Galvanizing Performance by Kathleen Juhl

Galvanizing Performance by Kathleen Juhl

Author:Kathleen Juhl
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780857012722
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Published: 2017-07-23T16:00:00+00:00

What Does This Mean for the Future?

Our choice to structure our class without formal assignments, requirements, or assessments has challenged us as well as the students. We are also products of and participants in the educational system. There is a certain comfort in creating lesson plans, quizzes, projects, and assignments. We have struggled over the last five years with how to emphasize the AT principles while engaging the students in an individual process that confronts them with their own desire to learn. We have debated back and forth about whether our un-class creates an environment that effectively models the principles we desire to teach. And since we have removed the typical ways in which progress through a course is normally evaluated, how do we assess if our learning outcomes are achieved? How can we defend the value of this course without the traditional “evidence” provided by formal assessment? These interviews with former students have reinforced our observations that students are able to apply principles of AT beyond the AT classroom to make positive changes in their lives. The principles are indeed staying with them long after the course concludes, and they recognize the value in what they have learned.

When does performance begin or end? As we have read and collated student responses, it is clear that the impact of the class has been quite broad, on stage and off. Learning the principles of AT starts with awareness in everyday activities, then expands to encompass all that one does, including performing. In the end, all of life becomes galvanized, including the part we share with an audience as performers. This inclusion of performance as part of a life that is aware—that integrates mind, body, and emotion—is the result our students have reported experiencing. It is also what we as teachers of the technique continue to enjoy. The process once begun can broaden to include more and more of life.

A century ago, John Dewey, noted American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, called for the inclusion of AT in our educational system. In his introduction to Alexander’s text Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, he wrote:

The method is not one of remedy, it is one of constructive education… Its proper field of application is with the young, with the growing generation, in order that they may come to possess as early as possible in life a correct standard of sensory appreciation and self judgement. When once a reasonably adequate part of a new generation has become properly coordinated, we shall have assurance for the first time that men and women in the future will be able to stand on their own feet, equipped with satisfactory psycho-physical equilibrium, to meet with readiness, confidence, and happiness instead of with fear, confusion, and discontent, the buffetings and contingencies of their surroundings. (Alexander 1985 [1923], xxxiii)

Today, unfortunately, we still struggle with an educational system that runs counter to the principles of AT, a system that encourages—actually demands—end-gaining, a system that fosters the continuation of habitual miscoordination. The


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