Review I of teachers workshops in Melbourne, Australia
Published in AUSTAT Journal May 2015
Review II of teachers workshops in Melbourne, Australia
by Megan Taylor, May 2015
“I always believed in the “little bit of nothing” that Marjorie Barstow spoke about, but I never fully experienced it as a teacher until I worked with John Nicholls. John’s clarity in teaching the Alexander Principles, combined with the generous way he encourages his students to “Use” themselves and their hands has opened a transformative path for me as a person and a teacher. John Nicholl’s Refresher Course is a little bit of nothing with staying power.”
–Jocosa Wade, enrolled in the 2013-2014 course
“I will be forever grateful that I attended John Nicholls Post Graduate Alexander Technique refresher course. What I learned from John has refined and clarified my teaching and has helped me to understand the technique and myself better. John took us to the heart of the work with thoughtfulness, insight, and encouragement. Prefaced by supportive readings, each weekend focused on an aspect of the work, broadening our understanding and strengthening our practice of the principles. My hands on work transformed as I discovered a deeper level non-doing. I expanded in all directions, in all senses, through these weekends. John Nicholls has truly mastered the art of teaching the Alexander Technique.”
–Chris Friedman, enrolled in the 2013-2014 course
“The intensive post-graduate weekends with John Nicholls offer a depth of understanding of the Alexander Technique that is just not available from any other post-graduate Alexander workshop or teacher-training program. While the Alexander work has been referred to as a technique for living, these workshops offer the unique opportunity to experience the work as a truly living technique. John continuously evolves the teaching of the original Alexander work and provides the missing piece for so many teachers – clarity on what ultimately we are aiming to teach and how to convey it in the clearest and most effective possible way.
“Despite having had a Carrington based training myself, I still found it very helpful to take this refresher course after qualifying. I was in a different developmental place as a new teacher, and having exposure to John’s mastery and carefully considered synthesis of decades of experience gave me more confidence and a clearer foundation than most new (and even not so new!) Alexander teachers. Fellow participants (including senior teachers) reported tremendous growth, both personally and professionally, and many of us felt that we were experiencing though John’s teaching a direct line to the source of the work.
“John’s articulation of the principles of the technique brings a pragmatic clarity to the Alexander work that is unparalleled. Regardless of the level of the teachers on his post-graduate course, he was able to skillfully and compassionately respond to the source of confusion for each particular teacher as we struggled with many of the common challenges of teaching the Technique. John showed a profound empathy for us while simultaneously maintaining a clear focus on the heart of the work, and in just a series of intensive weekends we were able to further connect to the fundamentals of the Technique while exploring our own sense of personal humanity within it. John is a master teacher, a teacher’s teacher of the Alexander Technique. After taking his refresher course, we all felt more capable, equipped, and confident. And it was a joy!”
–Cindi Kim, enrolled in the 2013-2014 course
“The post certification course, and your teaching approach, have transformed my daily practice in the Alexander Technique. I have a new understanding for how all AT practice inherently contains ‘hands on the back on the chair’. I have a renewed commitment to ‘hands on the back on the chair’ as a daily ‘warm up’ before my private practice students. In addition, you created an environment of validation for each teaching member while encouraging each of us to develop a deeper integrity for the means whereby in learning new skills. I appreciated the ease in which you encourage teachers at all levels to continue to investigate and explore AT principles. These weekends have encouraged me to recommit to Alexander’s work in deeper ways. It was through these weekends that I really decided to begin an AT training program in Baltimore.
–Nancy Romita, enrolled in the 2008-2009 course
“In his yearly teacher refresher course, John Nicholls offers a wealth of theoretical knowledge and detailed hands-on experience to the Alexander Technique teacher in search of further depth and direction in their teaching practice. With his long history of training and teaching experience with Walter Carrington, powerful insights into Alexander’s principles and discoveries, detailed group and individual exploration of the core principles of the work, plus his generous and welcoming instruction of each participant, John weaves together a compelling and enriching study of the Alexander Technique. Having completed the course, I find that my teaching skills have improved enormously, my professional confidence has soared, and my love for the work and delight in presenting the principles to my students has dramatically increased.”
