From Our ACAT Faculty: "Does training teachers require a different set of skills?" by Brooke Lieb

Brooke headshotsby Brooke Lieb

Training teachers is a different contract than work with private students.

My private students are the ones who set the pace and depth of how they work with their own habits. I explore whatever activities or concepts are most useful, relevant and meaningful to them. I have no timeframe for their progress, and no agenda about their level of understanding or interest in the work. As a teacher, I need the scope of understanding to meet my students where they are, and to give them the skills of Alexander’s work to use as they choose. They, on the other hand, are there for themselves and their own needs. I notice things going on in their behavior, use and function that they may be unaware of. I take my lead from them to determine when and how I might share those observations with the student. Learning this skill is something I hope to impart to a teacher-in-training.

On the training course, I expect and demand a much higher level of rigor and commitment from teachers-in-training. They are no longer focusing exclusively on themselves and their needs and interests. I am assessing their skills against a standard and there are specific developmental benchmarks for them to meet to progress to the next level. I strive to be clear and able to articulate in every moment what I am doing, why and how so I can transfer that knowledge in a way that will be accessible for teachers-in-training when they are the ones teaching.

When I teach a private student, I have an awareness of myself, my student and the interplay between us. My private students don’t need to observe or understand my role in their learning, but the teachers-in-training need to understand the "means where-by" of teaching. They are using the skills they learned when studying privately and applying them to the task of teaching. On the training course I teach teachers-in-training pedagogical skills that are not specific to the Alexander Technique. A teacher-in-training needs a clear understanding of how and why touch is used to teach, whether touch is ultimately used in a given class or lesson. I also need an understanding of group dynamics, and how to support individual needs balanced with the needs of the group.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]N. BROOKE LIEB, Director of Teacher Certification since 2008, received her certification from ACAT in 1989, joined the faculty in 1992. Brooke has presented to 100s of people at numerous conferences, has taught at C. W. Post College, St. Rose College, Kutztown University, Pace University, The Actors Institute, The National Theatre Conservatory at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Dennison University, and Wagner College; and has made presentations for the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Scoliosis Foundation, and the Arthritis Foundation; Mercy College and Touro College, Departments of Physical Therapy; and Northern Westchester Hospital. Brooke maintains a teaching practice in NYC, specializing in working with people dealing with pain, back injuries and scoliosis; and performing artists.[/author_info] [/author]