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The Feldenkrais Method in Adult Literacy

Rob Black, a Feldenkrais® practitioner in Canada teaches Awareness Through Movement® classes to students in a college offering adult literacy classes. The students in these classes have weak English skills and some students also have physical disabilities from occupational accidents.

Rob works with the teachers a functional plan for each series, based on pertinent themes. One year he used Awareness Through Movement to demonstrate some aspects of learning so the students could realize their own learning styles and develop their own study strategies.

The next year the teachers were preparing the students to give oral reports and the students were anxious about speaking in front of their classmates. For that class, Rob provided a series of Awareness Through Movement lessons on reducing anxiety, increasing voice production and developing effective presentation posture.

Students are delighted with the classes. After his first class, one student wrote in his journal, “Rob came to our class this morning and taught us about the brain… I like these exercises. They make me feel bright and relaxed.”

There are immediate benefits in the classroom. Students feel more alert, more ready to learn. There are also specific literacy-related results as well. For example, one student reported that after doing a lesson on improving the movement of the eyes, she found her reading improved significantly.

More general benefits include reducing or alleviating pain and discomfort that develops with sitting. A student with back and shoulder problems said he developed increased flexibility and was able to sit more comfortably for the day-long classes.

The benefits go beyond the classroom. Several students find the classes so interesting that they show them to their families and friends.

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