Chapter 4: Illustration

1. Why does Alexander feel himself able to use phrases which are inadequate to describe the teaching technique?

2. What is one of the most common defects amongst human beings today?

3. What delusion do ordinary pupils and teachers suffer from vis-a-vis relaxing a part of the body they deem to be too tense?

4. What will happen if they are by chance able to get rid of a specific tension?

5. What does undue tension in some part of the organism mean?

6. How can the danger in the instruction “head forward and up” be dealt with?

7. What does the phrase “widen the back” describe?

8. Why is the instruction “support the body with the arms” given?

9. Why do “correct positions” or “postures” find no place in this book?

10. What is the most deceptive of the list of instructions set down in these pages? Why?

11. In accordance with what principles and techniques is the pupil asked to sit in a chair?

12. What is the nature of Order 1?

13. What must the pupil remember and attend to to overcome subconscious habit? Why?

14. What does the slightest touch of a teacher release in the pupil?

15. Why are the new conscious directive orders no longer projected?

16. What must the teacher point out to the pupil when the pupil has failed to continue to project the new conscious directive orders?

17. What can happen when a pupil is able to give the preventive orders as well as the new ones?

18. In the illustration of the pupil moving forward in the chair, who does the actual moving, the teacher or the pupil?

19. When can a pupil be taken a step further in the evolution?

20. What is essential at every step in the work? Why?

21. What does the pupil do while the teacher secures that position of the torso in which the back may be said to be widened?

22. How often and how long must the pupil repeat these orders?

23. What great care must be taken when the pupil takes the weight of her arm from the teacher’s support?

24. What does interfering with the process imply?

25. What is the only way a coordinated use of the arms can occur?

26. Assuming the pupil has not interfered with the mechanism of the torso in the effort to take the weight of the arm, what should the pupil next be requested to do?

27. What principle must be applied in every instance in the work of re- education and readjustment?

28. What process of building is going on during this work?

29. What are the respective responsibilities of teacher and pupil in the next part of the evolution?

30. What is necessary to command success in the work of re-education?

31. After the pupil has successfully placed both hands on the back of the chair, what does the teacher next request? Why?

32. In what condition must the pupil remain while repeating the
orders?

33. What are the new directive orders which the teacher may give the pupil if she is satisfied her pupil has progressed satisfactorily up to this point?

34. What does the pupil do in order to hold the rail of the chair, keeping the fingers and wrists in the position indicated above?

35. What experience does the teacher next aim to give the pupil?

36. In what way will the teacher continue in order to help the student’s respiratory mechanism function to the maximum on a daily basis?

37. What are some of the impeding conditions found in the case of most every pupil who attempts this procedure?

38. To what does Alexander attribute the failure to carry out the given orders?

39. What is the means whereby the pupil will be enabled to perform this evolution with a minimum of muscular tension?

40. What factors are of primary importance for a minimum amount of tension to be exerted?

41. How can the pupil help ensure that a proper amount of tension is exerted? What is the pupil more apt to do instead?

42. What is the difference between the inhibitory process involved in Alexander’s technique, and the idea of inhibition he talks about vis-a- vis education?

43. In Alexander’s technique, what does the process of inhibition become?

44. What is the significance of the fact that in Alexander’s technique the stimulus to inhibit comes from within?

45. How do many people who pride themselves on self-control actually control themselves? How is this different from control which results from stopping to reason out the means whereby desired ends may be secured?

46. What is the connection with learning the process of inhibition during a lesson, and every day life?

Thought Questions

1. In this illustration, what is the responsibility of the pupil? Of the teacher? What is the role of directing? What is the role of sensory appreciation?

2. In this chapter Alexander writes (p. 173) about the teacher “giving to the pupil by means of manipulation, the exact experiences involved” and later of “readjusting the pupil’s organism so that the conditions desired may be brought about.” If we use a model of giving experiences to the pupil, how do we avoid the pupil seizing upon that sensory experience in an attempt to directly reduplicate it (especially where the experience “feels good” to the pupil?

3. On pp. 184-185 Alexander talks about some of the impeding conditions found in most pupils, and at the end of the description states that “this failure to carry out the given orders is due chiefly to the fact that the pupil’s sensory appreciation in the matter of due and proper muscular tension is sadly inadequate.” How much of the failure to carry out orders is due to the pupil’s sadly inadequate sensory mechanism, and how much might be due to the racial inexperience we have in giving conscious orders that he writes of in The Use of the Self? What if any is the connection between the two?

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