Our Training for Certification as Teacher/Practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method:
A Description of the Process and the Curriculum
Section A: A brief description of the major elements of the curriculum.
Section B: The training day.
Section C: The training schedule: Immersion and the time between segments.
A Brief Description of the Major Elements of the Curriculum:
There will be 5 major educational tracks in the training. The first 4 address education through the senses, and the 5th contains the cognitive/intellectual material required to give shape and context to the 4 primary tracks. The 5 tracks are:
1. The kinaesthetic-sensory education
2. An education in "seeing"
3. An education in perceiving through touch
4. An education in interactive communication through touch and the spoken word
5. The cognitive education
1. The kinaesthetic-sensory education:
The primary education in the Feldenkrais Method is based in the senses. In order to train as a teacher of the Method, a comprehensive and detailed education of "self" must be undertaken. It is important to note at the outset that this part of the education will bring each student improvements---some expected and many surprising---in the realms of skill, pain reduction, and with regard to self-awareness and self-expression. This part of the education is powerful in many ways: it can be delightful, challenging, revelatory, and fun.
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:
1.rolling as learned in infancy;
2.lifting the head;
3.basic organization of the trunk and neck for learning to come from lying to sitting;
4.coming to standing.
§ There will be many sequences about the more advanced functions of life, including:
1.organizing for connection with movement through the environment:
· locomotion in its various forms and for various purposes;
2."advanced" or adult connection with the environment through hands, eyes, and in specific activities:
· production of voice;
· rehabilitation of functional use of limbs, torso, and the rest of self;
· relationship to specific devices from computers to musical instruments;
· the wide realm of self-expression and maturation.
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."
As we begin to explore ourselves from the inside out through the ATM's, we will also begin to look at each other in movement. In doing so, in both ATM and in "regular" activities, we will begin to develop an appreciation for and an ability to perceive a wide range of qualities of movement and function.
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.
Therefore, critique of each other and "correction of faults" will not be a part of this or other processes.
3. An education in perceiving through touch
To a budding sense of self-perception and of visual perceptiveness, we will add the sense of touch. In the beginning phases of the education in Functional Integration, we will touch each other with no idea to improve the other or to give any particular message. That will come later. Instead our first approximations will have to do with developing perceptive hands. This includes correlating what is learned from touch with what:
§ 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
Functional Integration and Awareness through Movement are multi-faceted processes that depend on bringing together all the prior tracks:
§ 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
One of the hallmarks of the Feldenkrais Method is that it was based on the sensory, awareness-based experiments of Moshé Feldenkrais, in addition to his studies of a multitude of scientific and other cognitive approaches to knowledge. Among these were: developmental theories of movement, personality, and cognition; mechanics; the neurosciences; learning theory; anthropology; epistemology and the philosophy of science; anatomy and physiology; comparative anatomy; and what are now called kinesiology and ergonomics.
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.
The Training Day
In a typical training day, there will be one, two or sometimes three ATM's given. Often after an ATM there will discussion of its structure, its underlying principles and other aspects. Frequently this discussion will arise from how individual students experienced the lesson: what they learned, what was clear, and what was not.
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 in San Francisco will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. There may be some variation from program to program. Individual FI lessons may be given to students before class starting at 10:45 a.m. or 11:45 a.m. 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 60 minutes. Individual FI lessons may be given at that time as well.
The training schedule: Immersion and the time between segments
A central theme in the Feldenkrais Method is the appropriate pacing of education and of the learning that results. We feel that having 2 or 3 immersion training segments a year is essential for the kind of learning that is necessary to become a teacher of this work. We also know that segments that are too long or too close together do not allow for the time needed to digest change in order to be ready to receive more.
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.
This document is intended to be a brief description of the structure of the training. Of course, no document can begin to relate the changes in self and in professional possibilities these trainings bring to their students. Each training is different and is influenced by the mix of individuals who participate. The student cohort itself becomes a valuable resource for all of its members, and the relationship with a life-long colleague is a frequent result.
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
Certified Trainers and Educational Directors