What Happens in a lesson?
This really is a difficult one to explain, as one of the great joys of teaching the technique is that each lesson is different, depending on the state of the pupil, the teacher and the time it happens.
There are some common elements though. Usually we start with either an introductory chat (first lesson) or a quick catch-up and decide what to focus on. This could be something like balance or neck tension, a particular activity that is proving troublesome – writing perhaps, or using a keyboard. Or it could pick up a point that the pupil has read or thought about and wants to explore – inhibition for instance. Generally this will be explored either working in the chair or as an activity moving around. Because the technique addresses the whole person, we never just work on one particular bit of the body in isolation.
At some point in the lesson the pupil usually moves onto the couch and we work round the body while they lay in semi-supine . We may then go back to a last few minutes of activity before the end of the lesson. This layout of a lesson is not fixed though. If a pupil is tense when they arrive for a lesson for instance we may go straight to the couch and keep chair or activity work for later. Alternatively if a pupil is in a wheel-chair we may decide just to work at AT while being in their chair for a few lessons, to save them the effort of moving to the couch.
Whatever type of work we are doing, a key point is that the pupil is engaged with what is going on, so they can take the ideas and experience away with them at the end of the lesson and carry them into their daily life. I will always explain what I propose and why, and get the pupil’s agreement before proceeding.
While we set the agenda each week to emphasise the elements that are key to you, within a set of six lessons I will always try and at least touch on the main ideas and procedures of the Technique, or explain to you why we are missing any bits out.
For children, I usually recommend a shorter 30 minute lesson and will try and involve both parent and child in activities, keeping the chair and couch sessions shorter at first, to build up the awareness in stillness that these encourage. Older children may move onto full length lessons, but younger children are generally better sticking to a short lesson regularly.
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