Continuous Professional Development
The Alexander Technique is first and foremost a practical technique.
When we apply the Alexander Technique to our lives, we do so on a day by day basis. In this sense, its application lends itself to being continuous, and is in essence concerned with our individual development.
PAAT teachers meet regularly to work at their Alexander Technique practice and share insights and reflections. We do so to develop our own understanding and practice of the Technique, and the skills and experience we gain informs what we pass on to pupils and students in our teaching rooms and on our courses. As members of the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council, we are committed to continuous professional development as a means of improving the quality of our teaching provision over time.
Here you will find accounts of our professional work sessions, including details of themes and issues we consider to be important as we take our teaching practice forward into the 2020s.
Our current areas of interest relate primarily to the importance of consistency of inhibition and direction, and we seek also to investigate individualising the work with the hands.
Shallowford, November 2019
PAAT held a CPD weekend at Shallowford House in Staffordshire in November. The event was well attended, and there was a range of input and activities, all focussed around developing the use of the hands in teaching.
There was also time to socialise and enjoy the peaceful grounds at Shallowford.
Birmingham, December 2019
A two-hour work session was held in Birmingham on 14th December 2019 as part of the PAAT CPD programme, followed by a Christmas meal at Winterbourne House.
Virtual Meeting, April 2nd 2020
Our first online CPD session was held on Sat 02 April. The theme was Consistency in applying the Alexander Technique and the development of sensory appreciation.
The initial focus of the session was on individuals working as a group to bring attention to their use in sitting, with the support of expert guidance. Participants then explored the act of rising to standing before moving onto small movements of the ankles, knees and hips in standing.
The second part of the session involved the group looking in detail at use of the hands in an everyday activity (washing and drying) and included an engaging review of the relevant anatomy and of the potential issues surrounding use of the hands.
Both series of activities were followed by feedback sessions where insights were shared. Colleagues mentioned some of the situations which they were considering while working from/staying at home such as teaching the piano online, working at a computer. Discussion also included the importance of starting each day by working on ourselves and having a structure/timetable for the day.
Virtual Meeting, April 18th 2020
Our second online CPD session was held on Sat 18 April continuing the theme of: Consistency in applying the Alexander Technique and the development of sensory appreciation.
The group explored these themes across a range of activities including working at holding and using mobile phones, the nature of transitions between postures, and the application of the Alexander Technique to walking from the point of view of taking daily exercise in this time of lockdown. All the activities included practical work and reference to the anatomy of hand, forearm and shoulder.
Once more the session proved to be extremely helpful in allowing participants to work on their use of themselves and also to give virtual support to each other in our practice of the Technique at a time when we, of necessity, are unable to meet up in person for our usual CPD.
Virtual Meeting, May 2020
An online CPD session was held on Saturday 2nd May, continuing with the theme of Consistency in applying the Alexander Technique and of developing our Sensory Appreciation.
The session began with participants giving detailed attention to their use through guided sitting and going from sitting to standing. There was then a focus on giving attention to the standing setup in three stages: just noticing, guided noticing, and making adjustments to promote improved use in standing.
The next part of the session offered the opportunity for feedback and discussion in small groups on the experience of daily practice, specifically relating to using the hands to develop one’s own sensory appreciation and use.
This was followed by summaries of some research on mechanical stress related to posture and balance which was then discussed in small groups.
The final part of the session focused on the poise of the head, with participants benefitting from each other’s feedback.
The session was very well attended and the work and discussions were again lively and productive, with varied and engaging content which gave participants a valuable opportunity to work together for their personal development as well and for the benefit of PAAT.
Virtual Meeting, June 13th 2020
A CPD session was held online on 13th June 2020.
In the first session, work centred on giving detailed guided attention to aspects of use including a particular focus on the facial area, all in the context of what could be done in a virtual lesson. This work was enriched by an exploration of research on the subject of facial expression and emotion.
The second session continued guided, hand-free, practical work on investigating the ideal set up in standing when working with tools. This work focused on specific research but bringing in considerations of mechanical advantage and of how we best engage ourselves in the activity.
The morning ended with a group discussion around application of the Technique to teeth cleaning, and how that could be taught virtually, following on the theme of application of principles of good use in routine daily activities.