Clare Maxwell and Eleni Vosniadou
Cultivating Inspiration with Colleagues: A Strategy Session with the Experimenters Union
In the Experimenters Union, we believe that the Alexander Technique is valuable, fun, and possible for ordinary humans of all kinds to do well. We believe that each one of us has a particular way of teaching that is valid and will reach people in a way that no one else can. Yet many of us have gone through periods of confusion and doubt about our ability to do this very rigorous work.
Perhaps you have noticed self-judgmental thoughts arising when in the presence of colleagues, and you would like to feel more confident and at ease in your teaching. Perhaps you’ve made discoveries in your teaching that make you wonder if you are still teaching the AT, if you’ve strayed off course, and you’d like to have a safe place to test those ideas and get feedback without feeling judged.
Teaching as a profession takes a tremendous amount of courage and fortitude, and we all experience trepidation and doubt. It’s normal! As creative, innovative people, we can be curious about what might be sources of discouragement and create strategies to deal with it.
During this teatime, hosted by members of the Experimenters Union, we will facilitate an open discussion of the following questions:
- What creates inspiration in us as teachers? What thoughts, processes, activities, and formats for work exchange bring joy & learning?
- What causes discouragement for us as teachers?
- How do we know the difference between inspiration, constructive feedback, and discouragement?
We have developed some powerful formats for working together that we would like to share, and we’d like to hear from you too.
Discouragement may be caused by comparing our skills to those of colleagues that have completely different influences and backgrounds than us. It may come from trying to emulate a master teacher whom we are nothing like and never will be. When we look more closely, we may see that we measure ourselves against very vague, shifting standards that make it impossible to succeed.
We have found that a non-competitive, non-hierarchical work exchange format seems to inherently create a sense of safety & non-judgement. With no master teacher to emulate or please, at a certain point in our career we are much more likely to be honest about our struggles and questions, try out new ideas & teaching methods, and laugh at our own habits of thinking, moving, and relating to each other as colleagues. Using this safe container, the skills and qualities that we wish to develop as teachers improve deeply and continuously, surprising and delighting us.
If you want to create more spaces like this in our profession, this teatime is for you.
About Clare Maxwell and Eleni Vosniadou
I have been teaching the Alexander Technique for 22 years and studying for over 30, and was active as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer in the experimental dance community in NYC for most of that time. I trained at ACAT/NYC, certified with Jessica Wolf in The Art of Breathing, and am engaged in a life-long study of developmental movement forms. I am the creator of Mobile Body Alignment™, a method of bringing awareness to the self in movement that harmonizes the nervous system, skeleton, and musculature. Mobile Body Alignment™ liberates the practitioner from negative self-consciousness, stiffness, and loss of ease. Inspired by my many years dancing and teaching the Alexander Technique, Mobile Body Alignment™ can be applied to any movement form or activity.
One of my main research interests in The Union is how to get new perspectives on my habitual assumptions, especially concerning the different roles of teaching and learning; a non-hierarchical, peer-to-peer work exchange structure is one way of doing this. I’m also very interested in the plasticity of our body schema, how to practice updating, refining, or changing this self image, and how that kind of practice affects our ability to organize and move ourselves in space.
I have been studying the Alexander Technique since 2006. Growing up in Greece, my first passion was classical music. I came across AT as a percussionist with chronic pain issues related to playing and after recovering through my study of AT I went on to train as an AT teacher in London. In 2012 I became certified as an AT teacher and later moved to Brazil, where I am now happily married. I am the founder and director of Consciência Corporal para Músicos®, an AT learning program for musicians and music teachers, where music makers can go deeper in the study of AT, learning to uncover the freedom and joy in their music making. I am also on the faculty of Total Vocal Freedom, an international program for singers to enhance their music performance skills through the Alexander Technique.
As a member of the Experimenters Union, my primary interest is to explore and research the inner life of the teacher; how common challenges faced by teachers are social issues within the community of education and when it comes to teaching a subject as deep and multifaceted as the Alexander Technique, those challenges can invoke a deeper understanding of AT principles and skills, when addressed without fear and self-judgement. Also, the Experimenters Union is a place where I can freely experiment with crazy teaching ideas and formats and receive a kind of feedback that provides insight different to what I get when receiving feedback from my students.
Wednesday, 24 August 2022
17:15 h - 18:45 h
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