In his well-articulated Foreword to Rossella Buono's and Anne Mallen's For the Love of Games: Alexander Technique Activities, David Moore makes a strong case for teaching the Alexander Technique in group settings, and for using a variety of activities within a group-teaching situation to keep the experience fresh and engaging. In their own introduction, Buono and Mallen explain the particular advantages of enjoying games and playful activities as adults in general, and for learning the Alexander Technique in particular - not least for making it plain ol' fun.
The book is written for teachers of the Alexander Technique, and as such it is an excellent resource for teachers who wish to incorporate playful activities into their group classes. Culled from years of their own experience and that of many of their colleagues, the sheer number and variety of games, generally sorted by themes, ensures that a reader will find more than a few that will serve their own immediate teaching objectives, as well as many others worth experimenting with, on their own or with their colleagues.
Fondly described by the authors as 'a bag of tricks', the nature of the book assumes a teacher would know the point of introducing a particular activity, but for good measure, 'key ideas' embedded in each activity are neatly summarized in bullet-points at the end of each activity description. These are followed by a list of questions that may help the teacher or the group appreciate the insights that stand to be gained from engaging in that specific activity. Questions that may be applicable to any, or at least to most of the games are conveniently previewed in the 'Get Ready to Play' intro, however some reflection on the potential implications of different kinds of questions (i.e. open-ended or polar 'yes\no-either\or' questions) for teacher\student relations and for learning outcomes would have been useful, especially for a field of study that examines standards.
The 'How to Use This Book' section consists mostly of a brief description of the book's organization and a license to 'use in whatever way you like' or 'make adjustments because of the needs of particular groups'. The book does not describe the authors' experience with workshop or course planning, which is a bit of a pity because without any advice on structuring a class (single or multi-session), it can be tempting to choose games that appeal most for fuzzy reasons. (My first inclination was to choose all the ones with illustrations of Jack Terriers, even though I'm more of a cat person myself.) I would urge readers to pay attention to the sequence of the sections which, I believe, follows rather more logic than the authors give themselves credit for. Furthermore, I would hope new teachers or teachers new to teaching groups will be inspired to follow Buono and Mallen's own example of enthusiastically working within (and generously acknowledging) what Moore refers to as a 'community of practice'. (Those who may not have an opportunity to do so may want to read Bobby Rosenberg's article entitled Guided Sensory Education in Group Lessons in the Alexander Technique which appeared in Issue 79 of the AmSAT News).
Easy to follow and charmingly illustrated by Isobel Knowles, the book will likely be continually useful at any time that a teacher seeks inspiration and fresh ideas for working with students - whether in groups or traditional one-on-one instruction.
2018 © Claire Rechnitzer. Reproduced with permission.
This edition © Mouritz 2018. All rights reserved.