Monika Gross tells Robert Rickover: “I wanted to teach people in a way that wouldn’t increase their stress. People have less money and less time (at least in their perception).”
“People spend so much time in front of their computers. Wouldn’t it be interesting to devise an intervention that makes them alert while dealing with this device?”
“Rather than saying I’m giving up the beautiful skill of touch in teaching, I’m saying, maybe I can give you some Alexander principles via Skype so that when you can come in person, you will. You’ll find time to do it because you’ve found inhibition.”
“An advantage of Skype is that people feel your presence in real time. You are still creating a bond with your student of caring, compassion and attention. That’s something most people don’t have access to a lot of the time. That’s one reason they relish having an Alexander lesson. I can’t touch them through the computer, but I can allow them to begin to understand that what they’re learning is something they already have. It is not something I am doing to them or fixing them or adjusting them or manipulating them. That’s not what we do as teachers but it is something in the early lessons that the student perceives we are doing.”
“I have made quicker progress with some of my Skype students of losing a perceived dependency on me as the teacher, the magic hands, come and fix me, I need this…”
“When my daughter learned to walk, I encouraged her but I didn’t hold her.”
Robert: “There’s something very clean about it. It’s clear that you are teaching. People on Skype are much more likely to experiment between sessions.”
“For most of my in-person students, it takes them a while to realize that I am not going to fix them.”
Monika: “When you’re giving a Skype lesson, it’s usually in a person’s home or office. Occasionally I’ve done Skype lessons when somebody is at a golf course and at a track. When you have a lesson in your habitual environment, it becomes marked by the perceptual changes you had during your lesson. Being in your space becomes a mnemonic device that wakes you up.”
“They come to associate a change in use when doing email.”
Robert: “You can work with someone as they process their email.”
Monika: “The plasticity of the brain is imprinting the experience in their home or office.”
There are some students who don’t want to be touched, so Skype is ideal.
F.M. Alexander tried to teach people through letters.
Monika: “We need to be able to teach Alexander Technique principles through a broad spectrum of media and pedagogy.”