August 17

Why I am excited


Why I am excited about the changes to Training of Alexander Teachers that will be presented to the 2023 AGM

The number of practicing Alexander Technique Teachers in Australia is in decline. Schools have few or no students, the days of the big training schools seem to be over for now.

Under our current rules, if someone wants to train Alexander Teachers, they need to have 500 hours experience in a recognised training course. This is difficult in Australia where there are few training courses, or where there are schools. There are often less than 5 trainees, so there isn’t the work for more teachers. 

Unless we can make it possible for more people to train teachers, we will continue to get smaller and smaller. This is a shame because our work is important. Under the current AUSTAT Constitution, it’s impossible for most teachers to become trainers, even if they are capable, experienced and willing.

The proposal to the changes to the AUSTAT Constitution will enable teachers to apply to become AUSTAT Approved Teacher Trainers (AATTs) with a variety of adult teaching experience being taken into account. I see this enabling more teachers to have small schools or even an apprentice. Many of us have one or two students who would love to train to be teachers and who want to train with you, their teacher. You will have the support of a Training Standard and the Registered Teacher Trainees will have a log book they work through. Our teacher trainers will still be required to demonstrate skills, knowledge and experience set down in the AUSTAT Approved Teacher Trainer Standard. This standard has been written to maintain quality with an understanding of Australian conditions. The flexibility of the logbook means that a trainee could work with more than one AATT to achieve their qualification. It would be feasible to have a main AATT and then, by agreement, adjunct AATTs who teach specialised aspects of the AUSTAT standard. There are exciting possibilities for training Alexander teachers in Australia.

Hours and hours of work have gone into standardising our training, it will make us more professional. I could write pages about the exciting changes, but the main point I want to make is that I know of teachers who have small number of students who want to train with them. By voting to make these changes at the AGM we are creating the ‘means whereby’ for those wanting to train others to be able to do so. They need your support and our profession needs your support.

As I write this, I am close to graduating three trainees. It has been a wonderful time exploring this work. I am so pleased and proud with how they are teaching and I believe you will all be happy to welcome them as colleagues. As there were only the three trainees, we could work in my home so costs were kept down, and I felt I could create a safe and happy learning environment. I am a much better teacher for having spent 3 years with this group. The changes to our AUSTAT Constitution will make it possible for more of our members to have such an enriching experience without any loss of standard or quality, and Australia will get more professional Alexander Teachers.

I look forward to an exciting time for people wanting to train to become Alexander Technique Teachers.

Penny McDonald

Head of Training 

Harmonic Motion Alexander Technique Teacher Training.

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