AGM 2014 Discussions Information

On this page you will find information on:

 

OPEN DISCUSSIONS

Click here to access the notes put together following the discussions that took place at the AGM.

Notes of the Discussions on Curriculum, Assessment and Identity

 

 

Discussion I

Assessment Debate 2014

Brita Forsstrom & Antonella Cavallone

Following on from the Summit that was held in February 2013, a group was formed to look at how students are assessed at graduation. The group started by gathering some ideas, then sought the views of Heads of Training and Assistants via a questionnaire asking for opinions about how the current assessment process works. The work will continue in 2014 to consult further with all those involved in the assessment process with a view to examining alternative assessment methods, and also in relation to possible alternative training models which have been under discussion at the last two summits.

The next phase is now to bring this to an open discussion for all members at the 2014 AGM. Please read the information in the below and consider the questions at the end as a starting point for exchange of ideas and thoughts so that you are prepared before the AGM.

Current assessments used:

  • Continual assessment by Head of Training.
  • Head of Training decides when a student is ready to graduate.
  • STAT Moderation process in 6th and 9th term of individual students.
  • One STAT training course currently also provide an Open College network qualification (to level 4) which involves an external assessment and project work handed in by students.
  • Two STAT training courses also offer a College of Teachers qualification (to level 5) which involves a reflective journal in year one and an essay in year two and a slightly longer essay in year three.

Possible additional assessment methods:

In addition to the above it has been suggested that some form of external assessment may be beneficial to securing standards of training and to adhere better to general education and training assessment models. External does not indicate external to the profession but external to the training course and current model.

External assessment could take different forms:

  • It could be similar to the Assessment Procedure that STAT already has in place for assessing applications for teaching membership from persons who have trained outside of STAT approved courses or who have not been teaching for a long period but would like to come back to teaching and STAT membership. This process involves practical work with three experienced teachers. It is suggested that having three teachers ensures impartiality and fairness.
  • One suggestion is that a model could be devised consisting of a panel of three: Moderator, Head of Training and another senior teacher or Head of Training.
  • One suggestion is that a Head of Training will have the assistance of another Head of Training.
  • External assessment may or may not include a written piece or project work by the student.
  • Suggestion that Moderator’s report should be in writing and kept in the STAT office.

Current methods, in addition to continual assessment and moderation, used by individual training courses:

  1. Summaries of F.M's four books over their three years training.
  2. Work on the public under our supervision.
  3. Collaboration with assistants.
  4. Termly reviews.
  5. Students work on teachers regularly for a ‘measure’ of progress.
  6. We have a 'list' of 9 topics as criteria. Progress is discussed with students every term, using a list of 9 topics. Nobody goes into the 2nd year without completing the first year work. Nobody goes into the third year without being able to give a lesson to a member of the public.
  7. Ensure with little project works that the students have understood the basic principles of the work and that they can talk about them to each other and the members of public and use their meaningful hands to teach when words don´t communicate enough or instead of words even.
  8. We talk about Alexander´s books and other books of AT daily, and at some point students learn to connect the writings to their own everyday life, modern society and the evolution. Every one finds their own way to use stories, examples, cases etc. to talk about AT. 
  9. I talk about the processes of each student with my assistant, visiting teachers and moderator.
  10. Everyone gives at least some lessons for member(s) of public during the school day in their third year of training. I give the permission; they decide when to start.  
  11. Some written work is already required.
  12. Students are observed giving supervised lessons and co-presenting at an introductory course; main assistant and moderator are consulted; regular formal and informal dialogues with each student.
  13. Project work is part of training course; both presentation skills and written work about Alexander’s books this is a vital part of the training and is part of the ongoing assessment of all students; suggest at least 6 projects during the 3 years.
  14. I consult with my assistant teachers and moderator and ask the opinion of the guest teachers that come through also.
  15. Work on HoT and other senior teachers, they give a talk to the group or present a section of a workshop they have prepared. This is followed by peer group questions, assessment, tutor feedback and reflection on practice.
  16. There is also termly individual feedback from all teachers on the course, We include project work from the very start. Essays on "What is your understanding of the Alexander Technique. What was your process over the three years as a student." It is possible to do this in 10 to 30 pages, with pictures, music or whichever other media the student choses.

