LIBRARY - Reference(s)

The Thinking Teacher's Body: Review by Susan Lehotsky.

AT Focus: 
Alexander Technique
Article, essay
Article, citation and copright
Article Text: 
The Thinking Teacher's Body is a comprehensive and accessible guide to managing the physical, vocal, and emotional stresses of being in front of a classroom or an audience. The author recommends finding an Alexander Technique teacher, and the book can be used to complement lessons or as a guide to independent exploration. The text is enriched by exercises geared toward fostering self-exploration and understanding and to building the skill of self-care.

Looking After Yourself in the Classroom
The first part of the book explores common problems that arise for instructors and performers. The author introduces the idea that changing how we behave can have a positive effect on how we think and feel. As the book progresses, focus gradually shifts from developing awareness to developing methods for resolving difficulties with active direction. The author offers exercises to explore specific physical, vocal, and emotional habits along with tips for how to counter common tensions.

Making More of Yourself
The next part of the book focuses on developing and enhancing skills for speaking, listening and performing. It addresses posture, facial expression, use of the eyes, stillness and movement, and discusses the use of space and proximity to the audience. In this section the focus of the explorations shifts from developing the overall instrument to developing and honing these specific skills.

First Principles Revisited
Part three, introduces some broader applications of these enhanced performance skills and discusses how to bring them into the classroom. As speech is a primary tool for teaching, much of the text is focused on developing the physical foundation for healthy vocalization as well as the direction for developing a new habit of speech. Beyond this there is a focus on expanding the awareness of the space, both internal and external, that one inhabits in performance, with explorations that focus on peripheral vision, wide focus hearing, eye contact and meaningful movement. The more time I spend reading this book and exploring the exercises, the more useful I find it.

Copyright © 2016 Susan Lehotsky
( Reproduced with permission.

This edition © Mouritz 2016. All rights reserved.