Monday, January 21, 2013

W04.01 Bad Backs Go Away, Passions Stick Around - Who Do You Want To Be Teaching?


I can't remember the last time I lay in semi-supine – I simply don't do it anymore. I don't do tablework with my trainees either, although somehow they manage to find out about it. The only time I encounter 'chairwork' is when my trainees ask me, "What is chairwork?" and, "Why don't we study chairwork?" From time to time I get complaints from them about that.

So if I don't do tablework, and I don't do chairwork, it would be reasonable to ask – what do I do? My simple answer is that I engage my student in exploring the application of Alexander's discoveries to any activity they choose. Of course it can involve standing and sitting in a chair, but more often it does not.

I did do tablework and chairwork for over ten years, so the change in my current teaching was not sudden. It is this journey, together with the insights and understandings that drove it, that I will share with you this week. This is marketing at it’s deepest - the machine code that supports everything built upon it. And the journey starts with a critical question: what is your intention as a teacher?

What Is Your Service Product?

To many outsiders, we appear to be helping individuals to rid themselves of pain in all its multifarious forms. We know this is a misunderstanding of the nature of Alexander's discoveries, but I sometimes wonder how deep our own misunderstanding runs? 

It is often written that Alexander's ’problem’ was the loss of his voice, and his ’discovery‘ was how he could remedy this ‘problem’. However, losing his voice was only a ‘problem’ for Alexander because he wanted to be an actor. Aside from the practical persistence of the man, the outstanding point from his own story is his deep and passionately held wish to be an actor. He was not trying to solve his problem, he was trying to be a performer; losing his voice was the obstacle to realizing this wish.

Can you see how that relates to niche? It’s not the problem that motivates your students most to have lessons, it is their secret dreams, their passions that motivate them. That's why you focus on the niche, on the dream and become the person who supports overcoming the obstacles, and there will always be different obstacles. People don't lose passions, they do lose back pains. Which one do you want your work hooked to?

When I see a teacher leading their student to a chair or table, with little time spent on drawing out the student's wishes, I wonder if that teacher understands the potentiality of harnessing the student's wish to drive their learning, and keeping them as a student? This goes to finding their wish, and that is another name for niche, but it also implies changing the way you teach. Radically. More on that later this week.

Alexander's wish to be an actor drove his process of discovery, so why not apply this insight with your own students? Or apply it to finding students? Something to think about...

TOMORROW: 4 Questions That Could Revolutionize Your Teaching…
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