interested in finding out how to teach ATM online well and, yes, to even enjoy doing it, I invite you to join me online this weekend. I’ll let you in on what I’ve learned, tell you what works, and show you how to make what we have to offer available, relevant, and useful.

So that you can participate at a time that’s convenient, I’ll be presenting this material twice. To make sure there’s time to discuss and to learn from each other, the meetings will run for an hour and a half. Please click on one of the links below to register for the Zoom meeting of your choice:

The Art of Teaching ATM Online – Saturday
21 March at 4:30 PM California time

The Art of Teaching ATM Online – Sunday
22 March at 10:00 AM

It’s a good idea to put the link you’ll receive for the meeting in your calendar. That way you’ll be ready to go when it’s time for the meeting. Please log into the meeting a few minutes before we start — space is limited. If we reach capacity, then you won’t be able to join us.

The meetings will be recorded. I’ll make the recording of at least one of them available online at the beginning of next week. That way, if you can’t make it to either meeting, you’ll have a chance to check out the recording at a time that works for you.

Hope to see you online!

Last week, I mentioned that we’re going to be making Moving Around, a new series of ATM lessons about the developmental transition from moving around yourself to starting to move yourself around, available soon. If you’re interested, you can find out more information here

This ATM series was part of the curriculum of my recently graduated Amsterdam International Feldenkrais® Teacher Training, which follows a developmental trajectory for the first few years. That got me thinking . . . with all of us sheltering in place, wouldn’t it be cool to offer an opportunity to do A TRAINING SEGMENT ONLINE? 

If the idea of doing a training from home intrigues you, please be on the lookout for my next blog.

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  1. Larry,
    I hope you feel as well as you look.
    Sincere thanks for your time these past weeks. The on line learning course(I got the time wrong but thankfully saw the recording) gave mw the umph to get on with things. It was simple, for me I need it that way and informative.
    Keep well and safe. I feel this is not a short term encounter with rapid change And so we continue to learn.
    All my best

  2. Dear Larry,
    1000 thanks, MAESTRO (teacher in spanisch, also in Argentina cool person).
    More than 30 years ago I met Roberto Liaskowsky in a café in Buenos Aires. I spoke with him about the Feldenkrais Education. He asked me if I already had an idea (with wom I would like to learn). He saw your name and said: Your are going to have fun and Larry is so solidario with his knowledge!
    You still so. That´s wonderful!
    A big Hug!
    It´s so good to see you looking well.

  3. Hi Larry
    It was so good to see you yesterday in real time at AnAYaday! I’d like to also join “The Art of Teaching ATM Online” today, but it will be one of the rare moments where we leave home to visit Terri’s mom.. So I hope I will be able to get the recording.
    I am not teaching ATM myself, but I’m attending the class of a young colleage and I would like to find out more about Online-Teaching to pass the information on to her and maybe other colleagues. I have the impression that Online-Teaching has to be introduced to Switzerland first :-).
    Yesterday I maybe was a bit (too) quick with my answer to Chrish and the group. Afterwards I realized quite quickly that what I said about “your” leg and “the” leg in German was not very precise. There are big differences between High German and Swiss German (in language and maybe social contacts). There is also a huge difference between talking to a group directly or addressing a public audience via book or audio (CD). And in German it’s even more complex as you pointed out yesterday, too: there’s the difference between informal and polite form, but also between singular and plural. In my first ATM-experiences in Switzerland they where all taught in plural (to the whole group “ihr”). When I first heard someone teaching in singular (to the individual “du) I really felt somehow manipulated as it felt very strange and too direct – even a bit hypnotizing – to me. In the meantime I feel comfortable with both variations, but I still feel it makes quite a difference.
    Coming back to “the” and “your” I just enquired the little book that the German Guild published about the Feldenkrais Method, addressed to a general public. They alternate seemingly spontaneously between “the” and “your” but on a short glimpse it seems that they use “the” rather in general instructions and “your” rather when it is more about sensing or scanning, which makes sense to me. But what I can say for quite sure: Hardly anybody would translate “please lie on your back” with “Bitte leg dich auf deinen Rücken” and I guess this was in my mind when I answered Chrish’s question yesterday. As it was my very first Zoom Meeting with audio and video I could not find a way back to the conversation to specify. So you see, I have quite a bit to learn about these new options.
    And as I am still interested in language I will certainly listen even more to all these variations and especially to what impact they have on me while hearing them.
    I’m sure you will have much more to say about it and am looking forward to the recording.
    So much for today.
    All the best for this extraordinary time and your health and big hugs from Switzerland
    Rägi (and Terri of course)

    1. Hello Ragi –

      So good to see you online after all these years!

      You’ll find the link to the recordings of “The Art of Teaching ATM® Online” in this recent blog post. You are welcome to share with anyone who you think might enjoy it.

      Thanks for taking the time to add more details to the conversation we had about “the” vs “your.”

      And for your good wishes.