The Alexander Technique: A Complete Course in How to Hold and Use Your Body for Maximum Energy
The future of Alexander Technique teacher education: principles, practices and professionalism. My intention in producing a pdf version of the thesis is to allow for a wider distribution than would be possible in paper or CD form. This pdf version appears in four sections, the second of which is this foreword. The other three sections are the 1 cover page, 3 the introductory section, including table of contents, and 4 the main text with references and appendices A and B. It seems both inappropriate and unnecessary to reproduce the chapter here —— inappropriate for copyright reasons and unnecessary because most Alexandrians will either possess or have read a copy of this classic book.
In any case, my analysis does not depend on this chapter being read in its entirety. All three academic examiners gave this thesis the highest rating. A considerable number of Alexander Technique teachers and student teachers have contributed to this work over the years this project took to complete. Many did so by simply offering me their continuing support, and others by participating in the email interviews. Readers who know themselves to be in these groups, please accept my gratitude yet again.
I welcome comments and suggestions. Please contact me at tfitzgerald alexander-school. I also certify that the thesis has been written by me. Any help that I have received in my research work and the preparation of the thesis itself has been acknowledged. In addition, I certify that all information sources and literature used are indicated in the thesis. Signature of candidate I thank them for their encouragement.
Thanks also to the lecturers who facilitated the course work component of my doctoral program, and the members of my student cohort during that period. Paul Hager subsequently became my supervisor, and I am especially grateful to him for his patience, guidance and intellectual support. I also thank Clive Chappell for agreeing to be my co-supervisor. For invaluable help in the later stages of the thesis I thank Alison Lee and my fellow student members of the doctoral writing group, and the Faculty members who produced the annual UTS Education Faculty Conferences.
In addition to the late F. Alexander himself, in the background to thank are those who made a difference in my life by teaching me to teach. Most particularly, I thank Rob Simons for his nurturing support and saintly patience. This thesis is dedicated to my parents, Katie and Frank Fitzgerald. Matthias Alexander The primary control is working well when the neck is free enough to let the head be dynamically poised on the top of the spine, the spine is lengthening or no longer shortening and the torso is free from contraction.
The Use of the Self, , pp. Letter quoted in Fischer ed. Inhibition Inhibition and habit come from the Latin habere, meaning to have, be constituted. Italics in original Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, , pp.
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As a noun, Use may be understood as two distinct yet overlapping ideas which Alexander called Manner of Use and Conditions of Use. Manner of Use refers to the more overtly observable patterns of everyday movements that may be amenable to change through reeducation, including breathing and voice production. Conditions of Use relates more to the internal muscular and neurological coordination of a person, especially as it concerns the Primary Control. The Use of the Self, , p. It may be thought of as a series of short-term ends or goals, the consequences of which can be intelligently managed at any time in the process.
Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad
An example commonly used would be standing up from a chair while paying attention to minimising habitual neck contraction. This is distinct from the purposeful gaining of an end or End-Gaining , such as moving into standing without due regard to how this movement might contribute to neck pain.
These means [include] the inhibition of the habitual use of the mechanisms of the organism, and the conscious projection of new directions necessary to the performance of the different acts involved in a new and more satisfactory use of these mechanisms. Matthias Alexander in the s and modified slightly by his successors. No academically viable research has ever been conducted into the value of these practices, despite debates about them becoming increasingly contentious. Over 75 years ago, John Dewey praised Alexander for being in the forefront of what scholars are now calling the emerging paradigm of learning.
This conceptual work also posits exemplary US school teacher education as a cognate model for AT teacher education.
Using critical pragmatism as a subsidiary methodology, I analyse the mandatory time-specific, practices of AT teacher education and conclude that these practices are not only anachronistic, they are also flawed to the extent they are devoid of qualitative assessment standards. I conclude that most of the research participants would like the following practices introduced into AT teacher education world-wide: 1 flexibility of attendance, 2 qualitative standards for beginning teachers, and 3 qualitative standards for teacher educators.
While uncertainty still remains about whether participants would completely give up the existing time-specific regulations, I suggest an attendance structure which incorporates the first of these findings. Following a review of exemplary US scholarship in the field of school teacher education and an analysis of three sets of AT teaching standards currently in circulation, I propose a provisional set of beginning AT teaching standards modelled on the holistic wording of the California Standards for school teachers.
The Alexander Technique : the Revolutionary Way to Use Your Body for Total Energy
These proposed standards incorporate the conclusions drawn from the critical and empirical work done earlier. It provides therefore the conditions for the central direction of all special educational processes. It bears the same relation to education that education itself bears to all other human activities. I cannot state too strongly the hopes that are aroused in me by the information … that Mr Alexander has, with his coadjutors, opened a training class, nor my sense of the importance that this work secure adequate support.
It contains in my judgment the promise and potentiality of the new direction that is needed in all education. Frederick Matthias Alexander began his system of professional education for teachers of the Alexander Technique AT in , and even today, the practices of AT teacher education are largely based on that system.
The overarching research question of this study is, therefore: How can the practices of AT teacher education be reconstituted in ways that meet 21st Century expectations of professional accountability and, at the same time, continue to respect the principles of the AT? First, never before in its year history has AT teacher education been critically probed in any academically rigorous way. I contend that if AT teaching is to be taken at least as seriously as the profession of school teaching, then it needs to understand its teacher education practices in similar ways, not the least through extensive research.
In this thesis I use an Alexandrian approach to organisational change in order to critically analyse the predominant practices of AT teacher education and the protocols that express them. I then reframe these protocols in ways that are consistent with the ethos of the AT itself and with exemplary standards of school teacher education.
The second reason follows from this.
I see my thesis as providing a ground plan or a template for further research into AT teacher education. My wide-ranging purpose is to establish within the AT community a culture of scholarship and academic enthusiasm that will further transform its teacher education practices in the future. An intended result of the study is that other AT teachers will be motivated to pursue related projects.
Tasmanian-born Alexander b. Beckett and Hager , p. I refer to these two paradigms of learning throughout this thesis. In any case, the emerging and normal paradigms of learning should not be regarded as dichotomous opposites competing for educational primacy. From a Deweyan perspective, Beckett and Hager , p. With the exception of just a few hundred, all of these teachers will have been educated according to the practices I am problematising in this study. Personal perspective I was certified to teach the AT in after completing three years of AT teacher education at the London training school of Patrick Macdonald b.
Since certification I have maintained a private practice as an AT teacher and taught on several teacher education programs in Sydney and London.
Between and , I owned and directed a teacher education program, the Sydney Alexander School.