Suggested questions for discussion at the AGM:

  1. During your training how clear was the assessment process of your personal progress as a perspective teacher? What do you think of the idea of introducing an additional external assessment of students ready to graduate from STAT approved training courses? (External meaning external to the training course concerned not external to the Alexander Technique and STAT)
  2. In addition to moderation, would you have liked a more formal assessment record? Do you think a project such as a presentation, talk, demonstration, PowerPoint, or other would have been helpful in supplying you with additional skills for your future as a teacher?
  3. Did you have or would have liked to have one-to-one tutorials with your HOT?

Do you think that adopting a more cohesive assessment set-up across STAT training courses would raise our professional profile with the public and with other professions? Do you think it would help make our profession recognised by other educational authorities?

 

 

Discussion II

Why A STAT Core Curriculum?

Charlotte Rolleston-Smith - Facilitator: Jeannie MacLean

As the Alexander world extends and diversifies, there is, more than ever, a requirement for a consensual understanding of Alexander’s work, written down and available as a shared point of reference.

A draft curriculum has been prepared and is, as far as possible, a co-operative effort to fill that gap. You can download a copy here. It is written with very close attention to Alexander’s writings, and hopefully will help to unite the work of the iconic individuals who followed him, being concerned with the substance of what we learn to teach rather than the way it is approached.

Our training courses are extremely important in setting the quality of teaching.  An agreed curriculum can provide a standard for what is done and why, and what are to be regarded as reliable markers of change and skill.  With it, STAT is better placed to begin to work out key problems relating to assessment, consistency across training schools, and parity between different training formats.  It should help to demonstrate the nature of STAT training and what makes it distinctive. 

The AGM curriculum discussion will be an opportunity to air views on the current draft, and discuss comments and suggestions.  You are welcome to email any queries or comments to me at [email protected] in the meantime.  Similarly, if you would like to contribute any ideas in advance for discussion, please let me know.

There will be further consideration of the whole draft following the results of the AGM discussion.

It would be wonderful to think we could ultimately achieve consensus on this most important document.

 

Discussion III

Identity - a session involving thinking with all our senses

Sue Fleming, Jackie Beim, Ilia Daoussi

The aim of the session is to gain a better understand of who we want to be as an organisation so we can better inform the development of STAT’s work and strategy. This helps STAT present its face to the outside world.

What do we mean by STAT’s identity? Firstly we are concerned with STAT as the organisation, rather than the wider question of the Alexander Technique. Secondly to take this further it is easier to think of our Society as a person, and we can take ourselves and people we know as examples. We each have many identities, from where we were born, to where we live now, our age, sex, ethnicity, our interests and beliefs. We are multifaceted and diverse, and our different identities are not necessarily coherent, they can be contradictory. Better understanding STAT’s identity, and its different facets, can help us to acknowledge our difference, commonalities and disagreements. These differences can sit in the same room, as dancers on stage, dancing their own steps in the same dance.

Is this session for you?

Do you like to think and talk on the move? Are you happier expressing yourself through colour, form or sound? Then there is something for you. Our sitting, talking and discussing will be balanced with moving around a marketplace of sensory ideas that we bring to the table, ideas that express what we understand of as STAT’s identity. We are interested in an identity that is not only described in words, but that has a shape, form, movement, colour, texture and sound. We would like to hear, see and experience ways in which you understand STAT’s Identity.

What guides STAT’s identity

The objects of STAT provide the core reason for our existence and what we want to achieve. These are both to further the Technique, and to support its members.

What will we explore in the session?

  • What do we want as STAT’s values? What does STAT believe in and how does STAT want to behave?
  • For each of STAT’s values how do you want people to see or think of STAT? In terms of:

> Colour, shape

> Movement

> Texture

> Sound

> Relationships: between STAT and society, between STAT and members

> Character / personality

> Other ideas you may have

If you already have identity ideas, then send your words, images, samples to the STAT Office by the 10th June, or bring them along to the session. All welcome.

I received my first Alexander lesson about 13 years ago when I hurt my back. After that first lesson I felt 95% better. I felt WHOLE. And I continue to receive lessons twice a month.

Carol Meade, Wallingford CT USA

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