–Meade Andrews, enrolled in the 2007-2008 course
“Many thanks again for your valuable course. I’ve become a better Alexander teacher – doing less and directing more. My students have noticed the difference in me and in their own better use.”
–Anne McDonald, enrolled in the 2007-2008 course
“We are so grateful to have had this opportunity and we honestly believe that any and every AT teacher no matter where they are in their learning, could immensely benefit from training with you. We hope that you keep offering this course and we also hope that AT teachers find this valuable treasure and take advantage of learning with one of the most experienced and congenial teachers in the world of the Alexander Technique.”
–Mona Al-Kazemi and Faisal Al-Matrouk, enrolled in the 2007-2008 course
“I truly felt it was one of the most valuable learning experiences I’ve ever had. I have studied the AT for many years and with many fine teachers, but felt that your explanation and presentation of Alexander’s work gave me the piece I’d been missing - the ‘missing link’ if you will, that allowed me to activate the A.T. principles in myself and my students more fully, more often, and more successfully than I ever had before.
“The link I’m referring to is this one: learning to receive weight/information/sensation through my hands, and then directing myself to maintain an ‘open channel’ through my arms/shoulders/back, to let it travel through my legs to my feet, then into the floor-while my hands maintain their connection. Not terribly eloquently stated, but I think you know what I mean? This was a totally new experience for me, and frustratingly difficult to learn to do without bracing somewhere or other! But I continue to practice it, mostly through hands on back of chair, and continue to improve. And my back feels stronger and stronger.”
–Judy Barnett, enrolled in the 2006-2007 course
“Thank you for a fantastic learning experience. It’s worth every penny!”
–Diane Gaary, enrolled in the 2006-2007 course
“Teachers wanting to enhance or simply refresh their skills will find this learning experience invaluable. John provides a welcoming environment where everyone’s level of knowledge and experience is valued and contributes to an ever-growing body of investigation into the Alexander Technique. You won’t get a better theoretical or experiential compilation of FM’s work from anywhere!!.”
–Glenna Batson, enrolled in the 2005-2006 course
“John Nicholls’ post-graduate course has offered insights and explorations which will enrich my understanding and teaching of the Technique for years to come. With each session my own use and teaching have improved and I have a more sophisticated framework for integrating knowledge about the Technique.
“This is a unique opportunity to share in the fruits of John’s own penetrating explorations and raise oneself to a higher professional level. I have benefited from his unique combination of strengths—hands-on work showing John’s high level of mastery and extensive teaching experience, and clear and concise presentation of material reflecting John’s knowledge of first generation teachers and especially of Walter Carrington’s work.”
–Priscilla Hunt, enrolled in the 2005-2006 course
“John’s connection to the Alexander tradition is uncanny. Ask John a question and he will tell you the answer that several first generation teachers personally gave him. Then he will tell you what Alexander said in his books, and then give you his assessment as well. He seems to have really tried to understand the differences between the disparate lineages of the technique.”
–Wes J. Feaster, enrolled in the 2005-2006 course
“Every unseasoned Alexander teacher graduates knowing it’s just the beginning, and that many hours of unsupervised hands-on experience lie ahead before skills can reach an advanced level. As a fairly new teacher, John Nicholls’ post-grad course shepherds me so that I feel the gap is closing more rapidly. It is helping me connect the dots so I will become the teacher I want to be.”
–Ruth Rootberg, enrolled in the 2005-2006 course
“John combines his vast knowledge of Alexander Technique history, an extensive understanding of basic procedures and detailed hands-on teaching, and a gift for training teachers to create a useful, practical and inspiring program.”
–Tom Vasiliades, enrolled in the 2005-2006 course
“John’s non-judgmental and open-minded attitude allows for an atmosphere of learning and a thoughtful level of discourse. It was a delight to explore new ideas with a beginner’s curiosity and without the pressure of being right. I was able to immediately apply the skills in the workshops with my students and they have made a big difference. I cannot thank John enough for helping me improve my level of professionalism as a teacher of the Alexander Technique.”
–Elizabeth Buonomo, enrolled in the 2004-2005 course