Last week I talked about what makes group classes so different, ie. the ability to watch and learn. This week, I want to celebrate the wonderful students who came to that first class.
You see, they did watch, and they did indeed learn.
The lesson on how to drink the last of your wine from a glass without tilting your head way back went down a storm. Everyone in the group could relate to that problem. Everyone wanted to try it out, to experiment with which bits needed to tilt(*), how important it was (or wasn’t) to stick your elbow out, and to decide what beverage they were most likely to be drinking.
When one student chose a ‘getting out of a chair’ lesson, everyone had a go at locating their hip joints. Even the people whose own lesson didn’t involve hip joints at all got to lean in their chairs to experiment with moving at their newly-found hip joints.
But the best part (for me at least) was when I asked the question, “Do I – as an Alexander teacher – care whether someone sits upright or slouches?” The student on their very first lesson answered “Yes”. Good answer. The student who has just done the 8-week introductory course answered “No”. Better answer. The student who is now an old hand at this answered “It depends, on how they are doing it”. Best answer of all. I couldn’t ask for a better teaching opportunity. It was my cue to do some hands-on work with the student in the teaching chair; after which the whole room could see that the slouch we now had was a completely different sort of slouch to the one we started with.
Recently Seth Godin talked about how standards, culture and raising the bar for achievement all become contagious when you are in a crowd of inquisitive, focussed peers (**). What a perfect demonstration.
(*) We decided on wrist and arm for the most part. Head only for the last mouthfuls, and then only very slightly. But more if drinking from a can.
(**) If you can believe it, three days after I wrote last week’s blog, Seth Godin described how working in a group of like-minded people pushes you to become even better.