Riverside Initiative’s Curriculum
Our three-year Teacher Certification Program (TCP) is approved by the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT), with Nanette Walsh as its Director, and Ariel Carson and Lori Schiff as its Associate Directors. It offers study with several other senior teachers and skilled faculty and draws on the talents and resources of experienced guest teachers, and affiliates.
Training to become a teacher of the Alexander Technique involves undertaking a unique form of self-study that focuses on personal development. In-depth study of a student’s use in practical procedures and activities is an essential prerequisite for the refined hands-on skills that are the hallmark of good Alexander Technique teaching. Daily individual work with teachers and small supervised groups engaged in developmentally structured activities aid in the self-discovery process. Throughout the training students are practically immersed in the fundamentals of the Alexander Technique: Primary Control, Inhibition/Non-Doing, Direction, the development of Reliable Sensory Appreciation and Non-Endgaining.
Training at the Riverside Initiative is a complete preparation for becoming a professional teacher.
To prepare students for professional life, trainees are also instructed in:
- basic skills for running a private practice and/or working in universities, schools, medical settings, rehabilitation centers etc…
- professional ethics
- marketing and use of media
- development of interpersonal communication skills
- fundamentals in clinical psychology issues
Simultaneous to self study and the cultivation of one’s personal use, trainees are guided through simple step-by-step processes that developmentally build confidence and ability in using their hands to teach others. More complex hands-on skills are introduced as the training progresses in the second year; by the third year trainees give lessons under faculty supervision. Supervised lessons and clinic hours offer an opportunity to benefit from experienced faculty while encountering some of the practical problems in teaching. (Click here for more information about how to get involved as a student with supervised teaching!)
Throughout the training there is a daily lecture and discussion period covering a variety of crucial subjects for becoming a professional teacher:
– the writings of F.M. Alexander and first-generation teachers
– important other writings and texts within the field
– the study of anatomy and kinesiology from an embodied and experiential perspective
– articles and texts from the fields of psychology, philosophy and science
Trainees also benefit from guest teachers and lecturers speaking on specialized topics ranging from the performing arts to marketing and entrepreneurship, to the unique challenges of working with children, the elderly, disabled and those coping with pain.
The aim of lecture discussions, and visits from guest teachers, is for trainees to become comfortable and confident intelligibly explaining the Technique to a diverse range of people.
- Self Study: As the ability to teach depends on an awareness and ability to constructively influence one’s own use; the core of the curriculum focuses on the in-depth study of the use of oneself, coupled with the increasing awareness and ability to cultivate the conditions which positively and constructively influence one’s use. To facilitate optimal self-study, trainees are given intensive daily training in practical methods that help develop understanding of the fundamental principles of the Alexander Technique. These principles include: Inhibition, Direction, Awareness, Primary Control, Non-doing, Reliable Sensory Appreciation, Non End-gaining/Means-whereby, Relationship of Use and Functioning; Psycho-physical Unity
- Hands-On Skill: Cultivating the ability to convey an integrated kinesthetic experience is the special skill upon which teaching the Alexander Technique is based. The development of teaching skills happens in a step-by-step structured process over the course of the three years.
The first year: Trainees establish a foundation of good use based on an understanding and practice of the basic principles. Attention to themselves and their own process is of main importance in the first year. Intensive Hands-On guidance in individual Chair and Table work, and small apprentice style groups facilitate this process. Consistent experience in practical work (see below) cultivates the conditions necessary for constructive influence of their own use. As their confidence in their experiences of improved use and functioning builds they establish a foundation of basic practices from which more advanced skills can develop.
The second year: Trainees continue to receive intensive Hands-On guidance to facilitate and evaluate their study, and they continue to take part in apprenticeship style groups to develop their teaching skills. In their Hands-On Groups the reliability of a trainee’s sensory appreciation and their sensitivity of touch are emphasized in step-by-step developmental processes. Their ability to move forward relies on a continual building upon the first year’s foundation of self-awareness and the ability to effect a more coherent and organized Primary control through Inhibition and Direction, i.e. their own improved use and functioning.
The third year: Trainees continue to develop more refined teaching skills through intensive Hands-On guidance and apprenticeship style groups. The structured developmental process opens up to include more “variations of a teacher’s art”. Problem solving practical issues in the lesson and the development of verbal teaching and presentation skills are emphasized.
Riverside Initiative’s philosphy of training is grounded in a long tradition of in-depth study of personal use as the foundation for hands-on skills which are the hallmark of good teaching. It is widely recognized that this learning process takes time. The course requires the satisfactory completion of 1600 hours of study over three years; 160 of these hours will be allocated to approved independent study in which students may pursue an individual area of interest.
Contact Riverside Initiative for the Alexander Technique