Our Training for Certification as Teacher/Practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method:
1. The kinaesthetic-sensory education
1. The kinaesthetic-sensory education:
The two main modalities for this are:
§ the hundreds of hours of Awareness through Movement (ATM) lessons that students will receive; and
§ the Functional Integration (FI) lessons that students will receive from their faculty members and experienced practicing teachers, as well as from the more advanced FI practice-with-peers that students will give each other in the later stages of the training.
The ATM lessons will be primarily organized into threads according to the following general categories. These threads will be woven together at times, and at other times will be presented in distinct and differentiated ways. Not all ATMs can, or need, to be categorized.
The developmental thread:
§ We will examine and experience a recapitulation of the stages of development of movement, of self-expression, of cognition, and of emotional and physical maturation.
§ It should be noted that we are not interested in promoting regression, per se, nor in a sterile pantomime of how movement develops. Dr. Feldenkrais' idea of "organic learning" will be more fully developed in the first days of the training.
The "Phylogenetic" thread:
§ Dr. Feldenkrais' ideas about the development of movement and cognition as driven and shaped by the requirement to make a biologically successful connection with the environment will also be explored through sensory means in ATM.
Breath and Breathing:
§ These are what could be called "core" functions. Breath and breathing will, indeed, be examined separately, but they are always a major element of ATM and FI simply because they are a major element of life.
§ There will be developmental and "advanced" sequences related to balance. Among the developmental (and this is just a partial list) will be:
§ There will be many sequences about the more advanced functions of life, including:
Explorations of the specifics of anatomy:
§ While the Feldenkrais Method is primarily "holistic" in its view, we also need to focus on the structure of the body in terms of musculature and skeleton with some degree of precision. In this way of thinking, these structures become like the letters of the alphabet: in and of themselves not very meaningful for communication, but nonetheless essential as elements of expression through the written word.
Finally, I wish to emphasize that although I am offering the above scheme, this education will not be linear nor, on a personal level, quite so neatly packaged. We hope for some measure of exhilaration and surprise.
2. An education in "seeing."
It is very important to understand that the Feldenkrais Method is not about learning to move in a limited number of "correct" ways, nor about having "good posture," nor about judging each other or our eventual clients on such bases. Primary to the concept of education in the Feldenkrais Method is having a place for learning to take place that is as "safe" as we can manage to create and maintain. Respect for each other is a major component of the training atmosphere.
3. An education in perceiving through touch
§ we learn about ourselves in ATM,
§ we are beginning to see as differences between people,
§ we know and are learning about anatomy and development and other cognitive studies.
4. An education in interactive communication through touch and the spoken word
§ to be able to reference one's self;
§ to be able to recognize differences between self and other and between other people;
§ to be able to recognize how an individual organizes their movement and functional self-expression.
As experience in all of the above accumulates, we will begin to practice a host of different ways of contacting people through the spoken word while learning to give ATM lessons, and through the spoken word as well as with educative touch in practicing FI. In the beginning, the practices will be small as we continue to form the perceptual and cognitive basis for becoming teachers of the Method.
By the end of the 2nd year of training, students will be given permission to practice as student teachers of Awareness through Movement.
At the end of the 4th year, graduating teachers will be certified teacher/practitioners eligible to practice both Awareness through Movement and Functional Integration, subject only to the requirements for continuing education as set by their national Guild or professional association.
5. The Cognitive Education
Dr. Feldenkrais was always clear, however, that in the Method we move from experience to theory, not the other way around. Sensory/experiential processes remain the core of the education.
In the training, we will have readings, lectures, presentations, and videos representing the history and/or the latest developments in many of the above fields of inquiry. However, given the breadth of the supporting sciences, we cannot begin to compete with a purely academic education devoted to these subjects. Also, while written materials and outside courses are available in all of the above fields, the only place to get a thorough grounding in the Feldenkrais Method is in the training. Therefore, we will spend the majority of our time studying and practicing the Method, while using our remaining time on supplementary studies to provide context and support for our main activity.
In keeping with Dr. Feldenkrais' own polices, we will encourage and support each student to follow their own intrinsic curiosity in choosing and giving weight to these supporting studies. The educational directors will discuss this with each student to help him or her develop a reading plan.
There will also be lectures by training faculty, audiovisual presentations on various subjects, including some lectures given by Dr. Feldenkrais. There will be guest presentations and demonstrations of Functional Integration lessons.
The training day will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There may be some variation from program to program. Individual FI lessons may be given to students before class starting at 8:15 a.m. and after class in the afternoon. These lessons are generally open for observation by other students.
Each student will receive 16 individual FI sessions from experienced teachers the cost of which is included in their tuition. We will provide, as well, the opportunity for students to receive additional lessons at a discounted cost.
There will be a mid-day break of 90 minutes. Individual FI lessons may be given at that time as well.
Organizing the training this way has often raised questions from prospective students about what they will need to do between training segments. The most important function is to assimilate what has been learned. Most students report changes large and small in the way they perceive themselves, in the way they move, and even in the way they think. This is largely an automatic function, yet time is an important factor. Changes that occur at the most fundamental levels of self-perception and self-organization seem to be woven into the fabric of our lives without effort. And yet observation of this process is important for understanding how the Method will work with future clients.
There will be some reading to do. Required reading will include all the works of Dr. Feldenkrais. We will also suggest an extensive list of books in a variety of supporting subjects. We will be true to one of Dr. Feldenkrais' most often repeated principles: that each individual should follow the path and the pace of his or her own curiosity. The educational directors will consult with each student about this part of their education.
As the training progresses, students will have more and more material to practice, such as going over ATMs in order to learn them well enough to teach them and practicing the hands-on FI work to understand the principles involved.
If you have any question about this training and how it might apply to you, please contact us by phone, letter, or email.
Paul Rubin and Julie Casson Rubin