Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tricky to Communicate

 It is so curious how common it is, when you are attracted to study something, what usually attracts you is so seldom the real thing. You can only find out how misguided and naive you were later, once you dedicate yourself to learning about what captured your curiosity.

After reading a few books on better explaination and communication, I decided to apply its message to introducing Alexander Technique. 

 Most of the models that were suggested, (the book that "walked its talk" the best was "The Art Of Explanation" by Lee Lefever) used a "solve a problem" model. Although I recognize that the motivation to change and improve is often driven by a painful or negative problem, it has always seemed to me to be a tawdry appeal. Alexander Technique ends up sounding like snake oil if you list the many ways that it can be applied. We are hit by so much advertising in our culture.

The advantages of learning Alexander Technique are a bit like learning to read. Because the skill is a "how" and not really a "what," it can be applied to any interest. In our culture, reading is essential, but how would you convince a grownup who lived in a illiterate culture that they should invest the time to learn to read?

Of course, I ended up using Alexander Technique to solve many of my own problems. At the time, I was a sales person for my sign business. My "natural" voice mannerisms used to modulate up and down, which meant to prospective sign buyers that I was possibly unreliable so they didn't want to give me half the money up front to make them a sign. Using what I'd learned from Alexander Technique, I was able to change my voice mannerisms. A.T. had other advantages for me in that it allowed me to change how others regarded me in their first impressions. To give you an idea of its many other applications, I've used it to walk without a congenital limp, to learn to juggle, to learn faster to play nine-ball at a pool table, to prevent wrinkles on my face and to stop being petrified about public speaking.

But after thinking about all of these, I decided to select as the motive for my little storyboard the same reason that originally attracted me to become interested at my first exposure. Using Alexander Technique has the ability to change my consciousness, to expand my awareness - to evoke "flow." Abraham Maslow had called this state of flow: "peak experience."

"Flow" - I believe that it's a term coined by this researcher/psychologist, (who's last name I can't spell)

So, I made a storyboard. It's a sketched outline of how I'd explain Alexander Technique using my idea. Here's my story board... (Click on it to enlarge)

 In my case, my desire to evoke "FLOW" that was what attracted me to Alexander Technique. As I learned and studied, unlike most misunderstandings about the nature of what you're really learning, my hunch about Alexander Technique turned out to be the "real thing." My efforts to embody what my Alexander teachers had me "undo" did not disappoint my initial expectations. My original motive to learn Alexander Technique came from a desire to find a way to evoke an elusive state of mind that made me very, very happy... A state of mind that I'd experienced many times that was "flow" but I couldn't evoke it on purpose.

Bear in mind this sketch is merely a suggestion about how the real presentation would go...

Of course, from seeing a sketches of images on a story board, if you're not the creator, it might be tricky to imagine what the sketches would be indicating. Qualities of the communication might be determined by the pictures that are chose to be used to influence the final result. For instance, here's a picture of a Balinese dance teacher with his arms guiding a younger dance student, his hands entwined and supporting.

But this next one is even better....Because it shows the "embodied cognition" in the teacher's stance who has her hands on the torso to show by example in the moment the way she knows the younger girl in front of her could move freer. The teacher is emulating or modeling in the way she moves at the same time she is communicating what she means to the student. That's the magic part of what makes the Alexander Technique so unique. I racked my brain to find another example of this somewhere in the world, and this was the only thing I could find. But how many people have been to Bali to take dance lesson who would have known about this method of communication?

Can you think of another example where the teacher uses this direct "showing" method of teaching?

What do you think of this style of presenting Alexander Technique? If you're the sort of person who can imagine something from a sketch or an idea, what do you think of this story board plan?

(Also, I'd love to see the results of a story-board to illustrate or plan out what you'd like to communicate that you might have made.)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Franis, I LOVE your story board and your post is so warmly encouraging, I agree that coming to a solution via a 'problem' has tawdry appeal...coming to a solution in order to experience FLOW is very appealing indeed...who wouldn't want to do that?!!