Wellbeing in Education and for Life
The Alexander Technique is primarily educational and practical.
It’s educational because what you learn about yourself on life’s journey sets you up for the next stage to come.
It’s practical because you can apply it to yourself and what you do.
Taken together, this practice of learning about how and why you do things places conscious direction and awareness firmly at the forefront of your problem-solving endeavours.
PAAT’s Wellbeing in Education and for Life courses show how developing due and positive diligence in what you do has benefits for outcomes.
Courses for Educators
Members of the Professional Association of Alexander Teachers (PAAT) who also hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for work in schools have developed two new courses specifically for educational practitioners, both primary and secondary age specialisms.
1. For primary and secondary student teachers and NQTs:
‘Voice and Presence to support Behaviour for Learning’.
The course consists of 12 one-hour sessions, which can be delivered over the PGCE or school year with groups of trainees or NQTs who are interested in working on the quality of teacher voice and presence, and its relation to wellbeing.
The course aims:
To raise practitioners’ awareness of how they relate to others and to the teaching environment in a context of Behaviour for Learning
To provide practical ways to change any relationship if it is a potential barrier to learning, or injurious to self
The course uses the principles of good body mechanics to help practitioners understand how preconceptions and emotions are expressed in quality of voice and physical presence. It shows how sometimes these assumptions and affective states can hurt us, and have a negative effect on our learners. By becoming aware of the interrelated nature of thought, affect and movement, we can learn to protect and develop voice and have the flexibility to explore different ways to inhabit potential spaces for teaching in the classroom and around school.
2. For any classroom practitioner:
‘Calmness and Alertness for a Positive Classroom Environment’.
This is a six-week course of one hour per week, which can be delivered in school. It may form part of CPD or the school’s wellbeing strategy. It is suitable for any staff [who are- deleted] interested in exploring the relationship between the classroom environment and the emotional responses of the teacher. The course has the possibility of being run on 3 consecutive levels, each consisting of six one hour sessions. Optimally, these take place at weekly intervals.
The course aims:
To enable classroom practitioners to become more aware of how they react emotionally to individual learners and whole classes and how that does or does not contribute to wellbeing.
To help classroom practitioners learn how to develop an approach of calm alertness which allows them to choose how they respond to learners
The course uses the principles of good body mechanics to help practitioners put into practice their intentions for a calm and purposeful learning environment in a way that promotes wellbeing. Participants bring their knowledge and experience of how best intentions of staying calm can sometimes go astray, and explore how to change emotional and physical responses in a very practical way in order to maintain a stance of calm alertness.
Courses for Life
Maintaining Function for the over-50s through the Alexander Technique.
If we are to stay active as we get older, it is recommended we start sooner rather than later. This course from the Professional Association of Alexander Teachers is designed to help us be active in a way we can sustain for ourselves through time, promoting an understanding of good body mechanics in everyday activities as a means for maintaining potential.
It seems obvious to say that our physical capacities diminish as we grow older, but there is increasing evidence that keeping active will have a positive impact on those capacities. In other words, it is really worth aiming to maintain as much of our functioning as possible.
In many cases, what works against us are our idiosyncrasies of movement and balance (for example, how we stand) which we have developed along the way. The Alexander Technique allows us to identify those habits and learn how to set them aside so that the underlying mechanisms of upright posture can operate at their maximum.
Although we are encouraged to start early, it is never too late! Excepting where there is some form of disease, we can slow, or mitigate the decline in strength and mobility at almost any age. But there seems to be evidence that the earlier we start the better. And we should not allow ourselves to be put off from working on maintaining function because we have not previously enjoyed sport or other physical activities. Simply knowing how to carry out our daily activities according to good body mechanics allows us to practise keeping mobility and strength at a level which suits us, so they can be used to do different kinds and levels of activity in a sustainable way.
PAAT runs 3 consecutive levels of Maintaining Function for the over 50s, each consisting of 6 one- hour sessions, starting with Introductory Level 1. Participation in Level 2 requires prior attendance at Level 1, and Level 3 requires participation at Level 2.
Introductory Level 1:
Awareness and understanding of our own body mechanics and habits in basic activities.
Deepening awareness and understanding to carry out more complex movements.
Application of principles to a wider range of activities and different levels of effort.
Age UK (n.d.) Healthy Aging Evidence Review http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/For-professionals/Health-and-wellbeing/Evidence Review Healthy Ageing.pdf (accessed 3.5.17)
Frändin, K., Grönstedt, H., Helbostad, J.L., Bergland, A., Andresen, M., Puggaard, L., Harms-Ringdahl K., Granbo, R. and Hellström, K. (2016) Long-Term Effects of Individually Tailored Physical Training and Activity on Physical Function, Well-Being and Cognition in Scandinavian Nursing Home Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Gerontology, 62:571-580.
Lafortune, L., Martin, S., Kelly, S., Kuhn, I., Remes. O., Cowan, C. and Brayne, C. (2016), Behavioural Risk Factors in Mid-Life Associated with Successful Ageing, Disability, Dementia and Frailty in Later Life: A Rapid Systematic Review, PLoS ONE, 11 (2):e0144405.
Warburton, D.E.R., Whitney Nicol, C. and Bredin, S.S.D. (2006), Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence, Canadian Medical Association Journal, 174 (6), 801-9.
1 Warburton, Whitney Nicol & Bredin (2006)
2 Age UK (nd)
3 Frändin, Grönstedt, Helbostad, Bergland, Andresen, Puggaard, Harms-Ringdahl, Granbo & Hellström (2016)
4 Lafortune, Martin, Kelly, Kuhn, Remes, Cowan & Brayne (2016)