This was the response I received to a recent blog.
Appropriately short and to-the-point, this Internet acronym stands for “too long; didn’t read.”
That’s when I identified something familiar . . . and familial. My dad was of the same ilk. He was the kind of man who didn’t want to waste his time reading a mystery. He got to the good part by skipping to the end.
If you’re in that club, here’s the skinny: this blog is about doing a Feldenkrais® training segment online. Each of the four parts takes an unexpected turn but, just between us, the last one is da bomb. #justsayin
If you’re still with me, permit me to be a bit clearer.
I’m writing about what it means for teachers who already graduated from a professional training program — or future teachers in the final two years of training — to participate in A TRAINING SEGMENT ONLINE. This particular program, ATSO, is based on the recorded material from an 11-day segment — days 20 to 31 of the 2nd year — of the fifth Amsterdam International Feldenkrais Teacher Training.
Here are the four statements I’d like you to consider:
- Visiting ATSO is like visiting any Feldenkrais training program.
- Participating from afar is different from being there in person.
- Distance learning enhances learning.
- It’s possible to develop high touch skills using high tech . . . when social distancing is the rule of the day . . . and, yes, even if folks are sheltering in place on their own.
(See what I meant about the fourth part? Hey, where are you off to now, jackrabbit?)
Visiting ATSO is like visiting any Feldenkrais teacher training
If you’re a visiting teacher or trainee, returning to the training gives you the chance to understand the basics from an advanced perspective. At the very least, you recognize that you probably have no chance of finding out what you missed the first time around unless you return.
On the first day of the segment, you meet a group that’s been getting to know each other and work together for a while. The faculty and staff have been together long enough to have developed a culture, which Seth Godin defines as, “People like us do things like this.”
You enter into a professional perspective with terminology, customs, and expectations that, if you’re lucky, don’t quite match your own. I say that because if there’s no mismatch, you’ll get to confirm what you know and miss the chance to expand your horizons and options. Instead of adding a piece to your existing mosaic, the caleidoscope turns and other perspectives come into view. At first, you may find yourself feeling uneasy or a bit disoriented. Or you feel confused. Or curious.
Even so, there is something familiar about this place, a sense of coziness and promise, like running into an old friend you haven’t seen in years and feeling like no time has passed since you were last together.
Participating from afar is different from being there in person
Listening to recordings of the daily Awareness Through Movement® lessons on the floor on your own isn’t the same as having other people lying next you. You can’t glance around the room to find out if you interpreted the directions well. If you don’t have that often unconscious sense of the ease or difficulty of the instructions that comes from the music comes from the breath of the class.
You’ll do the lessons on your own. Something that most Feldenkrais teachers have done many times, like listening to recordings of their faculty to do an ATM® or reading and doing the lesson when preparing a class. We discovered the advantages over in person: the possibility of stopping the proceedings whenever, of taking a break, rewinding, reflecting, or revisiting later.
You’re invited to be an autodidact, to learn on your own, and to learn about your learning and how to guide it.
The same is true listening to a talk or watching a hands-on demo or any of the other videos. The advantages of on-demand learning — being responsible for your education, following your interest, going at your pace, being your own authority — don’t replace what happens in the room, in person . . . and vise versa.
Distance learning enhances learning
Online learning affords unique ways of learning.
The Mind in Motion Online school offers a roadmap of the curriculum, a guide through each training day, one section at a time. It supports your learning by giving suggestions about what to notice at each step along the way, orienting you specific aspects, suggesting ways you can learn on your own, and augmenting the experience of listening to ATMs and viewing the videos.
The online ATSO Forum provides a way for you to keep the conversation going with your classmates. For each day of the training, you’ll receive at least one question to answer or subject to address on the forum. The forum is a group chat, where you can share your thoughts, ask questions, explore obstacles and objects, develop insights, and more. The messages are stored and passes in the same location, making this a funny kind of meeting place, one that doesn’t require you to be there at the same time as the other people you’re conversing with.
Meeting twice a week on Zoom gives me a chance to address specific aspects of each training day, gives you the opportunity to work in small groups, and allows us to talk together about the curriculum and about your process.
One new approach is known as the Flipped Curriculum. Instead of the traditional approach — attending class for lecture and demonstrations while doing homework outside of class — we flip things around. The students can watch or listen to presentations online, conduct experiments, role play, and do homework in class, alone and with their classmates, all with the teacher close by, available to provide support for their learning.
The online classroom is a time for participants to give presentations, lead discussions, practice skills — with or without feedback from peers or the teacher, and try out new roles. It also gives us the opportunity to interact as facilitators and fellow learners, engage in Socratic Dialogue, relate directly with individual students via chat and in small groups, model the processes of learning, and instigate moments of co-discovery.
It’s possible to develop high touch skills using high tech . . . when social distancing is the rule of the day . . . and, yes, even if folks are sheltering in place on their own.
The challenge is to be creative, use the constraints of our current situation, and find ways to make use of the unique possibilities that online learning provides.
For instance, for as long as I can remember, a common exercise is to have future teachers in training programs (as well as teachers in postgraduate programs) turn an ATM into a hands-on Functional Integration® lesson. In ATSO, you’ll be asked to go the other way, that is to transform an FI® into an ATM. This process deepens your understanding of the lesson’s learning and compositional design and develops a deeper understanding of ATM and FI as two expressions of Moshe’s underlying and overarching methodology.
Because there are those among us who are on our own during this crisis, we’ll use the FI from this segment — KNEELING OVER THE TABLE — as a way to meet what is one of the greatest challenges for many teachers: giving ourselves a lesson. You’ll change hands-on techniques and strategies for working with others into ways of touching, sensing, and working with yourself, facing the habits that make this difficult, and improving your ability to be your own teacher. For instance, you’ll refine the ability of your hands to listen and follow; then you’ll discover how to deploy these skills to track and refine the way you work on yourself when doing ATM.
In order to help you discover what it means to give individual ATM lessons over the Internet — or to improve your abilities to do so if you’re already offering this service — we’ll explore the uses of self-touch when guiding students. This is a teaching tactic that Moshe employed more frequently in his earlier lessons; it’s one that I’ve been exploring in depth for a long time and, interestingly enough, teaching about recently. You’ll learn about how to use it working with yourself, your study buddy, and classmates in class and as part of your homework. We’ll explore the ways in which voice becomes a way to connect, in terms of how listening to the non-verbal aspects of speech relates to empathy and how speaking becomes a way to touch across distance.
If you’re interested in A TRAINING SEGMENT ONLINE but have not signed up yet, there are still a few spots available.
If you’d like to know more about the course or if you have specific questions to ask before you can sign up for the course, I’m offering two free Zoom meetings about ATSO tomorrow, Thursday (see below for exact times). I’ll start each with a short presentation about the program and then I’ll open the floor for discussion and questions. Please click on either of the links below to sign up:
ATSO – Whats in it for you #1
Thursday, 26 March
10:00 AM Pacific time
ATSO – What’s in it for you#2
Thursday, 26 March
4:30 PM Pacific time
Though the ATSO orientation sessions are happening today, you can still join the program afterward. These Zoom meetings tomorrow will probably cover much of the same content plus you’ll get access to at least one of the orientation sessions as part of your participation in the program. We start in earnest with the first day of the Amsterdam program this coming weekend so you’ll be able to join in just as the course starts in earnest.
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