At about the age of 45, I began to experience severe pain in both of my knees. I was told I had damaged the cartilage, initially caused by the use of a kicking strap on a sailing dinghy, and made worse by many years of beagling, and to stop beagling or risk ending up in a wheelchair. A few years later a friend suggested the Alexander Technique. At first I was very sceptical, but had also reached the stage where I was ready to try virtually any means to solve the problem. A few weeks after my first lesson, I had gone out beagling, but only walking. Some hounds had separated from the main pack and the Master asked a friend to go and bring them back. As the friend ran past me, he asked me to accompany him in order to help him. I was amazed I could run without any pain whatsoever. My back pain had also almost completely disappeared although it remained a small problem for a while. If the pain recurred, I would almost immediately lie down to apply the Technique. It is now many years since I last had back pain. I am now 75 years old and still go out beagling.
All the Teacher Training Courses listed on our website are approved by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) which is the oldest and most widely recognised professional teaching body, established in 1958.
Courses are run by Heads of Training who must have at least 10 years continuous teaching experience and membership of STAT. Proposals to run courses are rigorously assessed by STAT's Training Course Committee and are approved by its full Council.
To meet STAT standards, courses must offer at least 1600 class hours over at least three years. 80% of the hours must consist of practical work in the Alexander Technique. During practical work the ratio of teachers to students must be no less than one teacher to every five students. For the full standards please refer to Section 10 of STAT's Rules.
If you are considering a training course that is not approved by STAT you should consider very carefully whether it meets the standards adopted by STAT. Our standards incorporate the key features of the first training course established by FM Alexander in 1931.
Required qualifications and previous experience
Since Alexander teachers are often called upon to work with people of widely differing ages, needs and interests, almost any form of previous training and experience can be an advantage, but is not essential. Normally students will have had a course of individual lessons in the Alexander Technique before training as teachers, but this is not a prerequisite in all cases.
Applications for teacher training are dealt with by each individual school and each school sets its own procedures. STAT does not become involved at this stage. Normally prospective students will visit a school, sometimes more than once, and there will be an interview with the Head of Training.
Course structure and format
Currently courses tend to follow traditional academic terms: typically mid-September to December, early January to Easter, and from the end of the Easter holiday to July. This amounts in total to between 30 and 36 weeks per year.
Formats vary, but most classes last on average for four hours per day, including breaks, and courses run four or five days a week (see the individual prospectus for exact times). Students also undertake additional study in their own time and need to be able to organise their routine of work and practice without undue stress and fatigue. It is essential for students to know how to employ the Technique personally before they can learn to teach it to others.
In class, the work is mainly of a practical nature. Instruction is given individually or in small groups. The teacher:student ratio for practical work is never less than 1:5 and it is often better still. Time is provided for lectures or discussions on relevant basic anatomy and physiology and a wide course of reading is recommended according to the special needs and interest of the individual. The study of FM Alexander's own writings and other set works is essential. Other topics are covered by lectures and practical demonstrations. Courses may require some written work.
In the final year, practical teaching experience is gained by working under supervision on fellow students and sometimes members of the public. There may be provision for post-graduate teaching experience (see the prospectus).
The average fees for a complete course are set by the schools but currently vary from about £11,000 to £14,000 and are normally payable by termly instalments in advance. Schools tend to keep their fees the same throughout a training course, but may make necessary increases from time to time in line with inflation. Detailed information should be sent to you by each school on request.
Assessment and qualification
In view of the practical nature of the work, the decision as to whether a student's training has been completed satisfactorily is reached by continuous assessment.
STAT operates a system of external moderation and each school has a moderator assigned to it from an independent Moderators Panel. Each student will be moderated in the 6th and 9th terms, receiving useful feedback to help them develop their skills further. This is not a formal assessment.
On completion of the course, students who have satisfied their Head of Training of their competence are proposed for certification by STAT.
Involvement in STAT
Students are required to become Student Members of the Society for the duration of their training. Students are insured under the STAT insurance policy for teaching under supervision during their third year of training.
On completing a course satisfactorily, students receive a certificate and the Society's authorisation to teach the Alexander Technique. Qualifying students are eligible to apply for Ordinary (ie teaching) Membership of the Society.
List of STAT-approved courses
See the right-hand sidebar above for a link to the list of STAT-appoved teacher training courses or click here.
In addition to the approved courses running in the UK and under the auspices of STAT in other counties, there are similar courses approved by Affiliated Societies of Alexander teachers in other countries.
Teacher training courses approved by Affiliated Societies should meet criteria comparable to those applied by STAT.
See here for links to the Affiliated Societies.