Movement as a Model of Learning
Tuesday, July 1, 1997

Section: The Classroom

"It has always been my dream to introduce Feldenkrais® to the schools' main curriculum, as a subject in its own right," wrote Chava Shelhav, who has done extensive research on the Feldenkrais Method® with children.

She has found that "the Feldenkrais Method offers a process of organic learning through action, thereby teaching the ability to learn, and not just learning to be taught."

At the University of Heidelberg, Chava developed the Movement as a Model of Learning program which was given to first-grade children with learning disabilities. In the program, the class had daily 1-hour Awareness Through Movement® lessons for approximately 6 weeks.

At the end of the school year, the class showed significant improvement in a number of important skills including posture, balance, and coordination.

This class, which, in 1991 had been problematic in terms of learning ability and social background, had become one of the most advanced classes in the school -- and a favorite with the teachers. The social atmosphere was high; the veteran children quickly integrated new children who had been problematic in other schools. On the other hand, the class used for comparison in the original year showed no development in its social structure or learning ability.

As Chava wrote, "By emphasizing the children's capabilities rather than disabilities, it becomes possible to consciously return to suitable age appropriate organic development, thereby making new integration possible and thus allowing a child to fully utilize his/her capabilities in overall personality development."
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