What does Alexander offer Secondary school children?
Alexander work helps people develop skills for life – how to be at ease in your body and mind, how to coordinate yourself and how to perform as well as you can. It helps you approach difficulties and learning in a new way and make decisions from a place of calm.
Teenagers, especially, have lots to cope with – growing bodies, emotions, pressure of school and exams and the ‘busyness’ of everyday life. Too often, young people are exercising their minds and bodies, learning academic subjects and playing sports, without anything offering them the chance to integrate mind and body. Stress, pain, injury or an under-confident feeling of ‘not quite being themselves’ often results.
Exam success is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for being an educated human being. This is because human beings are not machines but flesh and blood, with capacious minds, with bodies, with emotions, and with a soul.
Dr Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham and previously headmaster of Wellington College.
In this particular school we’re dealing with thirteen to eighteen year olds. It’s such a crucial time as they’re forming the patterns that they’re going to take through the rest of their lives, so for me it [the Alexander Technique] is not important; it’s crucial.
Stephen Williams, Director of Music, Bryanston School
Alexander work offers teenagers an approach to look after themselves and find resilience and joy from moment to moment.
Some quotes from students currently having regular lessons at school:
I think Alexander helps you improve your confidence as you feel relaxed and a lot less stressed after each lesson. It also lets you notice habits that you do which helps you to stay focused and relaxed which is useful throughout the day and when playing your instrument
Alexander Technique lets me stop and think and notice what I am doing and if what I am doing is unnecessary to put myself right (by balancing). I can ‘think up’ and get rid of butterflies! (nerves)
Body Confidence (from our Alexander lessons) is knowing how to look after my body and mind and seeing and feeling the benefits of that
I can physically, mentally and emotionally feel a difference - I can allow myself to not be tense anymore. Now I am free!
How will it work?
All our Alexander teachers are STAT qualified and have completed a three year training; all have DBS checks and are insured to work on a one-to-one basis as well as in groups.
Qualified Alexander teachers can work with pupils and teachers in the school in different ways. An Alexander teacher can visit the school to provide a specialist one-day workshop, or can support children with sessions incorporated into the life of the school.
For pupils there are various options:
- One to one lessons – this allows for individual work on specific issues, e.g. stage fright, body confidence
- Working in Pairs - pupils benefit from observing changes in their partner as well as sharing thoughts with their teacher.
- Group Classes – we work with groups ranging from 4 -20 often weekly - for example, as part of the PSHE curriculum - or as specific events
- Introductory Courses for e.g. new pupils or music students
In today’s society when everything is so hurried and so rushed, there is more understanding these days that to be mindful in the way that we do things is extremely important.
Catherine Fleming, Alexander Technique teacher at Eton School
What are the sessions like?
All Alexander sessions are:
- Integrating – exploring how the mind and body works as one, and that thinking patterns have a profound impact upon feelings and behaviour.
- Experiential – there will be some discussion and theory, but mostly practical work and games offering tools that teenagers can use immediately.
- Playful and positive - encouraging teenagers to think independently, to express their ideas and to become and remain curious.
- Integrated with school life – providing help and tips that are relevant to the rest of the pupils’ day.
We’ve found these Alexander sessions most enlightening – learning to pause, breath and think and give ourselves more space
Teacher participant at the Girls' Day School Trust
Where is it currently taught?
Alexander work is happening at many schools across the country, and internationally. Schools include Wellington, Eton and St Mary's, Ascot. For a full list, see Where the Alexander Technique is taught.
Find out more
For information on taster sessions for schools, Inset Days and more, please Contact Us.