On my bookshelf

  • "The Breathing Book" by Donna Farhi
  • "Confessions of a Public Speaker" by Scott Berkun
  • "My Freshman Year" by Rebekah Nathan
  • "Power Presentation" by Patsy Rodenburg

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Speaking from the Body

I love syncronicity! I have been experimenting with the idea of inquiry based sessions when I teach. So as I headed into the classroom yesterday morning, I organized the text and physical tasks we would explore around a set of questions. We began with the question: "What does it mean to speak from the body?" I followed that question up with three others which I hoped would focus on the participant's individual experiences. The discussion was a lively one and as I had predicted created more questions than it answered. So, fortunately, the discussion reminded me that the concept of speaking from the body could take a lifetime to explore. Lorna Marshall's "The Body Speaks" provides wonderful insight and I would highly recommend it to anyone who communicates on a regular basis. The exercises she outlines are simple enough to be done on your own.

So where does syncronicity come in? Before drifting off to sleep, I picked up Michael Gelb's "How to think like Leonarda Da Vinci". According to Gelb, the major key to Da Vinci's extraodinary ability to design, create, philosophize, analyze, scrutinize and produce lies in his ability to constantly question. Gelb's advice on raising children to think like Da Vinci is to ask them every night when they come home from school, "What did you ask today?"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Feldenkrais and Learning

As I continue to ponder Finkel's "Teaching With Your Mouth Shut", I keep returning to his initial question, "When have you learned something of value that you can apply to your life?" Contrary to his prediction, each learning experience I reflected on did actually happen in a classroom. The fact that the classroom was filled with sweaty students in leotards, sweats and bare feet might not have been his definition of a classroom, but I was nonetheless at a university pursuing my master's degree.

In Ken Bain's "What the Best College Teachers Do", he defines deep learning as "building new mental models of reality." As I was remembering a learning experience that changed the way I viewed the world, I remember being in George Pinney's movement class at Indiana University. George was leading us through a very simple Feldenkrias exercise where we 1) gauged our potential for movement, 2)repeated several small movements that allowed us to move beyond our initial physical boundaries, and 3) IMAGINED repeating the small movements on the opposite side which also allowed us to move beyond our initial physical boundaries. One of Feldenkrais' major philosophies is that our physical limitations are mental. Having seen such a tremdous shift in my physical body after having simply imagined it, opened up new posibilities for me physically and mentally.

I found a very similar exercise on-line that is very effective. Try for yourself and let me know what you think: