The Taiwan Alexander Technique Training School
by Opal Huang
The Taiwan MindBodyProgram Alexander Technique training school is the first and leading institution for the study and practice of the Alexander Technique in Taiwan. The school was founded by Richard Peng and myself and certified by AUSTAT to offer comprehensive training in the Alexander Technique at the end of 2019. Our motivation in establishing the school was to respond to the eagerness of our private students to study Alexander Technique at an advanced level.
The school’s curriculum is designed to provide students with a deep understanding of the principles of Alexander Technique alongside the skills needed to become effective teachers and practitioners. The program consists of both theoretical and practical training, including hands-on and verbal instructions, group classes and steps further to apply the Technique to daily life and problem solving, so we find we do a lot of different activities and voice work.
One of the unique features of the Taiwan MindBodyProgram is its emphasis on the integration of Eastern and Western approaches to body awareness and movement. This approach is reflected in the school’s curriculum, which draws on insights from a variety of disciplines, including Tai Chi, Yoga, Buddhism etc. It’s very interesting to integrate the Technique with a related wisdom with which students are already familiar and we have found it to be very effective in assisting trainees to understand the philosophy of AT more easily and precisely.
For the efficient study of Alexander’s books, Richard and I have translated “The Use of the Self” into Chinese. This helps book reading sessions a lot. To develop their understanding of Alexander’s other books, trainees get together online to discuss the content, which reflects their conscientious attitude to their studies.
Our faculty includes Richard, myself and Justine Chang, who is also an experienced AUSTAT certified teacher. Many foreign teachers have been invited to work with us, including David Moore, Jenny Thirtle, Jana Boronova, and Mariana Di Paula who is head of the Uruguay school and Moderator with AmSAT. These teachers have greatly enriched our learning and we are looking forward to working in July this year with Agnès de Brunhoff, head of the Paris school (CFTAlexander).
In our first year of training, there were 5 fulltime trainees. Although Covid-19 impacted Taiwan, our government did their best to significantly limit the impact. Even so, the school had to close for 6 months. We were back to training in September 2020 while still affected intermittently by restrictions throughout 2021. It was a very difficult time but we got through it.
Now, our first five trainees have all graduated successfully and have begun to teach. All our graduates are well-prepared to teach and practice the Alexander Technique in a variety of settings, including private studios, rehabilitation centers, and educational institutions. As a result of the pandemic everyone has had to rethink their style of living and working in the future and we have all had to consider even more creative and varied ways of teaching AT to ensure the teaching and the school survive in the post-pandemic era. At the moment the school has a trainee who is a dentist and one who is a guitarist. Both will graduate at the end of this year and introduce their Alexander knowledge into their individual professional fields. A third trainee will graduate in two years.
Richard and I and all our graduates will keep working to promote AT in Taiwan. All the time there are more translations of AT books being released, most recently in Japanese and Korean, that are well worth reading. This creates the possibility for lots of people in Taiwan to get to know and realize the importance and benefits of AT and the promise that more will want to go on to be trained as AT teachers.
Translation of The Use of The Self