The Feldenkrais Method, named after its founder, the physicist Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais, is a body-oriented learning method that helps people to learn to perceive themselves more consciously. Access and experience to the Feldenkrais Method can contribute to professional and social learning processes. Through the mostly unfamiliar movements, children learn to perceive themselves better and to find alternatives to their usual behaviour in their own rhythm. It is just a small step from getting to know one’s own self, to the appreciation of the uniqueness of friends and strangers. Feeling and experiencing yourself without judgment helps to treat one another with respect and tolerance.
“Learning to think in motion” creates new connections in the brain, enables sensible contact with oneself and expands understanding in contexts. Feldenkrais’ dream was that his method would be taught in schools all over the world.
Our plan is to realise Feldenkrais’ original vision of integration and to incorporate features of organic learning into school learning. In doing so, we initially focus primarily on working with financially disadvantaged children, migrants, or children with learning difficulties. Through the movement exercises in the classroom, all students and teachers should become more fully present and their learning process should be more meaningful and connected with their entire being. The Feldenkrais Method is intended to initiate two important processes: First, students and teachers become more self-conscious and more attentive as a result of the Feldenkrais lesson. This will have an impact on the following subject teaching (e.g., mathematics) that will be carried out afterwards. Second, a new language, a new dynamic, gradually develops among the participants. They listen carefully to each other during exercise classes. The students learn to recognize their own progress and think in different directions in order to explore possible solutions. The subject teachers are also involved in this development, they listen to the students more attentively and are more creative in designing their lessons. The result is that teachers are gradually changing the way in which they teach their subject, leaving time for active awareness, exploration, and self-guidance of the students.
Our idea of the practical implementation is inspired by and in collaboration with an Israeli pilot project that is being led by Dr. Eilat Almagor and has been successfully implemented since 2015. Dr. Eilat Almagor is leading the project to include the Feldenkrais Method in schools and is working with neuroscientists in Israel and Germany on a scientific study aimed at examining the effects of the Feldenkrais Method on brain activity.
Moving Child initially wants to launch projects in Berlin and Munich in which Feldenkrais teachers come to school once or twice per week and teach Feldenkrais movement for 20-30 minutes. The subject teachers are also present. This is followed by the normal subject class, such as mathematics, in which the Feldenkrais teacher then also partakes. Each teacher therefore takes part in the other teacher’s lessons as a student. The teachers meet regularly to prepare their lessons together and to deepen their understanding of Feldenkrais and its connection to learning. Moving Child helps to establish contact and mediation between teachers and schools, to develop the concept and, last but not least, to provide financial support. We look forward to reporting our progress in the future.
Sources and references
- Feldenkrais Association Germany
- English Interview: Report of the Feldenkrais projekt in Israel (Dr. Eilat Almagor)
- Scientific publication: Verrel J, Almagor E, Schumann F, Lindenberger U, and Kühn S (2015) Changes in neural resting state activity in primary and higher-order motor areas induced by a short sensorimotor intervention based on the Feldenkrais method. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9: 232. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00232