COMPANION

Three Year Teacher Training

Alexander started his first three-year training course in 1931 and, apart from the interruption by World War II, it continued until his death in 1955. The three-year model has been adopted by many Alexander Teachers’ societies.

History

The first teacher training course started in 1931 at 16, Ashley Place, and continued until 1940 when Alexander went to the US. Here he started a small training course which was continued by A. R. Alexander when F. M. returned to London in 1944.

Upon his return to London he restarted the training course and it continued until his death in 1955. After his death four of his assistant teachers continued the training course, first called The Use of the Self Ltd., and in 1960 Walter Carrington took over the training course and continued it as The Constructive Teaching Centre Ltd. Marjory and Wilfred Barlow, who had run a training course briefly 1950-52,[1] also started a training course around 1956. And in 1956 Patrick Macdonald started a training course at Ashley Place.

These three training courses were the only three-year teacher training courses until 1972 when Peter Scott started a course (a continuation of Patrick Macdonald’ course). Paul Collins and Betty Collins (later Langford) started a teachers training course in the 1970s which folded around 1979. Several other three-year training courses started in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Structure

The structure of Alexander’s training course is described by Lulie Westfeldt:

The course met five days a week for nine months in the year. F. M. would work with us from ten to twelve in the morning, and often his brother A. R., until he went to the United States in 1933, would work with us too.[2]

In addition, the students would meet for three or four hours in the afternoon and work with each other. However, this extra-hours arrangement appears unique to the first training course (1931-34).

Some details of the 1946 structure, fees, etc., are given in a four-page flyer[3]

STAT Regulation

Following the formation of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) in 1958 some rules regarding training courses were agreed upon. STAT has since expanded upon the rules to include minimum criteria, and later to govern the approval and conduct of training courses. By the mid-1970s the minimum criteria consisted of 1,600 hours over three years, with five days a week, and three hours per day. These have since been modified so, for example, four days a week is allowed as well. Affiliated societies to STAT follow similar rules. Other Alexander Teacher organisations adopt an apprenticeship model or a modular approach.

The three-year teacher training course structure is also used by some teachers who are not members of STAT or its affiliated societies.

Criticism

The PhD thesis, ‘The Future of Alexander Technique Teacher Education’ by Terry Fitzgerald criticises using a time-specific numerical protocol – 1600 hours attendance over three years – instead of an assessment of compentencies as a qualification criterion.[4] (For criticism of the thesis, see review in Conscious Control, 2008.[5])

See also F. M. Alexander’s Teacher Training.

References

[1] ‘Vera Cavling – A portrait of a life with the Alexander Technique’ by Jean M. O. Fischer in Conscious Control vol. 1 no. 2, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 2007), pp. 85–86.
[2] F. Matthias Alexander: The Man and His Work by Lulie Westfeldt (Mouritz, 1998 [1964]), p. 34.
[3] ‘A New Profession – General particulars of the training course for teachers of the F. Matthias Alexander Technique’ (1946), reproduced as a facsimile in A Time to Remember by Walter H. M. Carrington (The Sheildrake Press, 1996), endpapers.
[4] ‘The Future of Alexander Technique Teacher Education’ by Terry Fitzgerald, PhD Thesis, (The University of Technology, Sydney, 2007).
[5] ‘Review of “The Future of Alexander Technique Teacher Education”’ in Conscious Control vol. 2 no. 1, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 2008), p. pp. 81-91.
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