Let’s start the blogging year off with a juicy, controversial question:
Would you take lessons from a teacher you knew occasionally made mistakes?
Tricky one, isn’t it(*). Especially because, although the Alexander Technique is strictly speaking a form of education, in terms of description, regulation and marketing it’s normally considered an alternative therapy. Sort of medical. How many of us are comfortable with the idea that the person teaching/treating us sometimes fails, has setbacks, makes mistakes?
A few boundaries might be helpful here. I am not talking about catastrophic, life-threatening failure. Unlike, say, brain surgery, it’s actually quite difficult to make that sort of mistake in the Alexander Technique. Neither am I talking about consistent ineptitude. I’m talking about occasional, small, mundane mistakes.
But even on this very mundane scale, would you be happy if, in a lesson, your teacher said “no, I got that bit wrong, let’s try this instead”? Wouldn’t it be better if the teacher blagged their way through, or said nothing and carefully hid their failing?
For me the answer is loud and clear. No. It would not be better and here’s why. If a teacher covers up their mistakes, they are very clearly sending the student the message that mistakes and failures in Alexander lessons ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE.
Bad enough in ordinary life. But in a discipline that is based on experimenting and learning from the results of those experiments, positive or negative, that’s pretty disastrous.
What if, in lessons, the teacher modelled the process of making a mistake, analysing it calmly and objectively and learning something constructive from the experience? Consistently and repeatedly.
Might that not, over time, start to change how you react when you fail in your own Alexander process? And maybe even to change how you react when you fail in everyday life?
To me that sounds like a very valuable skill to learn.
(*) My inspiration for this question came from reading this:-
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